The Sims(TM) 3

The Sims(TM) 3

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Discovering Traits in The Sims 3
By marstinson
If you're frustrated and at a loss on discovering the personality traits of your Sims, then here's a good place to start. You will not find a solution to every situation (because I don't know them), but you'll at least walk away with a good handle on the process.
 
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Discovering Traits
One of the biggest socialization headaches in The Sims 3 is discovering another Sim’s personality traits. Sometimes the player will want to do this because of an opportunity or a wish, sometimes because they want to build up a good relationship without having to spend a lot of time and effort at it, and sometimes it’s just plain curiosity. I am thinking specifically of the spouse of one of my Sims who had the “Natural Born Performer” trait (added by the “Showtime” expansion pack) and, in spite of going through three life stages together, my Sim was unable to discover this trait. I knew she had it because I could see the trait on her Simology tab, she knew she had it (well, I assume she was self-aware in this regard), but try as I might, I could not figure out how to get my Sim to discover it (and I’m still in the dark on that one, so any suggestions would be welcome). All of which set me to trying to figure out how the whole process of discovering other Sims’ traits works
Traits
Traits are the dimensions of a Sim’s personality. Young Adult, Adult, and Elder Sims have five traits; Teens (and some older NPCs) have four; Children have three; Babies and Toddlers have two. With “University Life” installed it is possible to have a maximum of seven: one additional trait for gaining a degree and one for Sims who gain Level 8 influence with one of the social groups (Nerds, Rebels or Jocks).

For the Sims who have them, traits can make life easier or more difficult, make them more or less adept at certain tasks, cause them to perform (or not) certain actions, and often determine their careers. This is especially true for Sims other than the player’s. The player always has the option of shoving their Virtuoso Sim into a greasy-spoon cook’s career, but most of the other Sims have careers and interests that match their traits. For players wanting a more in-depth look at traits in The Sims 3, I recommend the Sims Wiki (sims.wikia.com/wiki/Trait_(The_Sims_3)) .
For the player who must interact with them, other Sims’ traits mostly serve to help or hinder the development of the relationship between the two Sims. For example, a social interaction of “Enthuse about Books” will generate more positive relationship growth when done with a Sim who has the “Bookworm” trait than it would with one that does not. “Complain about Dirty Dishes” wouldn’t get much of a warm reception from a Sim with the “Slob” trait, but would definitely score points from a Sim with the “Neat” trait.

So if your goal is to build a relationship (or destroy it), to fulfill a wish, to complete an opportunity, or simply to satisfy your own curiosity, then you need to figure out which traits the other Sim has. The problem is that your Sim only has a percentage chance of discovering them, but a little strategy can stack the odds in your favor somewhat. I am not aware of any guaranteed method of discovering all traits, but treating it like the minigame that it is will get you closer to where you want to be than just randomly interacting.
Lifetime Rewards, Charisma Challenges and Expansion Packs (oh, my!)
1. The “Observant” Lifetime Reward is the easiest method. It will set you back 5,000 reward points, but will automatically reveal three traits just by greeting another Sim (reaching the Acquaintance relationship level).

2. If your Sim can complete the “Personable” Charisma challenge (discover 50 traits of other Sims), your chances of discovering unknown traits will be a bit easier, but I think it’s only for Sims you are speaking to for the first time. I’ve completed the challenge a few times and haven’t noticed much of a difference with Sims that I already know.

3. If you progress your Sim far enough in the Journalism or Law Enforcement careers , you will get an “Interview” social interaction, which does work on Sims that you already know, but this will not work on newly-met Sims until you raise your relationship level a bit.

Some of the expansion packs added additional ways of discovering traits, but these are only available if you have the proper pack(s) installed:

1. If your Sim has the “Perceptive” trait (added by the “Ambitions” expansion pack), your chances of discovering traits are significantly better. It’s got a few other benefits, but they are beyond the scope of this guide.

2. Vampires (Late Night + Supernatural to be available in Create-a-Sim) have the ability to learn traits by reading Sims’ minds.

3. “University Life” added a mobile radio station that is available to Communications majors which will let you learn traits similarly to the Journalism/Law Enforcement “Interview” interaction and Level 6+ Nerds can "Mind Meld" with other Sims.
Aside from those few, the only other way to learn traits is to socially interact with Sims and hope that something pops. So remember:
Your Monitor is Your Friend
One of the easiest ways for the player to figure out another Sim’s traits is to watch what they emote when they’re chatting, sharing a secret or getting to know. If they’re emoting Gardening tools, seeds, and plants, then it’s a pretty good bet that “Green Thumb” is one of their traits. If you see a “thumbs up” emote, they are likely “Good”, or the “Shacka Bra!” finger-wave emote probably means they’re “Friendly”, but you’ll need to watch closely to figure them out. Rubbing their hands and cackling is a good indicator of "Evil," for example. Once you’ve got a reasonable idea of one or two of their traits, just keep hitting related conversation topics and you’ll get there eventually and maybe make a new Best Friend (or Nemesis) in the process.

Remember that nothing is guaranteed to pop. In any given interaction it’s a percentage chance that you Sim will actually discover a trait, but if you roll a pair of dice enough times, you’ll get boxcars eventually. Same concept here: repeat the same interaction enough times and eventually the related trait will be discovered.

You can learn “Flirty” and “Unflirty” by simply trying the “Flirt” or “Flirtatious Joke” romantic interactions. If you’re in a romantic relationship with another Sim and they are on the same lot at the time, you might run into Jealousy issues by doing this. Doing Romantic interactions is also a way of finding out whether a Sim is in a relationship with another Sim without directly asking. Just as an aside, using Romantic interactions seems to increase the liklihood that Sim will ask you out on a date (let's not talk about Don Lothario in Riverview).

Trying to "High Five" another Sim and missing is a pretty good clue that one of you is "Clumsy".

If a Sim has the "Play Tag" interaction available, and you do not have the Childish trait, then they do.

Asking about careers can let you learn the “Workaholic” or possibly “Ambitious” traits, but will mostly give you clues to identifying skills, which will usually relate to traits. The same is true for asking about degrees (if you have University Life). You likely won't learn anything directly, but can pick up some clues about possible traits. For example, a Sim with a Technology degree could possibly have Ambitious, Brave, Daredevil, Genius, Handy or Workaholic traits. There is a pretty good listing of degrees with associated traits at the Sims Wiki[sims.wikia.com].

You can discover traits of a Sim through the “Gossip” interaction with a different Sim (and "Celebrity Gossip" if you have Late Night installed). If you do not already know the Sim, they will appear on your relationship list as a Stranger with that trait showing. If you do know the Sim and do not know the trait, it will appear.

"Gossip" is a pretty random thing and doesn't always pay off or may only reveal something that you already know. But it's about the only way I've found to discover some of the traits that do not have direct dialogue interactions. You'll always discover something, although it may not be horribly useful. For example, I discovered that one of my Sims had the Guitar skill, which was a surprise to me considering that it was njot on his skills list and he did not even have a Guitar, but had apparently picked one up for a couple of minutes at a party.

Unlike a lot of the "Enthuse about..." or "Complain about..." interactions, which only have a limited number of uses before they disappear from the interaction list, the "Gossip" interactions are always available, so you can keeping hitting them for as long as you can maintain the conversation.

As NBalchemist noted in the comments, doing a humor-related interaction can tell you if they have Good Sense of Humor or No Sense of Humor and "Announce Pregnancy" (if you're pregnant) or talking about family can reveal Family-Oriented or Dislikes Kids.

Aside from those, any oddball social interactions you see (ones not related to known traits) are probably related to traits that you don’t know. Trying them and getting bigger relationship points (two pluses or two minuses) means you’ve found a trait. If you keep hitting that topic, the trait will eventually reveal itself, but it may take multiple conversations before it pops.

Watching a Sim’s behavior can also clue you in on some traits that are not available through conversation. For example a Sim who is complaining about being hungry, gets some food, and then leaves it on the floor or counter is most likely “Absent Minded”. “Neurotic” Sims will “Freak Out” (hold their head and scream) periodically, but this is not a sure indicator as a clogged toilet or broken sink can elicit the same behavior from any Sim. Sims who stumble a lot are likely to be “Clumsy”. These are the kinds of traits that I’ve mostly discovered through “Gossip”.

If you are on the same lot when a behavior occurs, the trait may reveal itself, but this is also a very occasional thing. Usually it takes a lot of time being in the same area and several occurences of the behavior for it to work. I’m not claiming that the percentage chance of discovery is very high, only that there is one and that hitting it takes a lot of persistence.
Charisma is your Frenemy
Having 3 levels of Charisma unlocks the “Get to Know” interaction, which boosts your odds of discovering traits. Couple that with the “Friendly” trait and you can boost your chances even more. Add in the “Personable” challenge bonus and you’re about as good as you’re going to get on skill alone, so Charisma can be your best friend and should be developed at least a little.

But having a significantly high Charisma can work against you. At Level 10, a Charming Greet turns Sims into instant Friends. By the same token, Sims who perform publicly (Guitar in the base game, but other instruments and occupations, depending on expansions) will raise the relationship bar of any Sim who watches them, so if you perform long enough and do it in a spot where a lot of Sims tend to gather, you can end up turning the whole town into your Best Friend. This can net you a boatload of Simoleons if you’re “Playing for Tips”, but the most common result of this is that Sims you’ve never heard of will call you every five minutes wanting to hang out or something. And since they're already Best Friends, finding those unknown traits can be a major pain and time suck.
Cheats
I suppose that a section on cheating your way to your goal would be helpful, so here goes. Two mods from nraas.wikispaces.com will work for you.

MasterController: will not do anything to make your Sim learn another's traits, but it will satisfy your own curiosity. After installing it, click on the Sim you want to know about and select NRaas --> Master Controller --> Status. The Sim's traits show up on several of the Status options and the nicest thing about it is that it only shows the information rather than changing anything.

DebugEnabler: unlocks many undocumented developer console functions (hint: use with caution and always save first if you're experimenting). After installing it, click on the Sim you want to know about and select NRaas --> Debug Enabler --> Options: Sim --> Learn Target Traits (this function is not currently included on the mod's documentation page). Your Sim will learn all or all but one of the target Sim's traits. This will complete most of the "Learn Traits" opportunities in one shot, but will not change your relationship level with the target Sim.
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16 Comments
marstinson  [author] Jun 10, 2017 @ 11:25am 
I wasn't, but thanks for the heads-up. I'll check it out.
Salinité Jun 8, 2017 @ 10:15am 
mmsbludhound from modthesims.info has a mod called the "Trait Discovery Fix" that apparently fixes a bug in the base game preventing your sim from learning about certain traits through interactions. I wasn't sure if you were aware of this or not.
Darklord Bandit Jan 19, 2016 @ 10:48pm 
ah ok thanks. and yeah the zombies are super annoying
marstinson  [author] Jan 19, 2016 @ 8:39pm 
I'm trying to get my head around that one. It's something that got built into the game with one of the EPs (probably Supernatural), but I've only had it affect any of my Sims in one game. For all of the rest of them, the full moon is spent just trying to ignore the zombies. Absolutely no idea why it's behaving that way.
Darklord Bandit Jan 18, 2016 @ 11:45pm 
i have supernatural pack and my wizard/warlock sim freaks out furing full moon, has lunacy and does strange things. i just roll with it but the freak out bit is super annoying cause it just interfeers with what he's currently doing. nobody else in the family has this issue either
Dat Boi Jul 11, 2015 @ 12:59pm 
i got to go
Dat Boi Jul 11, 2015 @ 12:59pm 
ok
marstinson  [author] Jul 11, 2015 @ 12:44pm 
Not a problem. You'd have probably got faster answers over in the Forums, but I'm happy to help. Happy Simming.
Dat Boi Jul 11, 2015 @ 11:51am 
THX you soo much
marstinson  [author] Jul 11, 2015 @ 11:28am 
I can think of a few potential fixes, so if one does work, revert to your save and try something different.

First, open the console (press CTRL + Shift + C) and use "resetsim" for both of them. The reset command requires both first name and last name and will work with any Sim. To reset my current Sim, for example, "resetsim Kellee Franklin". Also, make sure that their relationship is at least at the "Friends" level. If the relationship gets too low, they won't share a bed.

Second, get rid of the bed and get a new one.

Third, move them into another house.

Fourth, and probably the most drastic, go into "Edit Town" and evict them (don't save when you exit "Edit Town" mode or you won't be able to revert to your save). It completely resets the household. You'll need to find a new place to live, but should fix the problem.