Think about how people behave at a party.  One person may be the "life of the party".  Another person may sit quietly on the couch.  Did you ever wonder why people act so differently in the same situation?  It is because each person has a unique personality.  Your personality consists of the behaviors, attitudes, feelings, and ways of thinking that make you an individual.  For example, when you are introduced to new people, you may be characteristically outgoing or you may be shy.

Being outgoing or shy are examples of personality traits.  So are being reliable, organized and forgiving.  A psychologist studies on how people think, feel, and behave.  Psychologists have described hundreds of personality traits.  Many researchers use five central traits to describe how people behave, relate to others, and react to change.  These traits are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness to experiences.

Extroversion:  This trait describes how much you like being with other people.  The labels extrovert and introvert are often used to describe the extremes of this personality trait.  An extrovert tends to be outgoing, talkative, and sociable.  An introvert tends to be shy, quiet, and reserved. Extroverts tend to seek out other people.  introverts are more comfortable spending time on their own. 

Agreeableness:  This trait describes your tendency to relate to other people in a friendly way.  People who are agreeable tend to cooperate with others.  They are usually forgiving and good-natured. They assume that other people are honest and trustworthy.  People who are disagreeable tend to be suspicious or hostile.  They assume that other people are unreliable or ready to take advantage of them. 

Conscientiousness:  This trait describes how responsible and self-disciplined you are.  Conscientious people tend to be dependable and make good decisions.  They approach tasks in an organized, deliberate, and thorough manner.  On the other end of the scale are people who do not think through decisions, are careless, and are easily distracted.  They may give up on a task or lose interest in the task before the task is complete.

Emotional Stability:  People who are emotionally stable tend to be relaxed, secure, and calm, even during difficult situations. They tend to focus on the positive side of things.  On the other end of the scale are people who are fearful, worried, and angry.  They tend to focus on the negative and to expect the worst in most situations.

Openess to Experiences:  People who are open to new experiences tend to be curious, imaginative, and creative.  They are likely to have a wide range of interests and may be less predictable.  People who are less open tend to be more predictable and less independent.  They are likely to do what other people are doing.