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. People high in this prosocial trait are particularly empathetic, showing great concern for the welfare of others, they are the first to help those in need. Agreeableness is one of five dimensions of personality described as the Big Five. The other traits are openness to experience, conscientiousness, extraversion, and neuroticism.
When a person is high in this personality trait, they are less me-centric and more we-centric. They look for the common good in others, are quick to hear out opinions of the people around them, and look for harmony instead of discord.
The agreeable don’t insult others, nor do they question a person’s motives or intentions. They also don’t think that they are better than others. Everyone is their equal, and they are quick to empathize and respect others.
The less amenable and more combative person, however, is more inclined to be manipulative, callous, aggressive, and competitive. They don’t care much about other people, make disparaging or offending comments, have little patience, and are easily irked and annoyed.
Being high agreeableness is largely synonymous with being less self-centered. The agreeable listen to others, feel compassion, are amiable and trusting. Agreeable people make friends easily.
The agreeable are more likely to have a handle on their anger and negative emotions, and more inclined to avoid conflict. These people are other-oriented and often see others through a rose-colored view, trying to find the positive side in everyone.
Research shows that this personality trait is somewhat adaptable as people age. People become more emotionally stable, more conscientious, and more agreeable in their later years. Also, the work environment demands team effort and partnership, this collaboration requires a degree of agreeableness. Plus, living through the hardship of life can make a person more agreeable.
This behavior change can show itself in relationships: a person can sometimes feel that their partner has changed. They might remember a much sweeter, more considerate person before they were married, and complaining that their partner turned into a completely different person.
If you are too agreeable, you may get stepped on like a doormat. Agreeable people sometimes suffer when they put the needs of others over their own. Also, giving in to an argument just to remain friendly doesn’t always result in the best outcome; and certain situations demand less congeniality, like managing financial negotiations or other potentially discomforting scenarios.
Being agreeable and selfless can rub off on people—seeing a person getting along and doing good can perpetuate kindness and charity toward others. In a sense, the agreeable end up paying compassion forward.
These people seem to be happier and more satisfied with life when compared with the less agreeable. In general, the agreeable complain less, don’t belittle others, don’t cause trouble or conflict, don’t tend toward perfectionism, are less rigid, score low in the Dark Triad and other malevolent traits, prefer harmony, are more trusting and forgiving.
This trait is influenced by genetics to a degree, but nurture does have an impact as well. This trait is malleable and people do become more agreeable over time. Older people are generally more likely to go with the flow of life.
Agreeable and resilient people are more likely to have their pain soothed by a placebo. Neurotic people, on the other hand, are less likely to benefit. During a painful experience, agreeable and resilient people show more activity in a brain region presumed to suppress pain.
An agreeable individual is a people-oriented person who usually enjoys good social skills. You may find these congenial types in sales positions or in human resources. These people make good teammates and are not out to outshine everyone else.