There is one personality trait that consistently predicts relationship satisfaction, and it can be measured with a few simple questions. On a scale of 1 (not at all) to 5 (very much), to what extent do you…
a) pay attention to detail?
b) get chores done straightaway?
c) like order?
d) follow a schedule?
e) ensure that you are always well-prepared?
The personality trait that most reliably predicts relationship satisfaction is not a wicked sense of humour or a fondness for grand romantic gestures, but conscientiousness. If you scored 21-25 you are very conscientious, 16-20 somewhat conscientious, and 15 or less (or you didn’t finish the test) not particularly conscientious.
This might seem surprising, as we can think of conscientious people as rather unromantic or even boring. But other traits, such as extraversion and enjoying new things, can be either good or bad depending on your partner and the stage of your relationship. It seems that ultimately most of us want a partner who will keep their promises, do their share of the household chores, remember birthdays and anniversaries, not cheat on us and forgive us if we cheat on them – all characteristics of conscientious people, and predictors of relationship satisfaction. As if that’s not enough, conscientious people – across all levels of education and socioeconomic status – also live longer. Let’s raise a (sensibly sized) glass to boring people.
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