Personality Traits: Top 3

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Ty Tashiro, author of The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love: You have selfishness on one hand and compassion on the other.

What three traits do you think one would be well served to look for in a partner if they want to beat those not-so-pleasant odds and find enduring love?



Ty Tashiro

Personality Traits to Seek

  1. Agreeable (Kind)
  2. Emotional Stability
  3. Less Intuitive

There are a number of them. In The Science of Happily Ever After, I review nine different traits that people could look for that would improve their odds of finding a happy and stable relationship.

Let’s go with personality. In the personality chapter, I give three suggestions.

Personality is basically who someone is. If you say, “What’s the person like?” your friend will usually give you adjectives that are personality descriptors.

One of the handy personality theories out there is called The Big Five.

Personality Traits: The Big Five

  1. Extroversion
  2. Openness to experience
  3. Agreeableness
  4. Conscientiousness
  5. Emotional stability

The opposite of emotional stability is neuroticism or instability.

Personality Traits: Agreeable

When you ask people face to face or in an open-ended format what they want in a partner, most people will say that they want someone who is kind or agreeable.

That sounds nice. That would be a good decision but, in studies of online dating or speed dating where you can log what people do, it’s not kindness that they pick first.

Personality Traits: Look and Money

That’s when you see looks and money rise to first and second place.

Some of these other personality characteristics that would be more powerful predictors fall lower in the priority list.

If you were going to choose someone with a great personality, here are the things to look for.

  • You want someone who is kind.
  • You want someone who is agreeable. Agreeable people are more empathically accurate. Not only do they want to understand where you’re coming from but they’re more likely to get it right.
  • They’re more compassionate.
  • They’re more trusting.
  • They’re more likely to give freely to the relationship in an altruistic way because they have faith that it will all work out in the long run. You can imagine that this would be a great characteristic to have in a partner.

The opposite of that, someone who is disagreeable or mean, that’s a tough thing to deal with for years on end. Agreeableness is one thing to look for.

Personality Traits: Emotionally Stable

Second would be emotional stability. This is the most powerful predictor among personality traits.

It sounds like common sense that you want to choose someone who is not emotionally unstable.

If you look at how people prioritize, it falls pretty far down the list. Emotionally unstable people are not only dissatisfied with the relationship because they tend to see the world in more pessimistic ways, but they tend to be pretty negative. That makes their partners dissatisfied as well.

One of the most interesting things with emotional instability comes from studies looking at relationship stability.

One of my favorites was a four-year study of undergraduates in relationships. They found that emotionally unstable people had shorter relationships, which is probably no surprise.

The most interesting thing is that, emotionally unstable people happened to be partnered with someone who was emotionally stable.

This is a great situation for them. This is someone who will even them out. They’re good for them.

Most of the unstable people were more likely to end those relationships.

It’s like they couldn’t stand the success of being with an emotionally stable person. Emotional instability gets you two ways. It gets you in the satisfaction department but also in the instability area.

Personality Traits: Less Intuitive

The third thing to wish for personality wise is a little bit less intuitive.

You want to look for someone who is not high in novelty seeking. Novelty seeking is a personality trait where you always want something new and exciting.

Dating novelty seekers is super fun. Novelty seekers are great to date because they’re really exciting. They do all kinds of fun, spontaneous things.

They tend to get really absorbed in a relationship. They’re really into the relationship. They’re really into you. That can feel good.

These are also the kind of people that just kind of fall off the face of the earth.

People say, “They just kind of took off,” or “I just didn’t hear from him anymore.” That’s partly because novelty seekers are also more likely to get bored more quickly, which means they’re more likely to get bored with you.

They’re also very impulsive. They will engage in things like infidelity, substance abuse or other things that tend to be deal breakers in relationships.

You have those three things. You want someone who is agreeable, who is emotionally stable and who is not high in novelty seeking.

That would dramatically improve someone’s odds of having a happy and stable relationship.


Tell Us:

In your opinion, what are the top personality traits you should seek in a partner? Do you agree with Ty Tashiro’s suggestions of personality traits? Discuss with us below in the comments section.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Ty Tashiro

The entire interview transcript is at: Ty Tashiro Interview – What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: The Science Of Happily Ever After – Ty Tashiro

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes