How do you decide on your profile picture? For me, it combines all the elements that I like: the right angle, the right post, the perfect backdrop, and obviously, me looking absolutely amazing.
These qualities are often at the top of our list when picking our display pictures. But there is so much that people can get from the photo we choose, from glimpses of our personalities to even how we feel about ourselves.
A 2016 study of 66,000 Twitter users found significant differences in profile picture choice between personality traits, with agreeable and conscientious users displaying more positive emotions in their profile pictures, while users high in openness prefer more aesthetic photos.
This further shows that even without noticing, our profile pictures can say a lot about who we are – and one person exploring digital identities and what they say about our personalities is life coach Francesca Tighinean.
The popular TikToker, who has over 880,000 followers, is known for her psychology tricks on how to subtly and sneakily get others to like you, read people’s body language, and much more – and this time, she broke down what someone’s profile picture can say about them.
In one of her videos, the City, University of London graduate broke down four ways your profile picture can say something about your personality, starting with extroverts, who she says tend to have very colourful pictures where “they’re surrounded by lots of people”.
@francescapsychology #psychology #psychologyfacts #profilepicture #profilepicturemeanings #communicationtips #lifecoach #nlp ♬ original sound - Sickickmusic
In the clip, Tighinean outlines that “very sexy pictures can signify that the person has an inferiority complex”.
She explains that this is where people feel “they need to be more expressive or show more in order to compensate because they don’t feel good enough.”
The UK-based life coach adds that constantly changing your profile picture can indicate that the person doesn’t have “a strong identity and is pretty insecure”.
Using a picture with your partner as your profile photo is another thing highlighted by Tighinean, which she says signifies that the person sees their partner as part of their identity. “Also, people with anxious attachment tend to post more couple pictures than people with avoidant attachment,” she says.
The video has racked over 369,000 views and 40,000 likes at the time this was written in 2021, with many commenting on how this applied to them.
One person wrote: “This is pretty accurate because I’ve been all of these at one point in my life.”
Another said: “Ouch on the third one. Too accurate.”
A third person commented: “I can definitely relate to the couple photo. My partner is an important part of me so I feel happy to have that as my profile and for people to know.”
Despite the number of comments sharing how they related to Tighinean’s insight, some did disagree, with one social media user writing: “I change my profile picture frequently not because I’m insecure but because I get bored easily with the pic.”
Another wrote: “I’m the second, but that’s just because I’m vain and think I look good.”
Whether you agree or disagree, it’s safe to say that we might all be staring at profile pictures a little bit longer in future.