Personality Types in Relationships

Many times we talk about the illumination of the mind through writing or art or even music but often do not have regard that illumination of the mind can be because of someone else and because of our relationship with something else. We often do not examine how specific relationships can illuminate the mind, whether that be through our relationship with someone else such as a partner, family, sibling, teacher or even whether that relationship be through the self through various forms of belief. There a multitude of differing ways that the mind can be illuminated through relationships. There are many different Personality Types in Relationships.

Personal Relationships

Relationships are formed from a very young age. Research at the University of California shows that key personality traits are fully developed by the age of seven. Though the exact age is often contested by varying researchers, and ranges from the age of 2 to 7. Personality plays a key part in our relationships with other people, and it comes down to whether we have a dominant, or passive personality which determines our interactions with others and can play a big part in how we learn, and ultimately how we illuminate our minds. Indeed, the development of social and personalities within children are heavily influenced through the interaction of social relationships, biological maturation, and the way that the child views and is represented within the social world and idea of self. When it comes to the development of the child, and their personalities there are several schools of philosophy and social sciences that recurring within academic circles.

The first relies heavily on the often criticised Piaget Theory of cognitive development. Piaget notes that there are four critical stages within the development of a child which distinctly mark differing points in how they think, learn and react. Freudian theory relates to the sexual development of a child, a libido. The libidinal energy fuels the aspects of the ID, the ego and ultimately the super ego. It is an often hotly debated topic as Freudian theory is often thought to have very little to no basis, though many theorists after Freud have based their own research on it. The three components of the personality, according to Freud, are balanced delicately, with each feeding into the other and the development of which relates to our relationships, interactions and surroundings. Erickson is a theorist that has expanded upon the Freudian concept by suggesting that an individuals social relationships would ultimately impact the development of their personality. All of these theorists form the foundations of where we develop our personalities as human individuals. Our personality, ultimately affects the various relationships that we have, how we approach them, and how our minds react to these relationships and are ultimately illuminated.

Traits of Personalities

There has been recent debate as to the difference between types of personalities, and traits of personalities. The debate around this centres on the idea that there is no particular ‘type’ of personality and instead, that there are various traits within personalities. In the words of Tori Amos:

‘Some of the most beautiful people in the world are the ones that you can’t put into boxes’

Psychologists have largely given up in trying to repeatedly put people into various boxes as there are many variables. There are generally considered to be five personality traits – though the specifics of the ‘big five’ are hotly contested. Despite the contention the majority of studies refer to the big five as being extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and neuroticism. These five personality traits greatly affect ones personality and thus affect their ability to navigate through various relationships which in turn will help in illuminating the mind.


Sometimes thought to be categorised as intellect, openness refers to ones ability to process things, their interactions with art, relationships, curiosity, creativity and a willingness to either try and/or explore new things. Openness in people are more likely to see a person in tune with their feelings, and develop an ability to demonstrate, articulate and have the capacity to share their feelings. Openness doesn’t necessarily need to be in tune with creativity – they can be completely in tune with their curiosity.


This relates to the ability of self, and the moderation of behaviour for achievement against obstacles or outside expectations. It relates to being dutiful, self-discipline and is directly responsible for how we regulate and/or control our impulsiveness. Higher scores on the conscientious table will preference individuals that prefer strategic planning over spontaneity.


Extroversion refers to the creation of energy through external means. It’s primarily concerned with an engagement of the world . Extroverts enjoy the interaction with people, generally have an abundance of energy and are also considered to be, for the most part, enthusiastic, action orientated people. They are talkative and assertive in comparison to other personality traits, and introverts.

Introverts are not depressed, or shy – they simply need less engagement of their social world and are far more independent. Introverts require less external stimulation and like their alone time. This two traits are quite important when it comes to dealing with relationships.


Agreeableness reflects the concern for social harmony. It is about socially getting along with others, and as a result of being in tune with their social aspects are generally helpful, generous, trusting, considerate, and kind. Agreeable people not only have positive view on human nature, but they’re more willing to sacrifice, or compromise their interests for others.
On the flip side – there are disagreeable people and these people place their own self-interests above others. Disagreeable people tend to be suspicious, unfriendly, and for the most part uncooperative.


Neuroticism is sometimes referred to as emotional instability, or in some cold cases, emotional stability. Eysenck’s in 1967 put forth his theory of personalities where he stated that there is a direct link between a low tolerance for stress and stimuli and neuroticism. People who scored highly in this personality trait were often vulnerable to stress and emotionally reactive and as such often fuel threatened and frustration at seemingly normal situations. Neuroticism, changes the response towards both positive and negative life experiences.  Again, with the flip side people that have low scores in neuroticism are less affected by upsetting events, and are far less emotionally reactive. These kinds of people tend to be calm, free from negative thoughts and emotionally stable.

Briggs Myers personality types
Graph: Briggs Myers Personality Types

These five personality traits are often categorized into the 16 personality types of the Myer Briggs Personality Types. From there they are often categorized into two main groups – introverts and extroverts. These types of personalities can drastically affect your relationships, interaction with your relationships, and ultimately how you learn and illuminate your mind with these relationships. People develop particularly personality traits – these traits lean towards a particular personality type. However, it’s difficult to label people within one personality type, and will rather exhibit traits from various personality types instead. Despite this ability to having elements of various personality types through personality traits, these traits and qualities will generally lean towards one type more strongly than any others. It’s not a stretch to see how your personality will ultimately impact upon your relationships. Research suggests that there is a discrepancy between the two phrases ‘like minds’ and ‘opposites attract’. Truth is that they are both partially true.

Current research has demonstrated that people are often attracted to other people that are different from their own ways of thinking. This challenges our own ways of thinking and makes the relationship seemingly more exciting. They are drawn to ‘opposites’ because the ‘opposites’ can exhibit qualities that the other is lacking, meaning that there can often be a far more balanced array of traits between the couple as opposed to a single personality type. Indeed it is said that couples that have opposite personalities are more inclined to be well rounded as a result of their relationship. It’s actually a delicate balance between the idea that opposites attract, and that we are usually more attracted to people that have a similar perspective, and viewpoint in life. It doesn’t matter where you fit in on the relationship type or traits at the end of the day – relationships are difficult and they take a lot of work, commitment and dedication. However, i don’t believe, necessarily, in the idea of compatible personalities – what i believe is the idea that we can successfully manage our respective personalities within a relationship. If this can be achieved, through the understanding of your own personality, and our partners then we may be far more likely to have a healthier, happier relationship.

It is understandable the things we learn in relationships – we develop new tastes, we develop new interests and we develop new ways of seeing the world. Love transcends our comprehension and illuminates our minds in ways we can’t necessarily articulate. The learning that we gain from relationships is astounding. It’s a personal growth of sorts, it instill a sense of growth in our minds, and gives our minds the ability to see things in a different light. Whether this light be through our letting our walls down, or a clash of personalities that results in a positive or negative outcome, or simply by being in the presence of someone that does things differently to yourself, it is very easy to see how relationships change us. Not only that, but they mould us, they start a chain of events that lead to our maturation, our progression of mind and development, most of the time our minds are illuminated with our partner, however there are times when that illumination causes a disconnection between the minds, and the relationship will either be an immense struggle, or it will collapse in its entirety.

There are things that we can also learn from failure as well and there are many things to learn from the faltering of a relationship as well. Here’s a few things that will illuminate your mind in the event of failure

  1. We all need me time: Me time is an essential aspect of growth – it’s a part of our lives where we are able to contemplate life, direction, our own growth. Love and relationships do not mean that every second of time should be spent with your partner – it’s unreasonable and humans need a break from each other. There’s that saying where it states that you need to love yourself – the only way you’ll get that is if you get your own time.
  2. You complete yourself: You are a whole person. You are not a half, a quarter, a reflection of something or someone else, you are complete and in your own entirety. Someone, a relationship, a partner, someone who helps expand your thinking is not a completion of you, but merely an extension.
  3. You can only change yourself: Granted – relationships change people. But don’t spend so much time trying to mould someone into your ideal shape. Personalities, and the mind, do not work like that. We need to change by ourselves, and remember when we said that relationships change people and make people grow? Well, sometimes it’s not always a positive result.
  4. Honeymoons never last: That feeling that you got when you first started your relationship – isn’t going to last. That interest you currently have in changing everything about yourself, them and everything in between isn’t going to last. You need to prepare for that.
  5. It’s ultimately clear that relationships change people: It’s clear that personal relationships change people. They change how we think, react, and respond with the world – and for as long as relationships exist – whether that be on a romantic or friendly level – then we will continue to learn through peer based and communal learning.

Author: Stephen Smith – BA Of Social Sciences, M.Ed


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