Couple on a first date smile at each other in a cafe
Published by  
Wes Myers
July 7, 2023

Relationships and the Big 5

Can your personality test results predict relationship success?
Wes Myers is the co-Founder and CBO of Keeper, an experienced matchmaker, and relationship expert. He is an Iraq veteran and Wharton MBA.

It goes without saying that personality compatibility is a key element to a successful relationship. One method Keeper uses to get a feel for your personality is the Big 5 personality test.

The Big 5 (also known as OCEAN) tests for five personality factors: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. Each score represents a point on a continuum with different benefits and drawbacks. These scores do not solely determine the success or failure of a relationship, but they provide useful insights into relationship dynamics and help contribute to a holistic perspective on you and what type of person you make a good match for.

If you're interested in taking the Big 5 for yourself, you can do so here.

Below you’ll find a brief rundown of how Keeper approaches each factor of the Big 5.


Openness refers to a person’s interest in experiencing new things, their intellectual curiosity, and their receptiveness to ideas and emotions. A person high in openness tends to be more adventurous, creative, and open-minded in their relationships. They seek novelty and variety, and tend to enjoy engaging in deep and meaningful conversations.

People usually pair best with others who score relatively closely on openness, with closer being better. When two people have similar levels of openness, conversations flow more easily as each person is interested in exploring a similarly wide or narrow range of topics, and it is likely their interests and favored activities will align.

Couples with vastly different openness scores often have difficulty understanding how the other views the world, leaving each person feeling under-appreciated and misunderstood.


Conscientiousness relates to self-discipline, organization, responsibility, and goal-directed behavior. A person high in conscientiousness tends to be reliable, dependable, and structured in their approach to life. They usually have a greater need for order, are more cautious in their actions, and are better at delaying gratification for the purpose of achieving goals.

We generally tend to make matches where the partners score closely on conscientiousness. When a couple has similar levels of conscientiousness, there will be less conflict around things like how tidy to keep the house, or whether to make plans for the weekend or just wing it. Each member will be similarly bothered by disorder, and probably have similar ambitions and goals in life.

Couples with incompatible levels of conscientiousness may have difficulty understanding how the other organizes their life and approaches work.

However, people high or low in conscientiousness will sometimes state that they prefer someone who is more opposite to them in this dimension balance them out. This trait can be a positive source of polarity for some couples where each can help the other approach life and see the world in a new way. In those cases, Keeper prioritizes the individual's preference and will make a match that is between one and two standard deviations apart in the trait. In all cases we try to stay away from extreme differences in conscientiousness, as that will typically lead to conflict.


Extraversion is characterized by sociability, assertiveness, and a preference for stimulation from other people. Extroverts tend to be outgoing and energetic, and typically enjoy social interactions. They are comfortable in social situations and less likely to experience embarrassment.

Introverts are prone to seek less stimulation from others. They tend to be better at focusing on one thing for a long period of time, but find they need to recharge after social situations. Introverts display lower levels of enthusiasm and are perceived as reserved or quiet until you get to know them.

We see extraversion similarly to conscientiousness. Having a similar level is generally good, but some variance can also be a positive source of polarity, while an extreme difference can lead to difficulties. When two people are somewhat close in extraversion, they have an easier time agreeing on how much social activity to engage in as a couple and will feel comfortable together in social settings. Extraversion becomes a serious concern when two people are at polar opposite ends of the spectrum, because they will likely prefer very different lifestyles.


Agreeableness reflects a person’s tendency to be compassionate, cooperative, and empathetic towards others. People high in agreeableness are often warm, considerate, and accommodating in their relationships. They tend to be more helpful, forgiving, and courteous. Low scorers tend to be more suspicious of others’ opinions while taking a more critical view of the world around them. People low in agreeableness are often perceived as blunt, callous, and less concerned with social niceties.

A highly agreeable partner may view a highly disagreeable partner as cold, harsh, and unforgiving, while a highly disagreeable partner may view a highly agreeable partner as soft and naïve.

People are usually most compatible with others who score similarly on agreeableness, but some variation can be desirable - particularly when the woman is slightly more agreeable than the man. This is because men tend to score lower in agreeableness than women on average and low agreeableness is perceived as a traditionally masculine trait. So if a woman feels that a man is higher in agreeableness than her, she may find it effeminate and unattractive. The reverse perception of men finding more agreeable women to be more feminine and more attractive also generally holds true.

As long as they are not too dissimilar, a couple with moderately disparate levels of agreeableness can benefit greatly from the other’s perspective for a stronger partnership.


Neuroticism represents the tendency to experience negative emotions such as anxiety, insecurity, sadness, and anger. High levels of neuroticism are characterized by mood swings, worrying, and an acute attenuation to threat detection. People low in neuroticism have a low proclivity toward negative emotions and are perceived as calm, relaxed, and secure.

For relationship compatibility, it is typically best for one person to be slightly more neurotic than the other. The more neurotic person will detect threats and identify legitimate areas for concern, while the less neurotic person will balance them out and make sure cooler heads prevail. If a couple varies too greatly in neuroticism, the low-neuroticism partner might view the other as emotional and volatile, while the high-neuroticism partner grows frustrated that the other doesn’t see the same things they do. Similarly to agreeableness, women tend to have slightly higher levels of neuroticism than men and it tends to be better if the woman is higher in this trait in a match.

Couples with similar levels of neuroticism work well at the middle of the spectrum, but as you get toward the extremes, issues of mutual reinforcement can arise. Two highly neurotic people will accept and reinforce unwarranted anxieties of a highly neurotic partner, while two low-neurotic partners will be vulnerable to missed outside threats.


Understanding and navigating the Big 5 personality traits can play a pivotal role in the success of a relationship. Whether it's the adventurous spirit of high Openness or the steady hand of Conscientiousness, each trait can influence how two people connect, communicate, and cope with life's challenges. However, it's crucial to remember that these traits offer insights and guidance, not absolutes.

The complexities of human personality and connection are beyond the realm of any single test. Keeper considers Big 5 compatibility important for matching, but it is not the end-all-be-all. We always consider user-provided preferences before all else, and will never override your stated preferences for any reason. The Big 5 are but one piece of the puzzle in the grand scheme of human relationships, a guiding light in the intricate labyrinth of love and compatibility.

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