You probably have a friend or a loved one that is known for biting their nails; if you don’t, it’s probably you. Regardless of who you know, that bites their nails, they have been linked to having this personality trait. Do you agree?
Do you bite your nails? I am a definite nail biter. Anytime that I’m watching tv, playing video games, or driving, I’m more than likely gnawing at one of my fingers. It is so habitual that it is extremely hard to even catch myself doing it. However, studies show that people who bite their nails have this personality trait, and I agree.
People who bite their nails are typically perceived to be anxious people. It is often labeled as a nervous twitch to bite your nails, but this is only true in some cases. Of course, I do bite my nails when I’m anxious, it isn’t the only time I do it. It is often frowned upon, however, it might not be that bad of a habit in the first place.
Of course, it doesn’t seem like there are many benefits to be obtained from gnawing your nails off until they bleed, but it only seems that way. It is often thought of to be a sign of poor hygiene to bite your nails, but science claims there is much more to this bad habit. In fact, according to science people who bite their nails are typically perfectionists and get things done. They do things the right way, the first time. They never have to go back to fix their mistakes because they rarely make them; however, this excludes me, biting my nails does provide me with optimal concentration.
Studies show that 20-30% of the world population bite their nails. They are most commonly women. Of course biting your nails off could potentially lead to an infection, it isn’t that dangerous of a habit. Although you are also exposing your body to tons of bacteria from your hand, nail biting has shown to provide a tremendous calming effect on the nervous system. This causes nail biting to be a physical outlet for stress and anxiety – but that’s not all.
According to a study published in the Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, nail-biting may indicate that someone is a perfectionist. It’s thought that biting is a frustrated reaction to an imperfection, i.e. a broken or chipped nail, in this case. The author of the study, Dr. Kieron O’Connor, sums up this behavior perfectly:
“We believe that individuals with these repetitive behaviors may be perfectionistic, meaning that they are unable to relax and to perform tasks at a normal pace,” Dr. O’Connor says in the research. “They are therefore prone to frustration, impatience, and dissatisfaction when they do not reach their goals.”