Not only is agreeability considered to be one of the Big Five personality traits, i.e. psychologists believe it’s responsible for up to 20% of the total dimensions that go into making a person who they are, but it’s also directed correlated with happiness levels, job satisfaction, altruism, and self-esteem.
Defined as being the level of friendliness, kindness, cooperativeness, and politeness that a person reliably displays day-to-day, agreeability is some pretty good stuff! With such an inherently positive connotation, it’s no wonder that people who score high for this trait also have a tendency to have more friends, more success in romantic relationships, as well as a greater knack for working in industries that involve responsibilities like interpersonal communication and conflict resolution.
Whether you’d like to gauge where exactly you might fall on the spectrum, or, perhaps, you think you could benefit from taking a few notes on the subject, here are five truths for highly agreeable people:
1. They’re not interested in winning arguments, only solving problems
One thing you’ll notice about especially disagreeable people, is that they have a tendency to argue just for the sake of arguing. They might actively enjoy rubbing people the wrong way and using the stakes of a squabble to further their own ego.
With highly agreeable people, however, the opposite case is true. Individuals that score high in agreeability will seldom entertain an argument that isn’t being progressed in a way that is healthy and productive for all parties involved. In addition to this, highly agreeable people understand that the key to solving any problem is to first understand it from the other person’s perspective, which allows them to handle any differences of opinion with grace.
After taking care to discern which battles are, and are not, worth fighting in the first place, agreeable people will also always make sure to position their own argument in a way that’s conducive to solving the problem. By doing this, they succeed in getting their point across clearly, while avoiding any potential upset that could result from low-blow tactics such as name-calling, he said/she said, or otherwise inflammatory comments.
2. They’re not too hung up on minor flaws and inconveniences
Whether it’s spelling typos, grammatical errors, or simple misunderstandings and missteps, highly agreeable people are far more likely to not sweat the small stuff when it comes to navigating the ups and downs of everyday life.
The way they see things, as long as everyone ends up on the same page in due time, it doesn’t quite matter how they get there. In this sense, you wont find any person with a learning towards agreeability getting caught up in the erroneous syntax of a text message, or the tragedy of a little spilt milk.
Consequently, you might also find that highly agreeable people present themselves more authentically on the internet, as well as social media, in general, as a result of not attaching too much concern to keeping up a facade. It’s true that nobody’s perfect, and this is a reality agreeable people have no trouble keeping in mind.
3. They’re quick to pick up on subliminal cues and non-verbal communication
Much like the way certain individuals have an innate ability to ‘read the room,’ highly agreeable people are largely defined by their ease of ability to register the non-verbal indicators of attitude of the people about them.
Instead of waiting for someone to audibly communicate their feelings in the moment, a highly agreeable person might be able to gather this information from reading body-language alone. For example, someone’s arms being crossed in front of their chest, or having their feet turned away — and maybe even towards the nearest exit — would signify a level of discomfort or unease. On the other hand, specific cues such as raised eyebrows, open/uncovered chest area, and the mimicking of physical expressions and gestures of another, would suggest a strong interest in the conversation at hand.
Not only do highly agreeable people pick up on these subliminal messages more readily, but they also know how to use them to the advantage of the interaction.
4. They’re more open to the benefits of placebo effects
Personality is oddly one of greatest factors in determining to what extent a person might experience the benefits of a placebo affect. When it comes to individuals who score highly in agreeability, research has found that they have a tendency to receive neurochemical signaling in the brain that triggers pain relief even when no real medicine has been administered.
On top of this rather helpful power of the agreeable mind, individuals with this quality might also find pseudo-scientific domains such as astrology or aromatherapy to be advantageous in some form or another. Highly agreeable people don’t require all the details to be able to make something positive out of a given situation, and their apparent unfounded optimism is, nevertheless, a testament to this.
5. They’re happier than the people around them, in general
High agreeability is not only linked to the tendency to be drawn towards more positive experiences — i.e. like listening to happier tunes instead of sad ones, and favouring forgiveness over holding a grudge — but it also suggests that these individuals possess a greater capacity to gain second hand satisfaction from the happiness of others.
Consequently, highly agreeable people are often happier than others, and can consistently sustain a more cheerful disposition day-to-day than their disagreeable counterparts. It’s not, necessarily, that their lives are any easier than everyone else’s, they just naturally gravitate towards positivity and productivity, and often end up happier as a direct result.
Boland JE, Queen R (2016) If You’re House Is Still Available, Send Me an Email: Personality Influences Reactions to Written Errors in Email Messages. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0149885. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149885
Peciña M, Azhar H, Love TM, Lu T, Fredrickson BL, Stohler CS, Zubieta JK. Personality trait predictors of placebo analgesia and neurobiological correlates. Neuropsychopharmacology. 2013 Mar;38(4):639–46. doi: 10.1038/npp.2012.227. Epub 2012 Nov 16. PMID: 23187726; PMCID: PMC3572460.