Character traits are valued aspects of a person's behavior. Everyone has character traits, both good and bad, including our favorite fictional characters. Character traits are often labeled with descriptive adjectives such as patient, unfaithful, or jealous.
Often, someone's character and personality are intertwined. But, believe it or not, the two are quite distinct. The easiest way to separate the two is to say personality traits are surface-level observations, visible from the outside, while character traits are deep-seated, not immediately obvious, and developed over time.
A new friend's outgoing, amiable personality can be easily observed. However, her honest character will take more time to become apparent. You will have to get to know her better to learn that her parents stressed the importance of honesty and she has taken those lessons to heart. This would make honesty one of her character traits.
This also makes core values similar to character traits. They're more than surface-level observations; they're guiding principles for life. Let's take a look at some character trait examples and learn how to recognize the many variations.
The old expression that actions speak louder than words is very true when it comes to character traits. You learn about people's character by watching how they interact with the world. There's an endless array of character traits that can be used to describe yourself or others, we've provided a selection of 90 character trait examples here.
Some character traits show a person's underlying values or beliefs:
No one is perfect and we all have a darker side. Some character traits that have negative connotations include:
How about a leader or someone who likes to be in charge? We might look for the following character traits in a boss:
Then, there are the kids. Their characters may not be fully developed but there are some inherent traits that are associated with children and some qualities you want them to learn:
In stories, novels and movies, there are often archetypes of characters. For instance, there might be a fearless hero, a cruel leader, or a helpless heroine who needs to be rescued.
The writer uses these classic traits to help you to identify what role each character play in the story. How often have you grown attached to characters in literature and movies? No doubt, certain character traits have appealed to you.
When describing a heroic main character, some of these character traits may apply:
If someone is a romantic trying to woo their sweetheart, they may possess these character traits:
When describing a story's villain, it would be common to use these kinds of character traits:
By spending some time thinking about and observing character traits, you can learn more about yourself and others, and also develop rich characters in your writing that are more true-to-life. For additional help in rounding out a character, check out this list of personality trait words.
Having well-developed characters in your writing will make your characters more three-dimensional and allow the reader to identify with them. This is exactly why some people say their best friends are found between the pages of their favorite books.