I've been looking at an awful lot of bubblegraphs in the last few months, and I want to blog about what I call "the flattery graph." This is when the Disciplined, Alternative, Unemotional, Cooperative, and Extraverted bubbles are very BIG, and the Casual, Traditional, Neurotic, Competitive, and Introverted bubbles are very SMALL. The flattery graph can show up in either your self-rating or your guesses about someone else.
What does it mean? Well personologists back to Cronbach have realized that although all personality profiles are possible, they are not all equally likely. Not surprisingly, the personality profiles that are are sanctioned or condoned in our culture are more common than those that are not. Now this project is not about judging others (it's about understanding others), but we can't deny the fact that it may be a positive norm in our culture to be hard-working, open-minded, stable, nice, and sociable. That is, Disciplined, Alternative, Unemotional, Cooperative, and Extraverted - the flattery graph. It's a fact of our culture that we both strive to be this way and assume this about others whom we like. So we don't fault anyone with the flattery graph in their self-ratings (my own in fact follow this pattern) or in their guesses of someone else. Instead, this norm of "goodness" may be key to helping total strangers understand each other. If I try to be "good" and you assume I am "good" - bingo, you just get me.
That said, we want to tip our hat to anyone who departs from the flattery graph. Cheers to all the Casual, Traditional, Neurotic, Competitive, and Introverted members of YouJustGetMe. If nothing else, you have recognized a personality trait in yourself that is...different...and shown the pluck to admit it when you rated yourself. We're not saying you're telling the truth and everyone with a flattery graph is a liar, but they are going with a norm rather than against it. Make of that what you will. However, the cost of not having a flattery graph is that strangers might not get you as easily. I'd be willing to bet that the people on the "Hardest to Guess" list down further on this page have at least one big non-flattery bubble. Guess them and see if I'm right. But maybe their Competitiveness allows them to say - "So what?"
And there's a final point: The non-flattery graph is NOT maladaptive, dysfunctional, or in any way wrong or bad. (The personality questions on YJGM do NOT diagnose any condition. Any answer you give is within the normal, healthy range of personality.) Certainly, we can all think of reasons why it's good (both in your mind and in our culture) to be Casual, Traditional, Neurotic, Competitive, and Introverted. (But to be sure, your departure from the norm may be a central drama of your life.) There are saints and sinners at all 10 poles of the Five Factor Model of personality. But we'll save that for another blog.