Honesty is the most prized trait among Australians

December 05, 2016, 8:39 AM GMT+0

The rise of social media has been accompanied by a heightened sense of self; how we see ourselves and how others see us is the subtext behind much of what we post on social media. How many likes a selfie gets and the comments that follow are increasingly integral to our public persona and how we express our identity.

But how do we want to be seen and what traits are most valued? New polling by YouGov, one of the world’s leading market research firms, polled 1,000 netizens in Australia to find out the traits that Aussies aspire to as well as those that they want to avoid.

Honesty is the most prized trait among Australians, cited by 46% of respondents. By contrast, being seen as “a liar” is the least desirable, cited by 35% as one of up to four words or phrases that they would least like to be described as.

The top 10 desirable traits are seen to be:

  1. Honest (46%)
  2. Friendly (37%)
  3. Intelligent (37%)
  4. Loyal (35%)
  5. Kind (32%)
  6. Hardworking (31%)
  7. Polite (27%)
  8. Funny (21%)
  9. Happy (21%)
  10. Generous (17%)

Being described as “intelligent” is important to 37% of those polled, but especially so among men. While 42% of men prioritise being seen as being intelligent, intelligent was cited by only 33% of women.

Age also contributes to different priorities. People aged between 18-34 value being seen as intelligent (46%) and confident (22%) significantly more than those aged between 35-64 (versus 33% for intelligent and 13% for confident respectively). Conversely, being seen as honest is important to over half of 35-64 year olds but just 39% of 18-34 year olds.

Those living in metropolitan areas are more likely to want to be seen as “attractive”, with 13% of those polled listing attractiveness as one of the four words or phrases they would most like to be described as. Just 7% of rural dwellers prioritise being seen as attractive.

The 10 least desirable traits are seen to be:

  1. A liar (35%)
  2. Nasty (31%)
  3. Stupid (31%)
  4. Rude (26%)
  5. Selfish (26%)
  6. Lazy (25%)
  7. Greedy (25%)
  8. Disloyal (22%)
  9. Ugly (20%)
  10. Fat (17%)

Age is also a factor when considering how people don’t want to be described. 41% of those aged between 35-64 are keen to avoid being seen as “a liar”, whereas only 27% of 18-34 year olds list being “a liar” among the four traits they would least like to be described as. On the other hand, 17% of this younger group would least like to be described as “simple”, compared with 8% of 35-64 year olds.

Being seen as “a liar” is a dividing line between those that live in metropolitan and rural areas, with 32% of those that live in metropolitan areas keen to avoid being labelled as “a liar”, compared to 42% of rural residents.