What Biting Your Nails Says About Your Personality

Lifestyle | By Cole Damon | February 23, 2018

Biting your nails is a habit for some, while an addiction for others. Either way there are so many people around the world who are consciously or unconsciously involved in this nasty little habit. However, psychologists have come up with explanations to why people bite their nails and what this says about their personality. Some people who bite their nails might have all or some of these traits in them.

Not relaxing:

Several studies have shown that people who bite their nails do it on impulse as a measure of toughening up and not being able to relax properly. This anxiety leads to bite their nails which is also a phenomenon called onychophagy.

A perfectionist:

Though some people may think of this as a good sign, it's not a good physical sign. Perfectionists usually get irritated and refuse to calm down when certain things are not going as per the plan by them. Hence some of them turn to biting nails which is a sign of growing uncertainty and anger.

A danger to yourself:

While biting nails may look bad, it is actually far worse for your actual health. The reason for that is your hand and in particular, your nails come into contact with several unclean items a day. Biting your nails is directly ingesting these items into your stomach which may lead to further problems.


Loneliness is a serious issue for some. It results in people developing several coping mechanisms in order to assist them in understanding their situation. This leads to several activities like scratching themselves, pulling their own hairs and biting their nails.

Being unaware of the biting:

As mentioned earlier, a lot of people bite their nails consciously. However, there is a group of people who bite their nails without even realizing what they've done. Such people are usually those who are stressed at work or at school and take up biting as an unconscious response to the stress.

Trying to escape:

A lot of people take out their frustrations in many different ways. That's one of the reasons why so many people are involved in vocational activities. However, many people don't have anything else to channel their anger. They take up biting nails as a sort of replacement for those.


Children look up to their parents. They rely on them for everything. Hence, it is not surprising that they try to imitate their behavior in as many ways as possible. As per a report, 15% of children began biting nails when one of the parents was also biting their nails. It's a case of following your parent's footsteps.

A disorder:

A disorder is also a major reason why so many people end up biting their nails even after they're aware of the severe dangers of it. It may be the result of an OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) which forces them to bite their nails as a coping mechanism.

Self harm:

This is one of the more depressing and heart breaking reasons why some people harm themselves. It is a result of wanting to inflict pain on them which is in itself a psychological result of feeling depressed or unloved by those around them.

Emotions running high:

When emotions are high, either sad or happy, people tend to react in numerous different ways. Some of it includes rubbing their hands, or playing around with their hair locks. It also includes biting their nails. For some people, this behavior only occurs when emotions and stakes seem to be higher.


Some of the greatest minds the world has ever known have been known to bite their nails whenever a situation has gotten out of hand or a tough situation presented itself. Actors and celebrities are known to bite their nails at major award functions while sportsmen bite their nails in games that will define their careers.


This one is a little tough to believe but an idle mind needs something to take care of itself while it searches for a task to accomplish. In a lot people, biting the nails is an act that occurs simply because they're bored and have nothing to do. It is an impulsive decision which reflects the pro-active state of mind.

Habit disorder:

It is an old saying that the human mind and body needs structure. It needs a thoroughly planned schedule which allows it to build up a habit based order. However, not having such an order will lead to the brain acting out in some form. It has been known to term to nail biting as a measure in that regard.


In many ways, nail biting can be a genetic prospect for some. Parents who have been involved in nail biting throughout their lives are more likely to pass it down to their offspring. This can have severe implications as these children can start nail biting from as young as 5 years of age.

Continuation of thumb sucking:

Almost every child has a nasty habit of sucking their own thumbs as kids. However, as they grow up they gradually learn to let go of this habit. In most cases, children successfully got off this habit but in some cases it takes a form which is biting nails. It is a psychological development.



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