British reserve shown in new survey

Old stereotypes about the British being introverted appear to have been borne out by a new study showing more than half would apply the tags “reserved” and “shy” to themselves.

And one in four Britons say they do not like who they are, the study suggests.

A survey by data analytics team YouGov showed 60% of respondents described themelves as “reserved”, compared with only 31% who called themselves “outgoing”.

Men were more likely to say they were reserved, at 63% compared with 56% of women respondents.

And older people were more likely to be extroverted than younger respondents, with 40% of the 55-plus age bracket describing themselves as outgoing, compared with just 20% among the 16-24 age grouping.

Meanwhile, 57% of respondents called themselves “shy”.

Bashfulness was more prevalent amongst the 16-24 age range, in which 66% felt they were shy, compared with 48% for those aged 55-plus.

On the question of whether Britons liked themselves, 73% responded in the affirmative, but 25% said they did not, the survey of 3,450 British adults found.

“Younger people are much more likely than older people to say they aren’t happy with who they are, with three in 10 (31%) 16-24 year-olds saying they don’t like themselves most of the time, compared to just one in ten (10%) of those aged 55-plus,” YouGov said.

The main factors influencing self-regard appear to be employment and relationship status.

A total of 43% of respondents who are not employed and not studying said they did not like themselves, while only 23% did not among those with jobs.

And 31% of people who were not in relationships said they did not like themselves, compared with 20% of those in relationships.

The survey also asked whether people thought they had a “strong” or a “soft” character. While 30% put themselves in the latter category, 62% called their characters strong, including 14% who said theirs was “very strong”.

Among those with soft characters, 88% called themselves shy, compared with only 34% of those with very strong characters.