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Personality type can accurately predict your relationship status

Pop culture has a habit of portraying single people as outgoing and socially adventurous, always ready to mingle and meet new people. But according to a recent study, there’s a good chance that most single folks – happy ones included – actually prefer some quiet alone time. It all comes down to link between personality and relationship status.

Different personalities and their relationships

Researchers at the University of Toronto wanted to find out if there was a connection between personality types and relationship status. Their study explored how factors like extroversion (how outgoing you are), conscientiousness (how organized and goal-oriented), and neuroticism (prone to anxiety or sadness) might affect whether someone is single, partnered up, and generally happy with life.

“As marriage rates decline and more people live alone, our study contributes to a more complex picture of single lives that goes beyond the misleading stereotype of the miserable single person,” said study lead author Elaine Hoan.

The study surveyed over 1,800 folks between 20 and 59 years old who were currently either single or partnered.

The “big five” personalities and their take on relationships

The researchers used what’s called the “Big Five” personality model to understand the participants. This model looks at five key traits:


This trait reflects a preference for social interaction, high energy levels, and a tendency to seek out external stimulation. Highly extroverted individuals often thrive in group settings, draw energy from social gatherings, and may be perceived as assertive or talkative.


Individuals high in agreeableness tend to prioritize cooperation, empathy, and maintaining social harmony. They are often described as kind, compassionate, and willing to put the needs of others before their own.


Conscientious individuals exhibit strong organization, responsibility, and goal-directed behavior. People high in conscientiousness are typically seen as reliable, disciplined, and capable of delaying gratification in pursuit of long-term objectives.


Neuroticism reflects a predisposition towards experiencing negative emotions such as anxiety, sadness, and emotional instability. Individuals scoring high in this trait may be more prone to worry, self-doubt, and mood fluctuations.


Also sometimes referred to as “openness to experience,” this trait encompasses a curiosity about the world, a willingness to embrace novelty, and a preference for intellectual stimulation. People high in openness often enjoy creative pursuits, unconventional ideas, and exploring new territories both physically and intellectually.

Different personalities do relationships differently

The study revealed that extroversion (or introversion) was a strong indicator of someone’s relationship status.

“In a world that caters to extroverts, introverts are misrepresented as antisocial,” said Hoan. “The reality is, introverts enjoy their alone time and independence… So, an introvert may prefer being single more than being in a relationship.”

Unsurprisingly, extroverts, whether single or partnered, tended to be happier overall. It also seems that being in a relationship might even make someone more outgoing, perhaps through building confidence or expanding social circles.

The researchers also found – although less strongly – some links between being single and the following traits:

Less conscientious personality and relationship

The study revealed a correlation between being single and lower conscientiousness scores. Individuals scoring lower in this trait tended to describe themselves as less organized and less efficient in achieving goals. Highly conscientious people often orient themselves towards goals, including traditional life goals like marriage.

More neuroticism and relationship status

Single individuals also exhibited a tendency towards higher neuroticism scores. This means they were more likely to report feelings of sadness, anxiety, and emotional fluctuations. It’s important to note the complexity of this link: on the one hand, these emotional tendencies could pose challenges in initiating and maintaining healthy romantic relationships.

On the other hand, the emotional support and stability provided by a strong partnership could potentially mitigate these tendencies over time.

The central message of this research is that societal expectations should not dictate an individual’s pursuit of happiness. The pressure to be in a romantic relationship is pervasive, sometimes leading people to feel inadequate or incomplete if they are single.

However, the study emphasizes that true happiness and well-being stem from embracing your unique identity and living authentically.

“There is stigma associated with being single – you know, people saying, ‘You’d be happier if you were in a relationship, so why aren’t you?’ – when that’s not necessarily true for everyone,” said Hoan. “I hope what people take from our research is the idea that you don’t have to be someone you’re not – just be yourself.”

How to determine a personality type?

Determining your personality type can be both enlightening and useful, helping you understand your preferences, behaviors, and interactions with others. Here are steps to identify your personality type:

Take a personality test

One of the most common ways to determine your personality type is by taking a standardized test. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and the Big Five personality assessment are popular tools. These tests offer questions designed to gauge your preferences and traits, ultimately categorizing your personality into a type or scores across different dimensions.

Reflect on your behaviors and preferences

Spend some time reflecting on your typical behaviors, reactions, and preferences. Ask yourself questions like:

  • Do you enjoy spending time alone or with others?
  • How do you handle stress and conflict?
  • Are you a planner or more spontaneous?
  • Do you seek new experiences or prefer routine? Analyzing your answers can provide insights into your personality traits.

Seek feedback from others

Sometimes, it’s hard to see ourselves objectively. Friends, family members, and colleagues can offer valuable perspectives on your personality traits. Ask them how they would describe you, noting any patterns or commonalities in their observations.

Observe your reactions in different situations

Your reactions to various situations can also reveal aspects of your personality. For example, your approach to problem-solving, how you work in teams, or your response to unexpected changes can all provide clues.

Identify your values and motivations

Understanding what you value and what motivates you can also help determine your personality type. Whether you’re driven by achievement, relationships, knowledge, or something else, your motivations are closely tied to your personality.

Consult a professional

If you’re interested in a more in-depth analysis, consider consulting a psychologist or a licensed counselor. They can administer professional personality assessments and provide insights into your results.

Compare with personality type descriptions

After gathering all this information, compare your findings with detailed descriptions of personality types, such as those provided by the MBTI or the Big Five traits. While no description may fit perfectly, look for the one that resonates most with your behaviors, preferences, and self-perceptions.

Remember, while personality types can provide valuable insights, they are not absolute labels. People are complex and can exhibit traits from multiple personality types depending on the situation. Use this process as a guide to understand yourself better, but allow room for flexibility and growth.

It’s important to note that this is just one study, and correlation doesn’t equal causation. Being a certain personality type doesn’t guarantee you’ll be single or coupled.

The study is published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.


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