Agreeableness as a Personality Trait (2023)

Agreeableness is a core personality trait that reflects and individual's abilities to get along well with others and their concern for social harmony.

When it comes to personality traits, if you're someone that has scored high in agreeableness, you're likely popular and tend to make friends easily. You also may be seen as trustworthy, altruistic, honest, modest, empathetic, and cooperative.

Agreeableness is one of the Big Five personality traits, which theorizes that there are five major dimensions to personality. Each dimension is viewed on a continuum, which means while you may be dominant in one area—like agreeableness—you still have some level of the other four traits represented in your personality as well.

In addition to agreeableness, the other Big Five traits include openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, and neuroticism. OCEAN is the acronym commonly used by psychologists to help people remember all five traits. Overall, the Big Five is a useful tool for considering and learning more about personality traits. It's also useful in identifying and predicting how people will respond in different situations.

How to Be More Likable

Characteristics of Agreeableness

Some common characteristics of people who score high in agreeableness include the following:

  • Get along well with others
  • Are popular and well-liked
  • Care for others in need
  • Are helpful, kind, and considerate
  • Display sensitivity
  • Are socially and emotionally intelligent
  • De-escalate conflict
  • Refrain from judging people
  • Give others the benefit of the doubt
  • Like to collaborate
  • Form friendships easily
  • Tend to be altruistic and perceptive
  • Are emotionally supportive

Overall, agreeableness describes a person's ability to put other people's needs above their own. For instance, people who are high in agreeableness naturally experience empathy and tend to get tremendous pleasure from serving others and taking care of them.

Agreeable people also are trusting and forgiving and would rather collaborate than compete with others. Clearly, scoring high in agreeableness can be advantageous in many situations because it's a key trait in attaining and maintaining popularity. Agreeable people are generally well-liked and a joy to be around. Most people consider them good friends.

Although agreeableness has many positive aspects, there are some downsides. For instance, agreeable people may struggle to assert their wants, needs, and preferences. They also struggle in situations that require tough decisions or tough love. And when it comes to their careers, they may be so intent on helping others get ahead that they forget to plan their own advancement.

Meanwhile, people who score low in agreeableness tend to be more hostile, antagonistic, and competitive. They also tend to have more difficult relationships that are riddled with disagreements and breakups.

Prevalence of Agreeableness

Like the other four factors of personality, agreeableness is usually measured using self-report inventories. These questionnaires typically contain statements where the person taking the test decides if they agree with the statement, disagree with the statement, or fall somewhere in between.

Because agreeableness is measured with self-report questionnaires and is considered a dimension of personality and not a diagnosis, there is not a lot of information available on the prevalence of agreeableness among the general population.

Each person has some level of agreeableness that exists along a continuum. In other words, you are either very high in agreeableness, very low, or somewhere in between.

Children tend to be lower in agreeableness since kids tend to have a harder time taking other people's perspectives and tend to be more egocentric. This trait tends to increase gradually throughout life.

How Agreeableness Influences Behavior

When it comes to personality testing, measuring a person's agreeableness determines their ability to be kind, empathetic, trusting, cooperative, and sympathetic. In other words, it shows how well the person meshes with society.

Within the trait of agreeableness, there are six facets or sub-traits that further illustrate what makes a person agreeable:

  • Altruism
  • Cooperation
  • Modesty
  • Straightforwardness
  • Sympathy
  • Trust

Here is an overview of these traits:


People who are agreeable feel good when they are helping others. What's more, they get tremendous internal rewards for doing good deeds and do not view it as self-sacrificing. They get a sense of fulfillment from the act itself.

Meanwhile, those who score low in agreeableness feel like helping others is an imposition. And even though they may recognize it, they often have no desire to change their behavior.


When someone scores high in agreeableness, they will go to great lengths to avoid confrontations with other people. They like to be seen as peacemakers, but will often compromise their own needs and interests to get along with other people.

On the other hand, people who score low in agreeableness are prone to forcing their will on other people. They also will use intimidation and aggression to get their own way.


If someone scores high in agreeableness, they tend to be straightforward and sincere. They rarely feel the need to manipulate people to get what they want. Likewise, they are viewed as genuine, loving people who are easy to relate to.

But, if a person scores low in agreeableness, they may feel there is nothing wrong with being deceptive, especially when it's more convenient. They also may be more secretive.


People who score high in agreeableness are very down-to-earth and rarely claim to be better than others. They also are usually humble—sometimes to the point that they may have lower self-esteem.

Meanwhile, someone who scores low in agreeableness might be more arrogant or not above taking advantage of other people. They also may try to do more to show that they are superior to others.


When someone scores high in agreeableness, they are often very sympathetic and are easily moved to have care and concern for others. They also are emotionally intelligent and very empathetic, often relating to the pain and suffering of other people.

People who score low in agreeableness are not inclined to be merciful and may not feel empathy.


If someone scores high in agreeableness, they are prone to assume that other people have good intentions and mean well. They can also be slow to make judgments about other people and often care for people unconditionally.

On the other hand, if someone scores low in agreeableness they tend to view others as selfish and believe they are only out for their own interests. They also may see people as a threat to their own interests and well-being.

Overall, if you are an agreeable person, some common behaviors probably occur pretty consistently in your life. Here are some common ways that people who are high in agreeableness behave. Look for yourself in these scenarios:

  • Put the interests of others before their own
  • May engage in people-pleasing behavior
  • Need affirmation from others
  • Are kind, considerate, and helpful
  • Tend to get involved in altruistic activities or community events
  • Will compromise on their ideas and ideals if it reduces conflict
  • Refrain from being abrasive or contradicting
  • Try to be honest and sincere in words and deeds


Agreeableness is characterized by being high in certain sub-traits, including altruism, cooperation, modesty, straightforwardness, sympathy, and trust.

How to Become More Agreeable

Agreeableness depends on a person's underlying temperament and innate personality. However, there are also things that you can do to help cultivate greater agreeableness. Steps you can take include:

  • Finding positive role models with high agreeableness: Spending more time with people with this personality trait can help you develop more cooperative behaviors.
  • Collaborating with others: Working with others on projects requiring you to maintain social harmony can help improve your agreeableness abilities.
  • Thinking of others: Make an effort to put yourself in other people's shoes. Imagining how others are feeling can help you behave in more empathetic, kind, and helpful ways.

In general, people tend to become more agreeable as they grow older.

A Word From Verywell

Remember, personality traits—like agreeableness—represent just one factor in determining who you are. Even if you score high in agreeableness, you still have some level of the other traits within your personality.

So, while understanding agreeableness can help you make sense of your tendencies, it's not your only defining characteristic. Every person has some dimension of the remaining Big Five traits in their life. Be open to exploring all areas of your personality.


Agreeableness as a Personality Trait? ›

Agreeableness reflects the individual's tendency to develop and maintain prosocial relationships. Individuals high in this trait are more trustworthy, straightforward, altruistic, compliant, modest, and tender-minded.

What is an example of agreeableness? ›

Agreeableness Examples

Wanting to please others is one of the most common examples of agreeableness. People with an agreeableness personality don't hesitate to compromise on their own needs to keep others happy, which may sometimes make way for self-destructive behavior.

What are 3 characteristics of agreeableness? ›

When it comes to personality testing, measuring a person's agreeableness determines their ability to be kind, empathetic, trusting, cooperative, and sympathetic. In other words, it shows how well the person meshes with society.

What is agreeableness personality trait high and low? ›

People who are high in Agreeableness experience a great deal of empathy and tend to get pleasure out of serving and taking care of others. They are usually trusting and forgiving. People who are low in Agreeableness tend to experience less empathy and put their own concerns ahead of others.

What are the weaknesses of agreeableness personality? ›

Are There Negative Aspects of Being Agreeable? There is a downside to being too agreeable. Highly agreeable people tend to be people-pleasers, often sacrificing their own interests and needs in the interest of helping, supporting, or caring for others.

Why is agreeableness important in personality? ›

Agreeableness reflects the individual's tendency to develop and maintain prosocial relationships. Individuals high in this trait are more trustworthy, straightforward, altruistic, compliant, modest, and tender-minded.

What is an example of agreeableness in the Big Five? ›

Agreeable individuals value getting along with others. They are generally considerate, kind, generous, trusting and trustworthy, helpful, and willing to compromise their interests with others. Agreeable people also have an optimistic view of human nature.

What are agreeableness strengths? ›

Agreeableness is a personality trait that describes a person's ability to put others needs before their own. Being empathetic and finding pleasure in helping others and working with people who need more help is a particular strength of highly agreeable individuals.

How does agreeableness influence behavior? ›

A central feature of agreeableness is its positive association with altruism and helping behaviour. Across situations, people who are high in agreeableness are more likely to report an interest and involvement with helping others.

Is agreeableness a leadership trait? ›

While there are several traits linked to leaders with successful teams, agreeableness is the needed foundation. An agreeable leader forms trust more easily and teams who have confidence in their leaders have a higher chance of performing effectively.

What jobs are agreeable people good at? ›

Careers for someone who is high in Agreeableness
  • Counselor.
  • Nurse.
  • Teacher.
  • Religious Leader.
  • Veterinarian.
  • Non-Profit Organizer.
  • Judge.

What are 2 characteristics of agreeableness? ›

Agreeableness is a personality trait that can be described as cooperative, polite, kind, and friendly. People high in agreeableness are more trusting, affectionate, altruistic, and generally displaying more prosocial behaviors than others.

Are agreeable people successful? ›

Their findings showed agreeableness offers “a desirable effect on hundreds of physical, psychological and occupational metrics” impacting both career and overall life success. One important finding was that people who had high levels of agreeableness had a 93% success rate in the above categories.

What is the dark side of agreeableness? ›

The Dark Side of Being Agreeable

People tend to take advantage of you. Those who score high on agreeableness tend to have lower salaries. It has to do with a person's aggressiveness. People who are more aggressive tend to be more successful.

Are narcissists low in agreeableness? ›

Grandiose narcissism correlated positively with Extraversion, Openness/Intellect and Conscientiousness, and negatively with Neuroticism and Agreeableness.

Is it better to be agreeable or disagreeable? ›

In the past few years, studies have shown that being “agreeable” in the workplace is negatively linked to success. The disagreeable personality, on the other hand, has a much greater chance of succeeding.

Is agreeableness linked to intelligence? ›

Meta-analytic research suggests that agreeableness and intelligence are uncorrelated. However, some components of agreeableness have been found to be related to intelligence. For example, aggression is negatively associated with intelligence (r is around -.

Why is agreeableness not the best trait for a leader? ›

The problem with agreeable leadership is: The tendency to avoid giving critical feedback. Tolerating of incorrect behavior longer. Accommodating and cooperative behaviors.

Is agreeableness a good trait? ›

In a new study, scientists pinpointed one personality trait out of the five that is most essential when it comes to job performance and career advancement: agreeableness. If you're agreeable, you're easy to get along with, cooperative and approachable and work as a team member.

Is high agreeableness a problem? ›

Being high in agreeableness can affect physical well-being. Constantly putting the need to please others before one's own needs can lead to health problems such as stress, depression, and resentment.

What is agreeableness personality in leadership? ›

The agreeable person is one who is positive in outlook. He or she is polite, trusting, and prefers cooperation over competition. He or she feels compassion for and empathy toward others and eagerness to help them—and believe others will help them in return.

What are people with strong agreeable personality types? ›

Agreeableness includes attributes such as trust, altruism, kindness, affection, and other prosocial behaviors. 3 People who are high in agreeableness tend to be more cooperative while those low in this trait tend to be more competitive and sometimes even manipulative.

What is agreeableness personality in the workplace? ›

Agreeable people are generally liked more and tend to follow the rules. They also demonstrate higher job satisfaction and are less likely to be involved in workplace accidents.

How do you know if you are agreeable? ›

You Have A Wide Circle Of Friends

Being "agreeable" just means that a person is highly oriented towards positive social interactions. For instance, one experiment suggests that agreeable people maintain their relationships through the exercise of gratitude.

Do agreeable people make good managers? ›

It is therefore not surprising that researchers found a correlation between agreeableness and poor management as it is clear that to be an even-handed poor manager is better than to be a poor manager and weak. But this does not mean that you cannot be both a good manager and agreeable at the same time.

What is the opposite of agreeableness personality? ›

Agreeableness. The trait of agreeableness refers to a positive and altruistic orientation. This trait enables individuals to see the best in others, trust others, and behave prosocially. The opposite of agreeableness is antagonism.

Are agreeable people happier? ›

New research looked at 1.9 million people across 3,900 different studies and found the characteristic of agreeableness was hugely impactful for everything from career growth and effectiveness to greater happiness.

What motivates agreeable people? ›

Highly agreeable people are strongly motivated to maintain warmer and friendlier relations with others, seek to reduce or resolve interpersonal conflict, maintain or increase group cooperation, and control negative emotions around other people.

Are agreeable people assertive? ›

The results suggested that introverted people are less assertive than extraverted people because they have lower assertiveness ability, whereas agreeable people are less assertive than disagreeable people because they have higher unassertiveness ability.

Can you be too agreeable? ›

In excess, however, agreeableness can do more harm than good. A chronically agreeable person—as in, the opposite of a no-person—can often feel dissatisfied with their own situation because they're so focused on how their actions impact those around them.

Which gender has trait agreeableness? ›

In the jargon of personality psychology, the women had scored higher on average on Agreeableness and Neuroticism and on one facet of Openness to Experience, while the men scored higher on one facet of Extraversion and a different facet of Openness to Experience.

What are the six facets of agreeableness? ›

The NEO-PI-R breaks agreeableness into trust, straightforwardness, altruism, compliance, modesty, and tender-mindedness facets (Costa & McCrae, 1995).

Do agreeable people have more friends? ›

Agreeableness also correlated with the types of bonds you form, with more agreeable people forging more traditional friendships. That means if you're easy going, you'll probably have more friends who live close by and who you see a lot, very likely people you grew up with.

Are agreeable people more empathetic? ›

Specifically, agreeableness was found to have relatively strong associations with empathic concern and perspective taking. This finding is consistent with the results of a recent study which revealed that agreeableness was highly correlated with empathic concern and moderately correlated with perspective-taking [12].

Do agreeable people live longer? ›

Of the women, those who were seen as more emotionally stable and agreeable (or friendly) lived longer. While the study's gender differences likely reflect the time period in which the original research began, the findings are still significant.

Is agreeableness a masculine trait? ›

Traditionally, agreeableness is not considered a masculine trait, with men expected to be assertive, competitive, and tough-minded.

Can you be neurotic and agreeable? ›

Here's a very simple example: A person who is high in neuroticism and high in agreeableness has many negative emotions but is nonetheless a pleasant person who probably tries hard to please other people. His neuroticism may make him clingy, maybe even annoying, but it doesn't negatively affect other people very much.

Should you be agreeable at work? ›

While being agreeable certainly doesn't appear to help one's pay, it does provide other benefits. Agreeable individuals are better liked at work, are more likely to help others at work, and generally are happier at work and in life.

What personality type do narcissists hate? ›

Type As can also be dangerous to narcissists

Although they can be targeted, type A people can also become a narcissist's worst nightmare. One of the most important defenses against dark personalities is having strong boundaries yourself, and type A people are usually aware they have the right to build them.

What type of narcissist is the smartest? ›

Cerebral narcissists, also known as intellectual narcissists, are individuals who try to fulfill their narcissistic supply through their perceived intelligence. While intellectual narcissists are generally smart, they may present as if they are more educated than they really are.

What personality type attracts narcissists? ›

People who are impressive in some way, either in their career, hobbies and talents, their friendship circles, or family. Someone who will make the narcissist feel good about themselves, through compliments or gestures. Anyone who will reflect well on them in the eyes of other people.

Why are agreeable people usually less successful? ›

The correct option is: D) They don't negotiate well

The agreeableness is related to low-level career progress, especially in earnings, because the agreeable persons may not be good at negotiating.

Do agreeable people have better relationships? ›

As adults in the workplace, agreeable people work well with others even in competitive environments and are more likely to jump on the opportunity to help others. In romantic relationships, previous research claimed that agreeable people are satisfied in their relationships.

Why agreeable people get paid less? ›

The likely cause is that people who are agreeable won't fight as hard to get a higher salary, either by negotiating when offered a job or by talking to their boss about a raise at their current position. Although there's nothing wrong with being agreeable, you need to know when to be assertive about your pay.

What is agreeableness in the workplace? ›

Agreeableness. Agreeableness shows how well someone can get along with other people. People scoring high in this trait are usually well-liked, sympathetic, and affectionate, and those who score lower are perceived as blunt, rude, and sarcastic.

What is one word to describe agreeableness? ›

synonyms for agreeableness

On this page you'll find 41 synonyms, antonyms, and words related to agreeableness, such as: affability, agreeability, amiableness, bonhomie, congeniality, and cordiality.

What is the meaning of agreeableness? ›

noun. the state or condition of being pleasing or likeable:He was generally liked for his agreeableness, good manners, and excellent spirits. A well-trained staff saw to the agreeableness of our accommodations.

Are agreeable people more successful? ›

Statistically, when people are more agreeable, they tend to coordinate better with others and work effectively in a team setting. They aspire to mutual goals and orchestrate work among the group.

Why is agreeableness important in a team? ›

As information and ideas are shared, agreeable team members are more likely to promote constructive criticism in ways that allow for more effective decision-making processes. In addition, better communication will ultimately improve team performance as information is shared and vetted in a collaborative climate.

How does agreeableness affect employee performance? ›

... Therefore, agreeable employees tend to find tasks that require mutual interaction and thus perform higher if this need is met (Graziano & Eisenberg, 1999). Bradley, Baur, Banford, and Postlethwaite (2013) showed that there is a positive correlation between agreeableness and job performance and success.

How do you determine agreeableness? ›

Agreeableness is typically measured using self-report questionnaires, where a person is asked to review an adjective or statement and then report the degree to which it describes their personality on a Likert scale (e.g. '1 - Strongly Disagree' to '5 - Strongly Agree').

Is agreeableness the same as empathy? ›

Specifically, agreeableness was found to have relatively strong associations with empathic concern and perspective taking. This finding is consistent with the results of a recent study which revealed that agreeableness was highly correlated with empathic concern and moderately correlated with perspective-taking [12].

How can I be more agreeable at work? ›

Here are a number of suggestions on how to be more agreeable in business and social situations:
  1. Ask questions and make fewer judgements.
  2. Keep your thinking in perspective.
  3. Consider what you get out of being disagreeable.
  4. Challenge your unhelpful assumptions.
  5. Control your body language - keep it friendly.
Jul 24, 2021


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