Health & Well-Being

The Big Five

Personality is some of the baggage we bring to relationships. 
By Dr. Lou Primavera

When we think about the person we’re intimate with, we focus on what they’re like — they’re nice, attractive, warm, supportive, etc. Who they are matters, of course, but we may forget that we’re the other half of the pair. We bring our own quirks and styles — our personal baggage — to our relationships, and this stuff is at the heart of what we believe, how we interpret situations, and the way we behave.


Personality — the traits that define us as individuals — is one form of baggage. Psychologists map out personality into what they call the Big Five, meaning there are five primary traits. We possess each trait to one degree or another, and whether we’re high or low on the scale for each dictates how we interact with and are viewed by other people.

Some traits allow us to be successful in our relationships, while others get in the way. The fact is whether or not we have good relationships sometimes depends on who you’re with, but sometimes it’s about who you are. Here’s the Big Five:

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