20 Personality Traits You May Have Unwittingly Inherited From Your Parents

20 Personality Traits You May Have Unwittingly Inherited From Your Parents

Have you ever wondered why you act or react in certain ways? The answer may lie in your genetics. While we often think our personality traits come from our life experiences, research suggests that a large portion of our traits are inherited from our parents. Here are 20 personality traits you may have unwittingly inherited from your parents.

1. How ambitious you are

If you grew up with the type of parents who were always setting big goals and stopped at nothing to achieve them, you probably have a similar urge. Your ability to set and pursue goals is actually a gene that shows up early, so if you were the kid whose yearbook quote was “I want to be president” since kindergarten, you definitely have the gene.

2. How open you are

Happy, freedom and smile with woman in nature for peace, relax and youth with blue sky mockup. Journey, adventure and happiness with girl enjoying outdoors for summer break, vacation and holiday

Were you the kid who was eating sushi when your peers were eating chicken nuggets? This is a sign that your parents passed down their openness to you. If you often found yourself doing things that seemed out of the ordinary for your age—like learning about different cultures through food and travel—your parents instilled a curiosity and openness in you.

3. How agreeable you are

two guys laughing and chatting

When you’re agreeable, you’re typically warm and friendly. If that sounds like you, then you have your parents to thank. They were the type of mom and dad who made everyone feel welcomed and valued and you’ve carried that trait to your adult life.

4. How much of a leader you are

two colleagues gossiping at work desk

Your ability to run at the front of the pack or take a more passive approach is usually seen as a skill you can hone. It definitely can, but there may also be genetics at play. If you saw your parents take charge in situations—whether that was at work, home, or socially—you might have. the inclination to take the lead. If your parents preferred to blend in, then you might be happy with being a follower.

5. How sensitive you are

Your parents were the feelings parents—you could come to them with any problem or issue and they would sit there and listen and try to help. Today, you have an incredible ability to notice small changes in the environments surrounding you and it’s made you wear your heart on your sleeve. It’s a gift and a curse—it allows you to connect with others on a deep level but it can also be exhausting.

6. How you view the world

Delivery, selfie and portrait of a man in the city while doing courier

Are you a bright-eyed optimist? Or are you more of an “everything sucks” pessimist? No matter what side of the spectrum you fall on, your parents are to thank (or blame). If your parents always looked at the bright side ( even when things got tough), you probably see the world positively. On the other hand, if your parents were always complaining about how life wasn’t fair, you may have inherited a glass-half-empty view.

7. How resilient you are

Every family goes through tough times—whether that’s financial troubles or illness. How your parents responded to those hardships is an indicator of how resilient you are today. If they could bounce back, you’re probably pretty resilient. If they had a harder time getting back, you may display that in your own life.

8. How extroverted or introverted you are

This is kind of a surprising one, but whether you’re extroverted or introverted is a strongly hereditary trait. Pretty wild, right? If you’re the life of the party, then you probably had at least one extroverted parent. If a cozy night in sounds way better to you, then one of your parents might’ve been an introvert! This can also explain siblings who are opposite—one sibling likely inherited the trait from one parent and the other sibling inherited it from the other.

9. How conscientious you are

Which scenario sounds more familiar to you? Your parents always kept their word and showed up, they were never late when it came to school activities or picking you up. Or did your parents behave inconsistently, were disorganized, and always seemed to get the pick-up time wrong? Whatever your answer, this doesn’t mean your conscientious level is set in stone, you can change it. But your natural inclination to be one way or the other is from good old mom and dad.

10. How neurotic you are

Full length of attractive young woman wearing headphones and smiling while dancing on sofa at home

You might read “Neurotic” and think it’s a really bad thing, but the truth is, we’re all neurotic to a certain extent. How much neuroticism you deal with depends on your parents. Neuroticism is linked to anxiety and those types of genes can be passed down from one or both of your parents.

11. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker or not

Bet you didn’t know that your urge to seek out risk has genetic links. It’s true—studies have shown that there are over 100 genetic variants that have to do with a person’s willingness to take risks. Whether your parents were jumping out of airplanes on the weekends or didn’t leave the couch, you probably inherited some of that from them.

12. How satisfied you are with life

happy young woman outside

Your satisfaction with life can be significantly influenced by the attitudes, values, and behaviors of your parents. Growing up in a supportive and nurturing environment where positive reinforcement, encouragement, and resilience are emphasized can contribute to a greater sense of fulfillment and contentment in adulthood. On the other hand, if you didn’t receive much reinforcement or encouragement, you might not feel as fulfilled today.

13. Your ability to focus

Interestingly enough, the genes passed down from mother to child can impact serotonin production, which, in turn, influences the ability to focus. This can lead to things like ADHD, so if your mom deals with that, too then she’s the reason for your neurotypical tendencies.

14. Your sense of humor

woman talking to her mom

Maybe your dad had a super dry sense of humor while your mom was more into physical comedy. Whatever it was, from an early age, you observed and absorbed the styles of your parents and incorporated them into your own repertoire. Today, a healthy mix of dry and physical humor gets the biggest laughs from you.

15. How you respond to authority

Were you the kid who was always getting in trouble and rarely went through a school day without receiving detention? Or were you the opposite—were you the kid who follows rules to a T and would never dare step out of line? According to research, this actually has a pretty strong genetic influence. So whether you consider yourself a rebel or a rule-follower, it’s literally in your DNA.

16. How much you care about others

Whether you have the urge to help anyone and everyone who needs it or you’re more focused on yourself, it’s due to your parents. According to some research, it’s genetic, so nature versus nurture.

17. How you emotionally express yourself 

It’s no secret that children learn how to identify, process, and express their emotions by observing their parents’ reactions in different situations. If your mom was the type to let her feelings out, you likely do that, too. If your dad bottled things up, you might keep things inside, too. It’s important to know that this can change, but your foundational sense of expression comes from your upbringing.

18. How competitive you are

redhead woman out running looking determined

Whether it’s academic, sports, or professional goals, your sense of competition comes from dear old mom and dad. Parents who emphasize the importance of striving for success and achieving goals instill a competitive mindset in their children. So if you love winning and won’t stop at anything to get that “W,” you know where it comes from.

19. How organized you are

Parents who prioritize tidiness, structure, and planning tend to pass on these values to their children through direct modeling. This. can also influence conscientiousness (which we talked about above). On the other hand, if you grew yo in a house that had stuff spread out everywhere, you may feel more comfortable in the chaos of disorganization.

20. Your social skills

Parents who demonstrate effective communication, empathy, and cooperation raise children who can operate in any social condition. This can also contribute to agreeableness which can influence your social skills. If your parents were a little more reserved or liked to fade into the background in big groups, you might act this way, too.

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Piper Ryan is a NYC-based writer and matchmaker who works to bring millennials who are sick of dating apps and the bar scene together in an organic and efficient way. To date, she's paired up more than 120 couples, many of whom have gone on to get married. Her work has been highlighted in The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Cut, and many more.

In addition to runnnig her own business, Piper is passionate about charity work, advocating for vulnerable women and children in her local area and across the country. She is currently working on her first book, a non-fiction collection of stories focusing on female empowerment.