The personality differences between ‘glass half-full’ and ‘glass half-empty’ people

The personality differences between ‘glass half-full’ and ‘glass half-empty’ people

Image for postResearch conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Borden Dairy explored the differences between glass half-full and glass half-empty thinkers. (Photo by Pexels)

Everyone knows seeing a glass as half-full is associated with having an optimistic worldview, but does it hold up to the test?

A new study of 2,000 Americans found that people who view a glass as half-full not only think more optimistically, but it may line up with even more personality traits including decisiveness, playfulness, and creativity.

When viewing an image of a glass containing an equal amount of liquid and empty space, 58 percent of Americans felt that the glass was half-full, while 16 percent felt that it was half-empty (the remaining respondents were indecisive).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Borden Dairy for their optimism-inspired campaign, the new survey found that glass half-full thinkers, while being more optimistic, also tended to be more patient, more creative, more competitive, more adaptable and more playful than glass half-empty thinkers.

On the other hand, glass half-empty thinkers tended to be more laid-back, more introverted, more serious and more proud than their half-full counterparts. Oddly enough, glass half-empty thinkers don?t always self-identify as pessimists. In fact, nearly half (48 percent) of glass half-empty types believe they?re more optimistic than pessimistic.

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When faced with personal setbacks, glass half-full respondents have an easier time quickly finding the silver lining. Nearly half of all respondents (46 percent) report that they?re trying to be more positive day-to-day.

Glass half-full thinkers might be more optimistic because they allow more time for fun ? respondents who think more positively reported having two more better than average days a month than those who see things as being half empty (11 days vs. 9 days). Glass half-full thinkers also report spending approximately seven more hours a week on their hobbies than glass half-empty respondents.

The survey results revealed they?re also more likely to drink milk, compared to their glass half-empty counterparts.

?Breakfast is the top occasion for milk, and we wanted to see how taking the time to start your morning with breakfast may influence your outlook the rest of the day. It is delightful to confirm that milk drinkers are, indeed, more often glass half-full thinkers,? said Borden Chief Marketing Officer Joe DePetrillo. ?This spirit is captured in Borden?s new marketing campaign and tagline ? Glass Half-Full Since 1857 ? which highlights the pure joy and optimism of Borden consumers.?

Whole milk and chocolate milk drinkers agree: A great morning includes drinking coffee, getting enough sleep and showering.

Glass half-full thinkers are 39 percent more likely to self-identify as a morning person, although the majority of both groups of respondents believe great days start with great mornings.

Both groups get about six hours of sleep, press snooze once, drink coffee (approximately 66 percent take it with milk), and prefer light breakfasts of cereal to heavier breakfasts.

?As we head into National Dairy Month, it?s good to remind both ?glass half-full? and ?glass half-empty? thinkers that drinking milk in the morning brings significant benefits,? said DePetrillo. ?With a quick bowl of cereal and glass of milk, you get a kick start to the day with a great source of protein, Vitamin D, potassium and, of course, calcium ? nutrients that many Americans are currently lacking.?


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  • More optimistic
  • More patient
  • More assertive
  • More right-brained
  • More competitive
  • More extroverted
  • More practical
  • More playful
  • More adaptable
  • Drink more milk
  • 11 ?better than average days? a month
  • More likely to be a morning person
  • Spend 21 hours on hobbies per weekMore likely to use Twitter


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  • More pessimistic
  • More left-brained
  • More laid-back
  • More introverted
  • More sentimental
  • More serious
  • More rebellious
  • 9 ?better than average days? a month
  • More likely to be a night person
  • Spend 14 hours on hobbies per week
  • More likely to use Instagram


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  • 60 percent are glass half full thinkers
  • More assertive
  • More introverted
  • More playful
  • More adaptable
  • 81 percent love their jobs
  • 6 hours of sleep on average
  • 7 days of vacation per year
  • 23 percent drink milk more than once a day


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  • More creative
  • More laid-back
  • More introverted
  • More practical
  • More rule-following
  • 77 percent love their jobs
  • 60 percent are parents
  • More of a morning person


  1. Drink coffee (66 percent take milk)
  2. Get enough sleep
  3. Shower
  4. Listen to music
  5. Eat a light breakfast (cereal, toast, etc.)

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