If friends brag about the sweet gestures of their partners on Facebook, they might be inadvertently sharing a thing or two about their personalities at the same time. Researchers at Brunel University London reviewed the status updates of 555 Facebook users who completed surveys about self-esteem, narcissism, and the "Big Five" personality traits: extroversion, neuroticism, openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they found those with different personality traits chose to share very different information. Extroverts, for example, frequently wrote about social events and tended to use Facebook exclusively to socialize, the Independent reports. Conscientious people often wrote about their children, while people with open personalities didn't shy away from sharing political views or social itinerary. People with low self-esteem, meanwhile, frequently posted about their romantic partners.
"People are more likely to post relationship-relevant information on Facebook on days when they feel insecure," researchers say, adding it's "reasonable" to see the move as a way to "claim" their relationship. However, those with low self-esteem didn't aim for attention and validation so much as narcissists, who were found to share updates about their achievements, as well as their diet and fitness routine, which suggests a deliberate display of the energy put into their appearance. Researchers say narcissists also posted more and received more likes and comments than others, but "it could be that their Facebook friends politely offer support while secretly disliking such egotistical displays," the researchers say in a press release. "Greater awareness of how one's status updates might be perceived by friends could help people to avoid topics that annoy more than they entertain." And, as the study was self-reported, narcissists may have inflated the number of likes and comments they received, per Business Insider. (Facebook could be hurting your memory.)