Society as a whole prefers an agreeable man over a disagreeable one.  Folks with high agreeableness tend to be social, cooperative, sympathetic, altruistic, and much more passive than their disagreeable counterparts.  The disagreeable person tends to display less pro-social behavior.  This person puts the focus on their needs first, even if it conflicts with the interests of other; less agreeable people are oftentimes seen as being narcissistic and self-serving.

Adopting a more agreeable disposition would intuitively seem like the most advantageous way to conduct oneself, but empirical evidence would suggest otherwise.  Although the disagreeable man may not always be the most popular figure among his peers, he is commonly the most successful.  Let’s deconstruct the “disagreeable man”, debunk some of the misconceptions associated with him, and explain why your agreeableness could be hindering you professionally and romantically.

Misconceptions

When we think of someone with high levels of disagreeableness, the person that we often conjure is one who struggles to get along with others, argues for the sake of argument, and lacks empathy.  Whilst a disagreeable person may generally be less concerned with the well-being of others, this does not necessarily mean he is a bona fide jerk.

He is just less inclined to waste time procuring for the approval and affections of peripheral figures who do little to benefit his purpose.  Additionally, due to his skeptical and suspicious nature, he is less apt to blindly adhere to commonly shared beliefs; he is perfectly fine with going against the grain and expressing disapproval to conditions he deems ill-advised or at odds with his ethos.

Career

Cater to the whims of others and you’ll remain broke.

In 2014, psychologists Samuel Hunter & Lily Cushenbery surveyed 200 college students for five major personality traits: neuroticism, openness, extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

After completing the survey, the students gathered in a room where they wrote down original ideas for a marketing campaign. Next, the students were arranged in groups of three and asked to create a plan based on their ideas.

Hunter & Cushenbery found that, while there wasn’t a relationship between agreeableness and innovative thinking, students rated as “less agreeable” were more likely to have their ideas included in the group projects.

Why?

Because “disagreeable” people are willing to argue and fight for their own ideas regardless of what others think.

Being the likable, considerate, and team player of the office isn’t always the most gainful mode of operation.  In fact, research suggests that even if nice guys don’t always finish last, they are more likely to make less money than their colleagues who put their own needs ahead of others.

Disagreeable people are also perceived as being more effective and better equipped for leadership positions. Alternatively, women with high levels of disagreeableness benefit little professionally.  These dominant women are seen as control freaks and therefore don’t command the same level of respect that the assertive man is afforded.

The study suggests women get caught in a double standard: If they are tough minded and demanding, they don’t win accolades or a much higher salary. Disagreeable women gained a much smaller 5.5 percent salary advantage over kind women.

“If a man behaves tough-aggressive-hard-nosed, he’s behaving leaderlike. But if a woman does that it really is a turnoff,” Judge said.

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One possible explanation for this: “We think we’re very civilized and modern, but we’re still living with some pretty ancient genes that evolved over tens of thousands of years,” Judge said. That affects gender roles and how people are evaluated for pay and senior positions.

How amusing:  being a strong, no-nonsense, alpha male will lend you better advancement opportunities and higher compensation.  Conversely, the combative, unfriendly, power-hungry woman achieves only a negligible increase in pay and effectively makes herself the most despised person in the workplace.

Romantically

When women feel unsafe, they choose macho, disagreeable men.

“Women have developed a preference for formidable guys capable of protecting them, so under harsh conditions women select less agreeable men.”

This should come as little surprise that women prefer a decisive, assertive, valiant man over a passive, meek, and obedient one—alpha fux, beta bux.  During times of adversity and chaos women desire a man who can think “outside the box” and usher her to safety.  She wants a man who knows when to go left when everyone else is opting to go right—the opposite of bravery is conformity.

Coercing women and stealing resources works sometimes.

“Ancestral men who weren’t kind could sometimes have kids through deceiving and coercing women or through taking from other men and groups the resources that women needed for reproduction, like land and food. These nasty habits are heritable too.”

It matters little to a woman the manner in which a man has acquired his resources; even if the methods used were duplicitous or immoral.  I am not encouraging men to pilfer or scam their way to the top, but putting the emphasis on personal gains above all else has historically been shown to increase his mating opportunities.

Lastly, a disagreeable man is stubborn and set in his ways.  He is more likely to stick to his guns, express his disapproval and walk out on a woman who is behaving in a perverse manner.

Enough said.

Conclusion

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” — George Bernard Shaw

There is utility in being a well-liked individual and having the capabilities to work alongside others, but not at the expense of personal fulfillment.  When you’re too agreeable of a person you subject yourself to being a communal walking doormat.

The movers and shakers of the past were mavericks; many of which were not always well received or popular figures among their respective circles.  In a societal programmed world where there is an over-saturation of “sheep”, the “sheep herder” might just possibly be the most sought-after figure.

Read More:  How To Optimize Your Personality

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