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5 personality traits of the Big Five model + list

Learn everything about your personality traits. We have interesting facts and the scientific model "Big Five", in which your personality can also be classified. We also inform you about your character advantages and disadvantages.

Learn everything you need to know about your character traits. We will inform you about the different traits, how they are influenced by your genes and how they can change.

What personality traits actually are

woman with two personalities in mirror

Definition of personality traits

What are personality traits, anyway? They refer to characteristics of a person that, when put together, make up his personality.

This personality is usually individual, but may still have comparable characteristics to other people, and conform to a certain morality or type.

It is the totality of traits that make up a person’s character, and yet his or her individuality may be expressed in particular character traits. Jean-Jacques Rousseau already knew this:

"The character is not revealed in great deeds; the nature of human being is shown by small things."

(Jean-Jacques Rousseau)

Personality traits can change

Especially during puberty and old age, your character traits can change. Various studies have found that around the age of 30, a stable phase arrives in which character traits do not change that quickly.

It is only in old age that some changes can occur due to experience and social circumstances. For example, openness decreases with age, but conscientiousness and agreeableness increase.

Overall, however, most characters develop in a positive direction. We become more conscientious, more sociable and more stable in dealing with our emotions as we age. This can be done without resolutions or without bending ourselves. We all become more mature with age.

Composition of your personality traits

teacher with kids

Personality traits are made up of experience and heredity

About half of your personality traits were inherited from your parents.

The other half is based on experience and your social environment, which is primarily shaped by friends and extra-familial influences. However, brain development in the womb can already play a role here.

Stress during pregnancy can also permanently modify genes. The experiences of the first years of life can also strongly influence your character, depending on your attachment experiences and how much love you have been given.

These external influencing factors can account for 30 percent of the Big Five. The other 20 percent is based on experiences up to adulthood.

Personality Traits: The Big Five

The Big Five refers to a five-factor model of personality psychology. According to this model, there are five basic dimensions of personality.

With the help of these dimensions, character traits of a person can be recorded on a scale. In most cases, this is done by means of questionnaires or personality tests. We have compiled the Big Five for you.

Open-mindedness to experience (Openness)

man with laptop smiling out the window


Very open-minded and outgoing people are curious, imaginative and inventive. They seek excitement, need variety, and have an interest in other cultures. They clearly perceive their feelings, are inquisitive and eager to experiment.

Less open-minded people insist on conventions, have less diverse interests, are down-to-earth, cautious, and perceive their feelings more peripherally.

Conscientiousness (Perfectionism)

Conscientious people are often perfectionistic in disposition. They are organized, responsible, forward-thinking, structured, disciplined, have ambition and high stamina.

Less conscientious people have less self-control. They are more likely to reject responsibility, not worry as much, not see things as closely, be careless, forgetful, careless, and erratic.

Extraversion (Sociability)

two women and a man talking having fun

Extraversion is a trait of the Big Five

People with high extraversion scores always seek contact with others. They are sociable, communicative, warm, energetic, active and able to inspire others.

They are also assertive, spontaneous, and love to have fun. Introverts people tend to withdraw, like to work for themselves, like to be alone and are rather quiet by type.

They are more concerned with their inner world than with the outside world and therefore usually leave a reserved impression.

Tolerance (Consideration)

Agreeable people are understanding, compassionate, generous and helpful. Their altruism causes them to treat others with patience, empathy, and benevolence. They are cooperative, yielding, and peace-loving.

Less agreeable people are more concerned with themselves than with others. They get into discussions or arguments more quickly, and are suspicious and competitive.

Neuroticism (Emotional Lability and Vulnerability)

The neuroticism score measures emotional lability or stability. If the score is high, the person is anxious, nervous, constantly worried, and easily offended. He or she likes to feel sorry for himself or herself frequently, but also feels guilty quickly.

Neurotic people suffer more quickly from depression and anxiety disorders, but can also empathize well with others because of their sensitivity. If the neuroticism score is low, emotional stability, the ability to relax, satisfaction and self-confidence are among the defining character traits.

Advantages and disadvantages of the Big Five

Advantages and disadvantages of the Big Five

Depending on how strong the following character traits are in you, they have advantages and disadvantages. A healthy middle ground is usually just right, enhancing your personality development and making you likeable to others.

Describing these personality traits not only enlightens you about your own characteristics, but also helps you recognize under- or over-expression and work on yourself.

If you yourself have already noticed that one of these traits applies to you in extreme form, you may want to see a therapist and consider behavioral therapy. That way, you won’t continue to stand in the way of yourself and your development.

Open-mindedness versus closed-mindedness

The degree of open-mindedness goes hand in hand with the degree of courage and adventurousness with which you approach life. When you are very open-minded, you experience more. You’ll have new experiences and grow beyond yourself.

If you are very closed-minded, you might get in the way of your personal development. Closed-minded people avoid new and unfamiliar things and therefore often have problems adapting socially and continuing their education. A healthy middle ground is the best solution to face life.

Advantages and disadvantages of open-mindedness

Pros and cons of open-mindedness

Open-minded people are usually educated, have a lot of imagination and courage. They are enthusiastic about many things, have various hobbies and are not afraid of new experiences.

One might think there are no disadvantages of open-mindedness. But a boundless openness to the world and the urge to exploit all the opportunities offered can cause you to lose sight of your roots.


The advantage of open-mindedness is clearly that you are capable of realizing your full potential and developing yourself. You always think outside the box, are thirsty for knowledge and can develop your personality very well with the help of your many experiences.

Open-minded people are usually successful and committed life artists who rarely get in their own way.


Very open-minded people can also overreach themselves in their search for permanent new experiences and adventures. They could be disappointed because they constantly take high risks. They sometimes lose their down-to-earth attitude and their connection to the family.

They want to constantly improve and develop themselves. Close people cannot or do not want to keep up with them in some cases.

There is a danger of losing basic contacts if you are constantly traveling or searching for yourself, constantly changing and always needing action.

Pros and cons of being closed-minded

Advantages and disadvantages of being reserved

Closeness should not be confused with introversion. Closed-mindedness refers to one’s attitude toward life, not to one’s character’s introversion to one’s inner life.

Being closed has the advantage of not taking risks. However, closed people also experience less and are consequently often less fun-loving.


Being closed-minded can prevent disappointment and also avoids risk. By relying on the tried and tested, one always drives on the safe side. Disappointment can cause you to close off. However, life is so also characterized by monotony and skepticism.


Closed-minded people have a hard time building trust. They are skeptical and insist on conventions that are often out of date. They find it difficult to yield to and accept change. They block themselves from new experiences and thus miss out on much of life.

They are often seen as narrow-minded, grumpy, bored and unimaginative and therefore do not make friends quickly. They drag others down with them or block their own way to their own career or happiness in life.

Conscientiousness versus Carelessness

These two personality traits are particularly relevant to your career. Conscientious people usually have more success professionally than carefree ones. However, they also struggle more with their conscience, suffer more often from inner turmoil and have more stress accordingly.

Advantages and disadvantages of conscientiousness

Advantages and disadvantages of conscientiousness

Conscientious people have a high sense of responsibility, are careful, planning and engaged. They always give their best and are therefore usually successful in their endeavors.

Nevertheless, they have to make sure that they also meet their personal needs and do not just chase the demands of others.


Conscientiousness is a very good quality that is highly valued not only by friends and family, but also at work.

Conscientious people are sincere, neat, reliable, trustworthy and persistent. For this reason they have no problems to concentrate on important things and to fulfill their tasks – be it private or professional – always in an exemplary way.


Being constantly 'plagued' by one’s conscience and high sense of responsibility can also be personally very exhausting. The bar is always very high for conscientious people and thus they are also subject to a constant personal pressure.

There is a danger that they make their self-worth dependent on these successes instead of developing independently of the demands of others.

Pros and cons of carelessness

Advantages and disadvantages of being carefree

Carefree people might be said to be basically more content than others, as they only put little pressure on themselves.

However, this can also have a negative effect on their professional success. They tend to be careless, easily distracted, negligent and content with the bare essentials.

As with any character trait, mediocrity is usually best for one’s development. An overly conscientious person can quickly suffer from stress disorders such as burnout and neglect their personal needs.

A person who is too carefree might be balanced but suffer from professional problems.

You can find some tips on how to relieve stress here.


Carefree people, as their name suggests, do indeed have fewer worries. Their sense of responsibility and need to plan for the future is not as strong as other people.

Thus, they are less prone to stress and spontaneous. They are not easily rattled and are overall more relaxed personalities.


Carefree people often do not have strong assertiveness. They don’t take themselves or the world too seriously and are less passionate about their opinions. They usually choose the way of least resistance and can fall by the wayside themselves.

However, being able to express one’s own opinion and assert oneself in the face of others is important for stable self-esteem and professional self-fulfillment.

In addition, they often do not make as much effort for their career as others and make mistakes more quickly than planning, perfectionist people.

Introversion versus Extroversion

Technical terms for these two character traits are introversion and extroversion. They are characterized by the interaction of people with their environment.

With introversion, interactions tend to be with oneself. The energy pole is directed inward. With extraversion, it is the other way around. More energy is invested in the outside world.

Advantages and disadvantages of introversion

Pros and cons of introversion

Introverts are often thought to be shy or assumed to have too little self-awareness. Yet they focus their attention only on their inside.

They expend less energy interacting with others and require less attention from others than extroverts. They are often in an observational position and are much more comfortable in small groups than in large ones.


Introverts are often underestimated. Yet they are very good listeners and friends. They are usually very conscientious, creative, attentive and work on themselves a lot, as they often and willingly deal with their emotional world.


If introversion is too strong, it can get in the way of your personal development because of fear of new experiences and new social groups.

For example, very introverted people might pass up job offers because they don’t trust themselves to be able to withstand that social challenge. They repeatedly slow themselves down in life because they approach their environment with shyness.

Advantages and disadvantages of extroversion

Cheerful girls clinking glasses of champagne at the party

Advantages and disadvantages of extroversion

Extroverts have no problem making new contacts and are comfortable in large groups.

They are optimistic, adventurous, have no fear of contact and are quick to reveal a lot about themselves. On the one hand, this can make them seem very likeable, and on the other hand, it can also make them vulnerable and attackable.

There are many advantages, but also some disadvantages if you are too extroverted.


As an extrovert, you make friends quickly with your warm nature and can immediately engage in conversations because of your communication skills.

You are ambitious, master job interviews with left hand and can skillfully put yourself in the limelight. Thus, you rarely get in your own way, as you can adapt well and are not afraid of challenges.


If you are very extroverted, you tend toself-promotion and self-communication. In doing so, others can sometimes fall short and feel neglected. It is important to be able to listen attentively to others and to withdraw at the right moments instead of claiming the attention for yourself.

Also, be careful not to impose yourself too much with your outgoing nature. Accept if someone doesn’t want to befriend you directly.

Social compatibility versus incompatibility

Agreeable people get along well with other people. They are considerate and peace-loving. Incompatible people, on the other hand, often fidget, like to get their own way, and have little understanding for others.

Depending on how strong which side is pronounced, it can limit or strengthen the person in terms of his development. Learn more in the advantages and disadvantages.

Pros and cons of compatibility

two friends hugging each other

Advantages and disadvantages of compatibility

Agreeable people are adaptable and liked by others, but must be careful not to fall by the wayside themselves. Selflessness can tempt other people to take advantage of you.


Agreeable people are empathetic and benevolent toward others. For this reason, they often have many friends who appreciate their calm charisma. With agreeable people it is almost impossible to argue.

They avoid discussions and have a lot of understanding for the bad behavior of others. Accordingly, they are very team-oriented, able to take criticism, and cooperative. Their modesty and tolerance has a sympathetic effect on others.


Altruistic behavior and self-sacrifice can mean a restriction of one’s own personality development. Who lives only for others, forgets thereby itself.

In addition, the career can also suffer from it, since compatible people often let others take precedence and care too little about themselves and their own future.

They usually do not stand out in the gray masses and quickly give in out of a need for harmony. Their own needs are not fulfilled in this way.

Advantages and disadvantages of incompatibility

Regretful man husband apologizing upset woman wife

Advantages and disadvantages of incompatibility

Incompatibility means not being eager to always be on good terms with others. Incompatible people are not afraid of confrontation, usually pursue high self-fulfillment, and place their own satisfaction first.

This has the personal advantage of not shortchanging oneself. However, such ego-centered behavior can also scare off friends, arouse distrust in others, and cause loneliness. Learn more below.


Incompatible people are often pedantic. They insist on asserting their personal opinions. This means, on the one hand, strong assertiveness and, on the other hand, conspicuousness of character and self-confidence.

In the professional world, these qualities are often an advantage. Especially in leadership positions people with strength of character are needed, who are self-confident in their intentions and can make others understand their demands and wishes.


Incompatible people can be flashy, barge in with the door and stubbornly insist on their opinion. They therefore often appear selfish and intolerant to others.

Strong social intolerance manifests itself in frequent disagreements and a lack of trustworthy contacts. However, it can be put into perspective with kindness and understanding. Thus, the person can get his or her way and still not appear mean or ill-tempered.

Emotional Lability versus Stability

Unstable people are more easily unsettled and are strongly guided by their feelings. Negative experiences often burden them longer than people who are emotionally stable. The latter, on the other hand, tend to be more composed, more confident in their demeanor, and more content.

Advantages and disadvantages of emotional lability

exhausted woman at a desk

Advantages and disadvantages of emotional lability

Emotional lability is characterized by neurotic tendencies. Neurotic people get into anger, sadness, insecurity, embarrassment, nervousness or anxiety more quickly. They usually lead a rather troublesome life, constantly getting in their own way by their panicky thoughts.


Emotionally unstable people are very sensitive to emotions, and not only to themselves, but also to others. For this reason, they are usually very empathetic and understanding. Other people appreciate this quality in them.


Emotionally unstable people usually lead a burdensome and strenuous life. They are plagued by self-doubt and think about many things that other people do not even notice. Thus, they are constantly in stressful situations. New social situations are challenging for them and they worry permanently about the future.

They generally have more anxiety about their health or about other things. Neurotic people are more prone to phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Thus, they actually permanently stand in the way of their character development.

If this character trait is very strong in you, you should talk to a therapist and work with them on strategies to manage your emotions.

Pros and cons of emotional stability

Advantages and disadvantages of emotional stability

Emotional stability is the best condition for your personal development. If you are emotionally stable, you have enough inner peace to master your life.

You have enough self-confidence to develop unhindered. This doesn’t mean that you don’t have negative emotions inside you, just that they are less frequent and you can deal with them better than unstable people.


Emotionally stable people don’t give in to their feelings as quickly. They can control their feelings well, are more likely to be emotionally balanced and calm. They are not easily upset and do not take the opinion of others so quickly or so personally. They can handle criticism well and have no problems with new social situations.


In principle, there are almost no disadvantages of emotional stability. The personality of these people is usually very consolidated and quite insensitive to external, negative influences. They are less easily irritable and content with themselves.

The only criticism is that high self-satisfaction can be mistaken for arrogance. The focus is more on one’s own self, rather than on others.

At the same time, it is very important for one’s own development to be able to accept and implement the influence and criticism of others. If there is no need for improvement, there is also no further personal growth.

Positive personality traits in job interviews

Positive personality traits in a job interview

Many people find it difficult to come to terms with their own character and describe themselves.

Especially introverts or people with little self-confidence face a big challenge when they are faced with this task in job interviews.

For this reason, we have compiled character traits that are suitable for a job interview. In addition, you should brainstorm yourself before the interview and ask friends how they would describe you.

It is important not to give standard answers, but to emphasize your individuality a bit. When asked about your weaknesses or negative character traits, you should mention things that do not affect you in your job.

List of positive traits in a job interview

We have listed the character traits that are particularly suitable for a job interview and stand out from the other common answers.

Here we are not talking about which character traits are generally good or bad. Our selection is limited only to the situation in the job interview. It was made according to what personnel managers would like to see as answers from applicants.

  • confident / outspoken / courageous
  • helpful
  • creative / imaginative
  • communicative / open / outgoing
  • resilient / flexible
  • empathetic
  • patient
  • honest
  • fair / trustworthy
  • decisive
  • thankful/satisfied
  • assertive
  • motivated
  • dedicated
  • careful/structured
  • organized
  • team-oriented / social
  • responsible / reliable / conscientious
  • hearty / friendly
  • active / enterprising
  • able to learn / high level of comprehension
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