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The 12 Coolest Human Traits: Do You Have Them?

Karen Nimmo
Oct 29, 2019 · 4 min read

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
Oscar Wilde

Who’s the Coolest person you know?

Maybe it’s someone who rocks a battered leather jacket? Maybe it’s someone who quietly orders a martini (shaken, not stirred) at the bar? Or maybe it’s someone who just makes living look effortless?

Psychologists see a lot of people who’d like to be “cooler”. But it’s less about what they’re wearing or doing — and more about what they’re feeling. They’d just like life to feel easier, calmer and more upbeat — not like they’re having to scale a mountain every day. In bare feet.

I’ve come to see cool as the ability to be the same person on the outside as you are on the in. So that no-one can tell the difference. So that you never feel at odds with yourself, your activities or your dreams.

To have who you are, what you do AND how you feel all lined up is not easy. But it’s a great aspiration for us all.

So here — with the help of my clients and a little research — are the qualities of the effortlessly cool.

The 12 Coolest Human Traits: Do You Have Them?

They’re adaptable. They’re not easily thrown or caught out by a change in circumstances. They don’t need to know exactly what’s happening to feel okay in the world. They’re able to turn uncertainty turn into possibility — even excitement.

They like people — a lot. They’re genuinely interested in them. They ask good questions and convey their interest in others. They say yes to social invitations — but they also know when to say no. They’re easy in company but also fine hanging out on their own, in fact, they schedule it to allow time to top up their own tank.

They never look like they’ve tried too hard to get dressed (or that they’ve tried on three outfits before getting out the door, even if they have). But, whatever the occasion, their clothes and general appearance — outside of work, school or uniform requirements — convey something of the person they are. Consistently.

They don’t take things (too) personally. They understand other people’s opinions are not really about them — they’re a reflection of that person’s history, experiences and beliefs. Which means they’re not governed by the critiques of others — they do what they want or had planned anyway.

They know the past has shaped their lives, and they draw knowledge from it, but they also know the past can be a trap. They refuse to walk into that trap because they know the past should not dictate their future.

They have plans, hopes and dreams but they’re not so stuck on them that they can’t enjoy things and people right now. Because they get that’s where life actually happens.

Food, alcohol, exercise, work, emotions — whatever it is, they know how to enjoy or express themselves — and, when enough is enough, they head home. Or close the gate. Or get on with something else.

About everything. They love to learn. And they hunt down opportunities to do so.

Instead, you’ll lose them. They’ll just drift away. They know the world is full of people who won’t be mean to them. People who will add to their lives — not subtract. So they’ll go find them instead.

They do interesting things, they talk about interesting things. You find yourself with lots of questions to ask. You want to know more. You learn things by being around them.

They’ll help you if you need it and they’ll advise you if you ask for it — but they won’t force their opinions on you. They won’t judge you. They’ll accept you have responsibility for your own life. Just as they have for theirs.

They laugh easily and often. They can be serious when necessary but they have a lightness of spirit that is fun to tap into.

You make an effort to stay in touch or to catch up. Because you enjoy it. Because they seem to enjoy you too. And every time you leave them you come away feeling okay — and knowing you want to keep them in your world. And, hopefully, they want you in theirs too.


If you’re struggling with your cool factor, don’t be too hard on yourself. Instead, just aim to cut down on your less attractive qualities!


Enjoyed this? Check out my new book Busy as F*ck , a DIY approach to therapy in a stressed-out world. Available as an ebook or in paperback at Australian and New Zealand bookstores. Other territories coming soon.

Join my email list here for and receive a free gift: Seeing Someone: a brief guide to psychology, therapy and coaching. Enjoy!

On The Couch

Understanding yourself is the key to great results and optimum living. Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo offers help for your difficulties and a blueprint for fulfilling your potential.

Karen Nimmo

Written by

Clinical psychologist, writer, still learning how to live. Author of 3 books, including Busy As F*ck: 10 on-the-couch sessions for busy people everywhere.

On The Couch

Understanding yourself is the key to great results and optimum living. Clinical psychologist Karen Nimmo offers help for your difficulties and a blueprint for fulfilling your potential.

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