British personalities in the year of COVID-19

Milan DinicResearch Manager
February 04, 2021, 5:09 PM UTC

Slightly more people report feeling confident in their personality and at work, compared to 2019

In 2019 YouGov published its first wide-ranging study on Personality. In the 2020 edition of the study, we focused primarily on the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, but we also repeated relevant questions from 2019 which help tell a story of British personalities in the 21st century. Here follows a comparison of the results on some of the key questions from both studies.

Happiness and personal confidence

The 2020 survey results show no change to the previous year when it comes to how happy or unhappy the British are with themselves. The number of those who are unhappy is the same as in 2019 and they make up a quarter (24%) of the public.

On the other hand, the percentage of people reporting they feel confident in their personality has slightly increased since 2019: while then 65% reported feeling very or somewhat confident in their personality, in 2020 the number has grown to 69%.

Overall, one in six (16%) report say they are not confident in knowing themselves.

Since the coronavirus pandemic started most people have been spending more time with their family members. Our study shows that 13% of Britons report they don’t feel confident within their family circle.

Coronavirus has also impacted the way we conduct our work. The results of our study show that more people report feeling confident in their work now (84%) than in 2019 when it was 76%.

What do the British dislike about themselves?

Half of Britons (50%) report they dislike their weight, three in ten (30%) don’t like their looks and a quarter (24%) dislike their age. A third (33%) they don't have a problem with themselves on any of these factors.

The gender split of the results show a stark divide when it comes to opinions about their weight and looks. Nearly six in ten (58%) women report disliking their weight, compared to four in ten (42%) of men. Also, more women (34%) than men (26%) say they dislike their looks.

Other people and us

Lockdowns and social distancing measures caused by the coronavirus pandemic brought about limitations on meeting and interacting with others. The YouGov 2020 Personality Study finds that the majority of the public – six in ten (61%) – say that it matters what others think of them. For one in seven (15%) it ‘matters a lot’, whilst for over four in ten (45%) it ‘matters somewhat’.

When broken down by gender, the results show that more women (65%) than men (55%) are bothered about what people around them think of them. This is slightly lower than in 2019 when seven in ten (70%) of women said they are bothered by the opinion of others about them.

Who the British like spending their free time with

One in six (16%) Britons say they like spending time with friends online, which is slightly higher than in 2019 when 9% said this. This applies to three in ten 16-24-year-olds (31%, an increase of 14pts compared to the previous year’s results), which is double the average for other age groups. Among those 60 and older, one in six (16%) said they like spending their free time with friends online, which is double compared to the 2019 results for the same question.

Overall, nearly six in ten (57%) of Britons say they like spending their free time with family members and four in ten (39%) say they prefer being on their own. Significantly more women (65%) than men (48%) prefer spending their free time with family.

The YouGov 2020 Personality study shows that a fifth of Britons (19%) find it more important to spend free time with friends than with their family. This opinion is more shared by men (22%) than women (16%).

British reserve and shyness

Over half (56%) of Britons consider themselves to be more reserved than outgoing whilst a third (34%) say they have a more outgoing personality. Most of the population (55%) describe themselves as shy.

See the overview of the study here

See full results here