Four traits that best predict your relationship pattern: Part II of the Relationship Trilogy

Relationships are only as strong as the individuals that form it. Before you enter a relationship, you must first cultivate within yourself qualities that enable you to give your best in a teamwork. Below are the four traits that best predict whether or not you would succeed in a relationship:


Self-control has a myriad of benefits both for the individual and the relationships to which they belong. In previous studies, self-control actually predicted a diversity of positive outcomes, such as academic achievement, emotional adjustment, and interpersonal success. In other words, people who are high in self-control are more likely to have better standings in school and have more secure and satisfying relationships. They are less prone to fall victim to pathologies such as emotional instability (e.g., depression, aggression, drinking). The findings are not surprising, given the long-standing support research has lent into the trait. The famous marshmallow study exemplifies the advantages of self-control. In the well-known Stanford marshmallow experiment, children who were able to exercise inhibition and hold off on consuming the candy immediately later reported better outcomes in various life measures (e.g., academic achievement, social adjustment) than children who could not delay gratification to the sweet temptation. The benefits of self-control extends to others upon entering a relationship: Being able to exercise restraint (e.g., maturity) and not fall victim to impulsive acts (e.g., aggression) would do positively for interpersonal interactions.


The first and most important relationship anyone can have is with themselves. Knowing yourself is critical before one can expect to form any other relationship because you need to know what you can bring to the table. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses, and the reasons behind your behaviors, as well as having the courage to acknowledge and embrace them is demonstrative of someone who is highly attuned to themselves. People who have insights into their own behaviors and actions would be able to extend this to others, benefiting whatever relationships they form.


Compassion is a highly desirable trait that indirectly gives rise to an individual’s propensity to forgiveness and appreciation. It is well established that blaming others for one’s misfortunes and sustaining hostility and anger are harmful practices to oneself and to others. One without compassion feels entitled to force others to feel responsible for their misfortunes and shows little appreciation for others. In contrast, someone with compassion would choose forgiveness and appreciation, both of which are positive psychological responses that promote interpersonal benefits and reduce harm.


People are in the best positions for entering relationships if they are first secure with themselves. They demonstrate confidence in their abilities, but not arrogance, and do not feel threatened when confronted with criticism. People who have high security demonstrate ability to openly accept feedback, to consider evidence before committing to a judgement, and to admit wrongdoings if proven instead of taking a defensive stance. These are all important qualities that predict their problem-solving style in relationships. On the other hand, those who are insecure may believe that in social environments, hedonic indulgence may promote popularity. They may believe that engaging in acts such as binge drinking and flirtatious behaviors would promote their social status by drawing attention to themselves. It is a deliberate and strategic manner characteristic of individuals who are socially anxious and highly insecure of themselves. If they enter relationships, it is likely these individuals would demonstrate destructive behaviors that contribute to its breakdown.

Relationships take two to build, but only one to break down. Each individual must be strong and cannot expect the other to hold him/her up. Knowing yourself and cultivating qualities within yourself first is the first step anyone must do before one is ready to embrace the next step in life and become jointly responsible for two.




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