Does your significant other have personality characteristics that drive you insane? Maybe your loved one seems to get stressed out about the smallest things. Or perhaps your mate forgets to pay the electric bill month after month. Does a less than favorable personality characteristic mean certain doom for your relationship?
Personality is defined as an “enduring” set of characteristics about a person. Our personality is said to determine how we react in different situations and settings. Most psychologists agree that our personality is stable over our lifetime. Although we cannot change the personality of our partner, we can learn how to understand our partner better.
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For starters, circle which of the following descriptions describe your significant other.
1. Typically high strung
2. Constantly anxious or worrying
3. Sees small setbacks as major difficulties
5. Has difficulty controlling urges
6. Often displays more negative affects
Next, read through the list again and identify which of the characteristics describe you.
If you circled three or more of the above descriptions, you (or your mate) may score high on a personality characteristic called neuroticism. People who score high in neuroticism often display several of the above characteristics.On the other hand, people who score low in neuroticism tend to be calmer, more even-tempered, and less tense about life.
One way to better understand your personality type is by taking a full length personality test administered by a psychologist. Fortunately there are also some good, shortened personality tests that can be found online. One online personality test that I recommend to my students is the Big Five Personality Test located at www.outofservice.com/bigfive/
After answering the 45 questions on this free online test, you can immediately find out where you place in the five key areas of personality, including openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Your scores on the test are compared to others who have also taken the test, and score results are displayed as a percentile score.
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For the neuroticism portion of the test, the higher your percentile score, the higher you are in neuroticism. Higher scorers tend to have more of the personality characteristics that are listed at the beginning of this article.
What is great about this test, besides the fact that it is free, is that you can rate yourself and/or rate a loved one. You can then compare the scores of yourself and your loved one, although I do recommend that you both take the test for yourselves. At the end of this article I will discuss an exercise that you can do with your partner to gain increased understanding of one another and help with communication.