What are personality traits? (+How people show them)

This article will talk about personality. It will show what it is, how people develop their personality, and what can affect this process.

It will also discuss the 5 big personality traits, explain what each of them is, their role in the person’s life, and what are the benefits and downfalls of having each of them.

What is personality?

Personality is a construct that refers to each person’s way of thinking, feeling, and acting. It comes from the Latin word persona, that word used to be the name of theatrical masks that were worn by performers to play a role or to hide their identities.

It is what makes, through the observation of patterns, the behavior of a person predictable. People are born with their personality, and some traits of it will go on with them through their whole lives.

There are many theories to explain how a person’s personality is formed, and what are the traits that are seen in each type, for this article it will discuss the five-factor theory. In this theory, 5 traits that built the person’s personality are discussed.

Those 5 traits are openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Let’s understand a little more about each of them.

What are the 5 big personality traits?

Many researchers have been studying personality over time. They study its formation, what defines each person, and what each of the 5 basic traits, although not always named the same, says about a person. 

Researchers have discovered, by analyzing people from different cultures, that those 5 personality traits were present in everyone. With that discovery, it is possible to affirm that biology has a role in the creation of a person’s personality. 

Along with that, it is said that the environment the person lives in has an impact on how their personality is shaped.

When discussing the 5 factors, one needs to notice that each of them talks about a complete spectrum. For example, when talking about extraversion, what is in discussion is the whole path of being the most introverted person to the most extroverted one.

Let’s discuss in depth what each of the factors is talking about.


When talking about Openness what is being discussed is how open the person is to new experiences in their lives.

People who have high levels of this trait tend to have multiple interests, aside from being extremely curious people, with a great capacity for insight and imagination. 

People with high levels of openness are adventurous people, always open to learning and trying new things. They are also people that enjoy thinking about abstract matters.

On the other hand, people that have a low level of openness tend to be more traditional, and have problems in dealing with abstract things. Not only that, they usually have a hard time when dealing with change, being resistant to new ideas and new things. They are also people that tend to have less of an imagination.


In discussing Conscientiousness what is being talked about is how aware of their goals and organized towards them a person is.

People who have high levels of this trait usually are good at impulse control, as well as having goal-oriented thoughts, and being thoughtful people. These people tend to be detail-oriented, and very organized, thinking about how their actions might affect others and hardly missing a deadline.

They are usually the people that finish a task right away and will prepare for what they are going to do while setting a schedule to do it. On the other hand, people that have low levels of conscientiousness usually have trouble with schedule and don’t like structure.

It might also be hard for them to take care of things, being the people that lose or break things they borrow from others. They are the people that usually procrastinate tasks and may find it hard to complete them.


As already said, this trait refers to how extroverted or introverted a person is. If the person has a high level of extraversion, they would be more to the extroverted side. With that, they might be more social and talkative people, with high levels of emotional expressiveness.

They are usually fueled by social situations, and love being the center of attention. People with high levels of extraversion tend to be open to meeting new people, have a wide social circle of friends, and are always open to meeting new people. Not only that, they are people that usually talk before speaking.

People who have lower levels of extraversion tend to prefer solitude, and being around other people can be a draining experience. They might find it hard to start conversations, and don’t enjoy small talk. 

Different from people with high levels of extraversion, they tend to think a lot about what they are going to say and don’t like to be the center of attention.


This trait speaks to prosocial behaviors, such as altruism, kindness, and affection. People with high levels of Agreeableness are usually more collaborative, with a lot of interest and care about other people. They are usually more empathetic and enjoy helping others in need.

People with a lower level of agreeableness tend to be less collaborative and can be more competitive and even manipulative to get what they want. They usually have little interest in other people and don’t care about how they feel, and at times can insult and belittle people.


This trait speaks to how people experience their moods, if they have mood swings, or are more emotionally stable. People with high traits of Neuroticism tend to have mood swings more often. They are people that worry more and tend to feel more stressed.

If you’re facing this, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a therapist or other mental health professional. You can find a therapist at BetterHelp who can help you learn how to cope and address it.

Not only that, they get upset easily and have difficulty bouncing back from it. Being that they usually feel more anxious. On the other hand, people with lower levels of neuroticism usually have a more stable mood.

They are people that can cope well with stressful situations and don’t feel sad or depressed often. They are usually relaxed people that don’t overthink or worry too much about things.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): What are the most common personality traits?

What are personality traits that should be stimulated in kids?

When raising a kid, many traits should be stimulated for them to develop into happy adults. Let’s point out 5 of them.

The first one is humility, being able to be humble and accepting his shortcomings and people’s help is something that can change a person’s life. They should be able to appreciate the people that helped them achieve their goals and not be an arrogant achiever.

Explaining to your children the difference between contentment and lack of ambition will also be extremely important. Being able to enjoy what they’ve got is a big change from a world that, nowadays, is always saying you should want more. This can be something that will make them less anxious as well.

Another important trait is dependability. Raising them to be someone people can count on, teaching them about boundaries and what is possible to give to help others will make them deal well with living in a community.

Having determinations is also something to try and stimulate them. Teach them how things usually don’t work the first time around, and how important it is to keep the focus on your end goal as a way to have the energy to keep going.

And lastly and in a related topic, it is important to stimulate your kids to be patient. They should understand the value of delayed gratification, and how they can keep going even in a frustrating situation.

What are 3 good traits a person should have? 

There are many good traits that a person should have, let’s explore 3 of them. A person should be honest with themselves and others, not mislead or withhold information from other people. 

Another key personality trait is to have integrity. A person should be able to stand up to what they believe in, resisting any social pressure they might experience.

And lastly, an important personality trait to have is to treat people with respect. They should politely treat people, be courteous, tolerant and not judge people but rather appreciate people for their singularity.

What are the worst traits a person can have?

Some traits shouldn’t be stimulated in a person, let’s discuss a few of them. 

A person shouldn’t be arrogant, people like that tend to not accept other people’s help and opinion. Along with that, people should not be self-centered, these people tend to be difficult ones to live in a community. They will only think about themselves and won’t contribute to their greater well-being.

Having too much pride is also a trait that shouldn’t be stimulated. People that have too much pride will never enjoy what they have, they will most likely only enjoy having what other people can’t have.

What are the personality traits I should look for in a friend?

If a person is starting a new friendship, it is important to observe the personality traits of your friend. A good friend should be kind, it shouldn’t be a people pleaser, but rather a person that stands with you through difficult times.

They will also be honest, they will tell you when they feel that something you’ve done hurt them, as well as they will tell you the truth as it is. With that friend, you can always believe what they are saying since they won’t sugarcoat things.

Another extremely important trait is to be friends with a person that is an individual, although you have the same interest, they won’t try to copy you. You can both add to each other, but don’t need to be the same.

Is overthinking a bad personality trait?

Overthinking doesn’t have to be a bad personality trait. Although it indicates they score high levels of Neuroticism, which can make them have mood swings, it can also help them be great at problem-solving.

So instead of just assuming that being an overthinker is a problem, it might be good to practice your self-perception and your abilities so you can benefit from what your personality brings you.


This article discussed what is personality and what are personality traits. It explains those concepts, how the personality is formed, and what can affect it.

The article also discussed, when talking about personality traits, what are the big 5 traits that people have, what comes with having each of them, and what are things to develop when talking about each trait.

If you have any questions or comments about this article, feel free to write it in the section below.



Power RA, Pluess M. Heritability estimates of the Big Five personality traits based on common genetic variants. Transl Psychiatry. 2015;5:e604.

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