The Big Five’s Agreeableness: An In Depth Analysis

Followed by a series of five personality traits from the Big Five personality model, the next personality dimension that we will look into is agreeableness. The word “agree” indicates the likelihood to say yes, to compromise, or to agree to do things, either for oneself or others. Agreeableness measures the tendency to be kind, friendly, cooperative, and supportive. It shows how well one gets along with with others in a group-based environment. 

Highly agreeable people exhibit prosocial forms of behavior. They tend to be more sociable, considerate, tender-minded, and are concerned with the welfare of others. Low scorers tend to be more tough-minded and consider their interests and benefits above others. Sometimes, they are perceived as cynical, domineering, and antagonistic. 

If you want to know how agreeable you are, we recommend you taking the Big Five Personality Test here 

1. The importance of agreeableness: generate positive thoughts and improve mental health

Agreeableness helps to form relationships with  peace and empathy, trust and harmonization. It also helps to minimize the possibility of conflicts and arguments. On an individual scale, agreeableness enables one to harbor and nurture positive thoughts and actions towards others. 

Agreeableness, if placed at the right place and to the right people, attracts positivity and reduce negativity

2. The six facets of agreeableness

According to the International Personality Item Pool, each dimension of the Big Five Personality Traits comprises six facets, or also known as sub traits. The facets of the conscientiousness domain are:

Trust: to believe that someone or something is initially reliable, ethical, and truthful. A trusting individual tends to believe people are well-intentioned and fair. The opposite of being trusting is skeptical. Skeptical individuals tend not to trust others easily without considering other aspects. They tend to base on various other factors, such as their personal experience, facts, or evidence, to trust a person.

Morality: This facet shows the desire to be sincere and candid as opposed in dealing with others. Those who have high levels of morality tend to lean towards being sincere and kind-hearted with others. Those with low levels of morality believe a certain amount of deception or manipulation is needed in communications and relationships. It should be noted that this facet is not about being wrong or right, but rather the degree an individual feels comfortable and pleasant to interact straightforwardly with others.

Cooperation: the willingness to work together with others for a common goal, purpose, or benefit. These people do not like confrontations and tend to compromise. They are often not concerned much with their own needs or interests. Those who tend not to cooperate efficiently with others are more competitive and prioritize their personal needs and benefits. 

According to Dr. Todd Grande, looking at the overall personality trait, cooperation is one of the facets to be associated the most with agreeableness, in terms of the popular conception. For instance, a manager would view an agreeable employee as cooperative toward his or her co-workers. 

According to Dr. Todd Grande, looking at the overall personality trait, cooperation is one of the facets to be associated the most with agreeableness, in terms of the popular conception. For instance, a manager would view an agreeable employee as cooperative toward his or her co-workers. 

Cooperation is considered the most associated facet to the agreeableness trait, especially in working environments,  based on the popular conception

Altruism: the willingness or the desire to help others. Altruistic people find it fulfilling to help others in need. People with low levels of altruism might appear to be helpful towards others, yet the way they see these kind actions is different. Instead of feeling self-fulfilling and joyful when seeing others receive help, they feel inconvenient and look at it as an imposition

Modesty: how willing someone is to claim himself or herself better than others. Modest people do not like making this claim and would rarely consider themselves at a higher position than others. The opposite of modest is arrogant people who act as if they are superior to others.

Sympathy: the ability to understand and resonate with other people’s feelings, particularly that of sad events and sorrows. They are better at identifying, understanding, and connecting with human sufferings. Less sympathetic people lack the ability to recognize and harmonize with sorrowful experiences others are going through. 

Sympathy, in different situations, is considered as justice versus mercy. These two aspects appear as two extremes of a spectrum, where sympathetic individuals tend to lean towards mercy, and less sympathetic ones tend to lean towards the justice side

Sympathy                                                                                                                                                                                 More
Sympathetic people can understand and resonate well with other people’s emotions

3. Suggested careers for highly agreeable people

Highly agreeable people enjoy assisting others and feel more fulfilled when seeing others getting better from the help they receive. An ideal working environment for agreeable people would be a place that allows them to build connections and make positive contributions to the community.

Potential job ideas for agreeable people:

Teacher / lecturer

Nurse / caregiver

NGO / NPO leader

Religious Leader

Counselor

Community service staff

4. Suggested careers for those with low levels of agreeableness

Those who tend to behave bold, assertive, and tough-minded are not suitable for community-related jobs. They find it hard to place others’ needs and benefits above or emotionally connect to others. These people strive best in environments that focus on the outcomes, welcome counter opinions, and allow their competitiveness to glow.

Potential jobs ideas for low scorers in the agreeableness trait:

Scientist / researcher

Politicians

Programmer

Data analyst

Manager / director / association leader

Accountant

Engineer / mechanic

Author / writing content creator

5.Interesting facts about agreeableness

5.1 Agreeable people shouldn’t be perceived as “less intelligent”

Being too agreeable might lead to some behaviors that could be regarded as less intelligent. Agreeable people place their needs and interests lower than that of others. For this reason, agreeable individuals are perceived as less intelligent, especially in competitive working environments. 

However, how agreeableness is related to intelligence depends on how one chooses to define intelligence. Studies found that agreeableness has zero correlation with objective tests of general intelligence

5.2 People who consider themselves superior to others tend to appear disagreeable

Disagreeable personalities were found in those who perceived themselves at a higher position than others, regardless of their actual ability. This is a study result from Furnham & Buchanan on “Personality, gender, and self-perceived intelligence.” This has significant implications because that means agreeableness is not a fixed trait but can also change fluidly. A person can be more agreeable to a superior but less so with someone in an inferior position.

5.3 Agreeable individuals are more likely to experience Placebo Effect

A study published in 2013 found that there is a higher likelihood for agreeable individuals to undergo the placebo effect. For agreeable participants, they appeared to be more relieved by the placebo effect than other subjects having lower levels of agreeableness. They are less likely to object to the experimenters, more motivated to please them, and more hopeful for positive outcomes. 

5.4 Agreeable individuals are less bothered by grammatical mistakes

Subtle errors in emails might annoy some people, yet this is exceptional for agreeable people. The way personality affects an individual’s reaction to email mistakes was thoroughly discussed in this study. The study results suggested that agreeable people are less sensitive to grammatical errors in emails. It would be wrong to claim that agreeable people have worse grammar than others. They simply do not want to exaggerate the minor mistakes and willing to pass them through.

5.5 Social media is mostly used for positively connecting with others, rather than complaining, by agreeable people

How personality affects the usage of social media platforms has become the subject for a study in 2013. According to the results, agreeable people are more likely to use social media to build and maintain positive connections, rather than a platform for complaints and judgemental opinions. Another interesting study found that agreeable job applicants are less likely to be found badmouthing others on Facebook.

Social Media Sharing and Mobile Phone Networking Concept, Businesswoman is Using Smartphone for Communication Chat While Drinking a Cup of Coffee. Technology Connection for Entertainment Media Network , #Aff, #Concept, #Networking, #Smartphone, #Businesswoman, #Phone #Ad
The primary purpose of social media – building connections – is utilized the most by highly agreeable people

6. Conclusion: agreeableness needs to be utilized efficiently in the right place

Most people fall somewhere between agreeableness and disagreeableness. Depending on the circumstance, agreeableness can be perceived as a strength or weakness. On the overall perspective, agreeableness is a personal positivity that shows trust, cooperation, and support. This is a good thing and has become the keystone ingredient for organizational harmonization. However, in circumstances where assertiveness and counter opinions are more welcomed and focused, it is better to be tough-minded and competitive to protect one’s self-benefits.

References:

Six facets of the agreeableness personality trait, Dr. Todd Grande

Agreeableness has a zero correlation with objective tests of general intelligence, DeYoung, 2011

There is a higher likelihood for agreeable individuals to undergo the placebo effect

Agreeable people are less sensitive to minor writing errors in emails

Social media is used for positive connection purposes by agreeable people

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