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30+ Character Traits and their Positive and Negative Uses

To create well-rounded characters, it’s important to make them as realistic as possible. This can mean seeing two sides of the positive (or negative) traits that best represent your character. Honesty is a distinctly good virtue, but is honesty always the best if it comes across as insensitive? Below, I’ve collected over twenty traits that can be flip-flopped between positive and negative uses.

  • Kind or passive

  • Strong-willed or stubborn

  • Caring or sensitive

  • Honest or insensitive

  • Courageous or risk-taker

  • Cautious or paranoid

  • Calm or apathetic

  • Optimistic or idealistic

  • Knowledgeable or argumentative

  • Determined or stubborn

  • Devoted or obsessed

  • Caring or overprotective

  • Assertive or bossy

  • Self-controlled or cold

  • Passionate or obsessive

  • Unyielding or unchanging

  • Virtuous or high-strung

  • Selfless or people-pleaser

  • Open or naive

  • Elegant or uptight

  • Sincere or gullible

  • Righteous or merciless

  • Logical or cold

  • Whimsical or weird

  • Generous or excessive

  • Effective or cruel

  • Humorous or flippant

  • Confident or arrogant

  • Fearless or ignorant

  • Wise or condescending

  • Agreeable or impressionable

  • Perfectionist or never satisfied

Tons of traits have opposite effects depending on when they’re used, and this is a great arc to add to any story.

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