Social Question

Mariah's avatar

Is it common to have trouble describing your personality?

Asked by Mariah (19237 points ) August 1st, 2011

If you were to ask me to list some personality traits of mine, I could hardly do it. I think it’s partially because I reject the concept of pidgeon-holing myself into labels, but to apply that to simple adjectives seems a bit over the top. Do you think this is common? Is it a negative thing? Does it mean I don’t know myself well enough, or something else?

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14 Answers

tranquilsea's avatar

I don’t think that is means necessarily that you don’t know yourself. Perhaps you just haven’t spent much time thinking about it. I’m undecided on whether or not that is good thing. Perhaps it just is, for now.

blueberry_kid's avatar

Maybe not necessarily hard that you can’t describe yourself . You just don’t think about it 24/7, so it would be difficult to list 100 things from the top of your head. And, you don’t really spend time talking to yourself to get to know yourself, so you couldn’t just roll them off. But, it shouldn’t be relatively hard. I’m sure you can come up with a few things. In other words, agreeing with @tranquilsea .

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

No one knows you better than yourself. The challenge is that we feel so comfortable with our thoughts and ways that it is often hard to describe it accurately and why it is so.

It is frustrating when someone asks another to describe their personality. What you may find to be a negative could be considered a positive by someone else and vice-versa. This is why using adjectives to describe oneself can be detrimental.

Porifera's avatar

I don’t know how common it is, but it would seem to me that most people have very specific ideas of how they are, or rather of how they think they are.

I think it is a bit negative if you can’t feel comfortable describing yourself because it stops you from recognizing your own personality and also it slows down personal improvement in terms of developing weak areas of your personality and strengthen your already strong areas.

In my case, it is very easy for me to describe my personality. The only problem I have is that I don’t think my description would be very accurate as it is said that you see yourself differently from how other people see you. And that also there are parts of you than neither you nor outsiders can pin point. I think I know myself well, but I also think that others can see sides of me that I can’t see.

So, it boils down to:
How you see yourself.
How others see you.
Unconscious motives unknown to you or others.

lemming's avatar

Maybe you don’t spend much time with others, outside your family or old childhood friends. I found out who I am externally through others reactions and comments.

MacBatman31's avatar

I don’t like having to describe myself. It is so hard for me to tell someone what I am like. I personally rather that someone get to know me, then judge for themselves. Because of that, when someone asks me to describe my personality, with no time to think, I just tell the that I’m an asshole. It’s easy and quick to say, and wards off certain kinds of people.

MRSHINYSHOES's avatar

No, I don’t think it’s a negative thing. You may be a complex person like some people, with many different facets to your personality, likes and dislikes, etc. People like that often find it hard to categorize themselves. I’m like that too, as I don’t know if I can label myself one way or another——I’m from one extreme to the other, and some in between too, and always changing. Creative people usually have complex, hard-to-categorize personalities.

Porifera's avatar

There is a difference between personality traits and personality types. I find it harder to label your personality type than to list your most relevant personality traits.

YARNLADY's avatar

Not only trouble for you to describe your personality, but also just as difficult for any professional to do it. Personality is a very subjective trait.

woodcutter's avatar

It’s tough for me because I don’t like talking about myself at all. You know, when someone says: “So, tell us about yourself.” Uhhhhhhhm.

Bellatrix's avatar

I think it can be difficult because some people don’t like to ‘big note’ themselves. They don’t like to sing their own praises and it can also be difficult to highlight those less positive things we recognise about ourselves too. While I agree with @YARNLADY that describing our personality is very subjective, I think trying to be more self-aware is also a positive thing.

I have never had to do it but there was a training course some people in my organisation had to go through where people they worked with had to describe their personality, work attitudes etc. It was apparently very confronting. Some people who thought they were great communicators and everyone loved them were surprised to find they were actually viewed by many of their peers as loud and domineering. Each person who went through the process found it useful though. Confronting but interesting.

There are times too (when applying for jobs/promotion) when you need to be able to sell yourself and demonstrate you are aware of your strengths and weaknesses. There may also be times when having a good sense of our own personality can help us to overcome some of our less positive traits. So while I don’t think being conceited is a good thing, self-awareness can certainly be.

mattbrowne's avatar

How about taking a free online assessment?

Mariah's avatar

Thanks all. After some thought, I’ve decided a large part of the problem for me is my tendency, is all facets of life, to withhold judgement until I am certain about something. I’m very much a “fence sitter” in many ways – I’m agnostic, I’m a skeptic, I don’t proclaim anything as fact without a lot of proof. I think I have applied this same tendency in self-judgement: knowing that people are usually viewed differently by others than by themselves (a point many of you were getting at), I don’t want to arrogantly proclaim myself to be one way while being viewed completely differently by others. I think it is probably erroneous to apply this skeptical view to myself. I think low confidence in my judgement abilities is making it worse: again, I fear that other people view me completely differently than I view myself because perhaps my judgement is not so good. Thanks for helping me puzzle this one out; now I know what to work on.

Porifera's avatar

@Mariah I think many personality aspects change with age. I would not describe myself the same way as I did in my 20s, 30s, 40s, and now in my 50s is a different ball game altogether. Some would say that it is the perspective in life that is different at all those ages and not the personality itself. But although that is true too, as you age you get to know yourself better and recognize many aspects of your personality you didn’t before and this allows you to make changes if you make it a point. I know I have made quite a few throughout the years.

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