“Difficult person test? What is that?” I wondered as I opened my messages. A friend had been asking me to take the test to know how difficult I am as a person. Driven by curiosity I hurried to take the test and see the results. 

Seeing “you are an easy person to get along with” instantly gave me relief and I rushed to tell my husband jokingly, how lucky he is to live with me. 

However, I am still surprised how this entire thing is depending on just seven traits. Chelsea Sleep and her colleagues at the University of Georgia apparently believe they can scientifically quantify the seven elements that constitute a difficult person. The IDRlabs difficult person test breaks our entire personality into the following seven traits:

  1. Callousness, or the fact that you don’t care about others
  2. Grandiosity, or another way of saying you’re better than anyone else
  3. Aggressiveness, or that you’re angry most of the times
  4. Suspicion, or having trust issues in simpler words
  5. Manipulativeness, or exploiting another person for personal gain
  6. Dominance, another word for being above someone
  7. Risk-taking

That doesn’t stop here. Another thing I wondered was how none of us end up having 0% of any of these traits. Now although I am an easy person to get along with, according to the test, I do not come without having at least some degree of each of these annoying traits. 

You can find your own results by taking the test here

How Does the Test Work?

You probably have thousands of thoughts wondering how this test actually works. The quiz is simple. It presents a series of 35 first-person statements. Here is a sneak peek into some of these:

  • I only obey those laws and rules that seem sensible to me.
  • People do what I want them to because they are afraid of me.
  • I am someone who deserves great recognition and success.
  • Other people’s emotions are their problem, not mine.
  • I keep track of sensitive information that can be used to hurt people at a later time.
  • I usually don’t help others unless there is something in it for me.
  • I avoid direct conflict with people who may be useful to me in the future.
  • I think about hurting and/or humiliating people who annoy me.

All the statements come with a scale of five — how much you agree or disagree with that statement, with one being you strongly disagreeing and five being you strongly agreeing with each statement. 

In the end, you see the results in the form of a pie chart depicting the degree of each trait that you possess. 

So What’s Prompting Everyone to Take the Test?

As the year 2021 unleashed upon us this test, people of all ages took to joining the bandwagon of taking it. Especially on platforms like Tiktok and Twitter the test quickly rose to fame under the hashtag #difficultpersontest

This test however has a different perspective and what puzzles me the most is people are trying to know how difficult they are as a person. The question is why? Why are people so adamant about finding out what is bad about them?

One simple explanation is to know more about themselves. Psychologists tell us the feeling of belonging to a group is what we look forward to and this is what personality tests do for us. 

“People love an easy way to gain insight into their unique patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors,” explains psychologist Mary Hoang from The Indigo Project. “For the same reason some people love astrology, some people love the sense of categorization personality quizzes provide as they allow us to know ourselves and others a little better.”

Could It Be the Pandemic?

A Harvard article probes deeper into the reason people are taking this test or any test for that matter. And yes, the pandemic has some role to play. 

You see, before the pandemic, we used to communicate in person. Everything was transparent when it comes to reading facial expressions or the tone of someone’s voice. This has now come to a halt. All of our communication relies heavily on technology today and we’re missing out on a lot of information on people we deal with.

For instance, text messaging and the use of emojis has made it difficult to recognize someone’s facial expression or voice tone. Back in the pre-pandemic time, we received feedback every now and then about what is nice about us and what sucks about us. Today, all those Zoom meetings and the online work has made doing this nearly impossible.

That brings us to the answer to our question. Isolation leads to overthinking. When we overthink we tend to think of all there’s bad about us. Maybe the “am I a difficult person test” helps fill this void that the pandemic has created. Maybe this test has become a sort of a social mirror for us. The test is being used as means to probe deeper into ourselves. Maybe this is the only gateway left to know how we are as a person and of course for self-awareness. 

The Role Curiosity Plays

In conclusion, we are led by curiosity. If it wasn’t for this quality, not even one of us would have cared to take the test. The fact that we took the test, means that we care to see what is good or bad about us. 

Now even if you end up being a difficult person to be with according to the result, the fact that you went up as far to take the test says a lot. The article goes further and explains how the people who wouldn’t care to take the test at all are the ones that need to worry.

Finally, you’ve certainly tried taking at least one personality test in your life. Whether it is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or a simple what is your Christmas personality test, we all seem to love taking these tests.

Now although you may think personality tests aren’t 100% honest after all, this one, in particular, is sounder than most personality tests you may find online. Participating in tests like the difficult person’s test is itself a step towards bettering ourselves and improving our communication in any type of work environment.