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Admit it. You have parts to your personality and character that society, says are “bad.” You’ve grown up being criticized because your room was always a mess, because you spent too much time daydreaming or procrastinating. You have this huge lump of guilt now, because you haven’t changed, even as an adult with “big kid” responsibilities, and your mom’s words still march through your head. Maybe this is just wishful thinking, but there are 11 “bad” personality traits that might actually be good for us to have, at least some of the time.

Contents

Procrastination

Putting things off, and off, an off. And then, at the last minute, comes all of the stress of meeting that deadline. You berate yourself ““ next time, you’ll start earlier ““ but you won’t. It’s just part of your make up. But, here’s the good thing about procrastinators. They have learned to work this way and do it very well. Yes, there are people who simply do a better job under stress, and you may be one of them. While others plod along and overthink everything, you don’t have the time. So you sit down, focus, and after a night of no sleep, it’s finished and every bit as good. Embrace your procrastination ““ it serves you well.

Selfishness

Much of the time, being selfish is a good thing. Think about the friends and colleagues you know who are “people pleasers” ““ you know, those who cannot say “no” to anyone. They spend their lives often being resentful and martyr-like, or they continually seek high praise for all they do. They are not developing themselves. Begin selfish eliminates stress, often means you take better care of yourself, mentally and physically, and that you know who you are and what you want. Of course, it’s not good in extremes, but those individuals are a minority. So, the next time you cancel an engagement because you just want to do something else, dump the guilt.

Sensitivity

Being overly-sensitive means you have a difficult time with criticism, taking it very personally, even when the criticism involves something related to work product. On the other hand, it makes you sensitive to the feelings of others too, and that is certainly a good thing in many instances. Being mindful of the sensitivities of others makes you the “diplomat in the room.” This trait also mean that you are more empathetic than others, and being able to put yourself into someone else’s shoes is a valuable skill.

Messiness

Clutter ““ some people cannot tolerate it; others embrace it. Traditionally, messiness has been connected with laziness and lack of productivity. The facts say otherwise, when you consider that Einstein, Steve Jobs, Mark Twain and Mark Zuckerberg had and have extremely cluttered work spaces. A study from the University of Minnesota, in fact, determined that people who live in clutter are often highly creative. This makes sense, because creativity is a right-brained activity. The left brained people are the linear organized individuals who can be neat-freaks. So, embrace your clutter and just tell everyone that is how your brain is wired!

Egotistical

We all know people who have this trait to an extreme. They dominate conversations and it’s all about them. They are not fund to be around. But, again, these are a minority. A healthy ego, even a very strong ego is often a good thing. It means that you have solid confidence in yourself and that you have sense of self-satisfaction, being comfortable in your own skin and feeling quite capable. So let that ego shine a bit.

Shy people are introverted individuals who prefer have difficulty engaging with strangers and with large groups of people. While others may see this as a flaw, shy people are often incredibly reflective and are the ones who come up with the great solutions. They like to work alone, accomplish a great deal and don’t need approval and praise from others. Introverts are in high demand in today’s work place because they are productive, thoughtful, and often quite creative.

Neuroticism

Are you a person who cannot seem to let things go? Do you ruminate about things that went wrong yesterday and what crises might come up tomorrow? Then you are a bit neurotic, yes. On the other hand, neurotic people often turn that “flaw” into a true positive in the workplace. They tend to stick with something and to persevere until every last detail is hammered out. These are the conscientious, detail-oriented people that are so necessary in certain career positions today.

Distractibility

People with ADD are distractible ““ they jump from one subject to the next; they cannot seem to stick with one thing until it is finished, but seem to prefer several things going on at once. And, oh look ““ there’s a gorgeous bird! Take heart if this is you. The research says you are of above-average intelligence. And you welcome so much into your brain at a time, you may be the one with the unique solution to that problem. Life is never dull for you.

“Negative Nellies” ““ that’s what these people are usually called. They always see the negative side to every situation, and how can they possibly ever be happy? There is always a “yes, but”¦” to every positive thing that occurs in their lives or the lives of those around them. Others tend to avoid them, and they often only have friends with the same trait as their own. Think about this another way, however, and you will find an upside to pessimism. When tough decision have to be made, or problem-solving has to be accomplished, the value of the pessimist shines through. This is the individual who can come up with all of the “cons,” when everyone else is only thinking of the “pros.” It is good to have this balance in the workplace.

Laziness

Lazy people are unproductive people ““ that’s common knowledge. They tend to get by with the least work possible and are often the daydreamers, always finding an excuse for their behavior. The other side of this coin, however, is that lazy people are often the inventors and innovators. They spend time trying to discover easier ways to get things done. They also are quite good at finding ways to get paid for the things they love to do.

Impulsivity

We all know people who act without thinking. The trait leads to risk-taking, to blurting out whatever comes to mind, and to making decisions quite quickly with never a backward glance. This is the individual who wakes up one day, sells everything, buys a camper and goes off to discover the “world.” He embraces new experiences and craves activity. This is the individual who suddenly quits a job because he just can’t tolerate it anymore. This behavior, however, then forces him to take action in a new direction which may be exactly what he has wanted to do. Impulsive people may make bad decisions, of course, but when they make good ones, the rewards are marvelous. Life will never be dull.

Cynicism

Cynics see conspiracies and the “evil” that lurks within everyone. Others always have ulterior motives; government officials are all a bunch of crooks. A healthy amount of cynicism is quite a good thing, however, because it keeps one from being the victim of scams and frauds which are so prevalent. Cynics tend to proceed with caution ““ a valuable quality today.
Now, don’t you feel better? You probably have one or more of these traits, and now you know how you can justify them and turn them around into pluses in your life.

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6 Negative Traits That Are Actually Good for You

Wise Bread Picks

Pessimism. Anger. Shyness. Jealousy. Boredom. Impatience.

These characteristics is usually seen as negative. In fact, you hear generalizations that aren’t flattering about all of these traits. Pessimistic people aren’t happy, anger hurts relationships, shy people hide all their lives, jealousy keeps you focused outside your own life, frequent boredom means you don’t have an active mind, and impatience indicates an uncaring attitude towards others. (See also: 5 Ways Negativity Can Help You)

While there are legitimate reasons why these traits aren’t universally desired, the truth is that each of these have positive aspects, too. So just because one or more of these words describes you doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s time to change.

Pessimism

Pessimistic people tend to live longer and to be healthier for more of those years. This is mostly tied to defensive pessimism, in which people manage their anxiety by thinking through everything bad that could happen so that they can avoid those things. Most experts think that this type of pessimism is protective because people are actually somewhat successful in identifying risks and avoiding them.

To live long and be happy in our lives, we probably need a balance of optimism and this type of pessimism. We do not, however, have to be the bouncy, always-optimistic people that our culture seems to want us to be. It’s still true that optimists have higher overall senses of well-being. When we balance that with the ability to look ahead and avoid possible negative outcomes, we’ll have the best of both possible worlds.

Anger

Anger isn’t necessarily wild, it doesn’t just happen to people who are out of control, and it doesn’t have to be a negative emotion. Anger has a lot to offer. It can provide motivation for change, it can actually help our relationships, and it can help us know ourselves better.

When we feel angry, it’s usually because something isn’t going the way we think it should. If we are angry enough and we can channel that energy, we have a lot of power to put towards changing the things that made us angry in the first place.

Anger helps relationships because hiding anger means hiding the truth. When we tell our partners, friends, and relatives the truth about how their actions affect us, and when we genuinely want to find a solution that will work for everyone, expressing our anger often leads to solid changes that make our relationships stronger.

When we look at the things that make us angry, we can learn what is important to us. This is especially true when anger surprises us. Often, that anger means that we care deeply about something that we didn’t previously know we cared about.

Shyness

There are a lot of good resources about how to overcome shyness. All of these seem to assume that it’s definitely something we’d want to weed out of our lives. However, shy people often self-identify as being good at observing and listening. Since listening well has been identified as one of the most underrated skills for being a good CEO, it seems that being shy may have more to offer than we usually think.

In addition to being important to our survival, being observant may be a skill we’re losing. Since it’s still important to note our surroundings and understand the world we live in, maybe we should value shy people more than we do.

Jealousy

It’s easy to feel embarrassed and ashamed of our jealousy, but the truth is that jealousy shows us what we want and helps us evaluate our lives so that we can live them in a way that makes us happy. When we feel jealous, it’s because someone else has what we want.

However, it’s also true that we often don’t want exactly what the other person has. For instance, it’s common to feel jealous of a friend starting a new job. Upon reflection, though, most people find that they don’t want the exact same job their friend got. Instead, they want a new job themselves, or they want to start something new in general, or maybe they want a new challenge in life.

It’s important to dig below jealousy to find out if it’s hiding other desires or emotions. This helps us identify what we really want out of life, so we can determine the best way to chase it down.

Boredom

It’s easy to think that you are a boring person if you find yourself bored a lot. However, experiencing boredom often motivates us to find or make meaning in our lives. Being bored indicates that we aren’t doing something that is important to us. Because boredom is uncomfortable, it moves us toward doing things that actually do offer meaning. It helps us find the things that are important to us and participate in them enthusiastically.

Boredom also stimulates creativity. When we don’t like the status quo or find the traditional way of doing things tedious, we’re more likely to come up with a new “normal” or find a new way of doing things. But we often have to get bored to get this done.

Impatience

When we’re impatient, it’s easy to get annoyed and start acting unkindly to anyone who might be making us impatient. However, impatience also shows us that we don’t care about what we’re doing, or aren’t engaged for some reason.

Most of us find that we aren’t impatient when we’re doing something we love, and that we have ultimate patience, even for tedious or mundane tasks, when we care about the greater process at hand. If this is true for you, then you can use your impatience as a barometer for your levels of caring and engagement. Experiencing a lot of impatience means it’s time to reevaluate what you’re doing or why you’re doing it, to decide if it’s time for a change.

Do you have any of these characteristics? Have you experienced them as positive or negative?

Negative Personality Adjectives

List of 100 common personality adjectives that describe people negatively

Most people would consider the character traits described by the personality adjectives below to be “bad” or negative. This is generally true, but remember that there can be exceptions. For example, for a policeman “aggressive” might be a negative trait while for a boxer it might really belong to the positive personality adjectives.

aggressive
aloof
arrogant

belligerent
big-headed
bitchy
boastful
bone-idle
boring
bossy

callous
cantankerous
careless
changeable
clinging
compulsive
conservative
cowardly
cruel
cunning
cynical

deceitful
detached
dishonest
dogmatic
domineering

finicky
flirtatious
foolish
foolhardy
fussy

greedy
grumpy
gullible

harsh

impatient
impolite
impulsive
inconsiderate
inconsistent
indecisive
indiscreet
inflexible
interfering
intolerant
irresponsible

jealous

lazy

Machiavellian
materialistic
mean
miserly
moody

narrow-minded
nasty
naughty
nervous

obsessive
obstinate
overcritical
overemotional

parsimonious
patronizing
perverse
pessimistic
pompous
possessive
pusillanimous

quarrelsome
quick-tempered

resentful
rude
ruthless

sarcastic
secretive
selfish
self-centred
self-indulgent
silly
sneaky
stingy
stubborn
stupid
superficial

tactless
timid
touchy
thoughtless
truculent

unkind
unpredictable
unreliable
untidy
untrustworthy

vague
vain
vengeful
vulgar

weak-willed

Examples of Personality Traits

By popping open your journal and recording the answers to these questions, you can use the information to discover your true personality. Let’s dive a little bit deeper.

Examples of Positive Personality Traits

Some, if not most, of your personality traits are likely to be positive. For example:

  • Being honest and taking responsibility for your actions are admirable qualities.
  • Adaptability and compatibility are great traits that can help you get along with others.
  • Drive and determination will help you keep going no matter what.
  • Compassion and understanding mean you relate well to others.
  • Patience is a virtue and also a good personality trait.
  • Courage will help you do what’s right in tough situations.
  • Loyalty is a good quality to possess, making others trust you.

Here is a list of positive adjectives that can help you describe personality traits:

Adventurous Helpful
Affable Humble
Capable Imaginative
Charming Impartial
Confident Independent
Conscientious Keen
Cultured Meticulous
Dependable Observant
Discreet Optimistic
Dutiful Persistent
Encouraging Precise
Exuberant Reliable
Fair Sociable
Fearless Trusting
Gregarious Valiant

Examples of Negative Personality Traits

What would life be without balance? Whether we like to admit it or not, some of our personality traits are also likely to be negative:

  • A propensity for lying, in order to avoid responsibility for our actions, is a deplorable quality.
  • Being rigid and selfish, unyielding to the needs of others are not endearing qualities.
  • Being full of laziness and excuses is sure to drive others away, too.
  • An inability to empathize with others will also alienate us from others.
  • Being quick to anger will turn people away.
  • Being disloyal, quick to talk about others behind their backs or, worse, stab them in the back for personal gain also falls high on the scale of negative personality traits.

Here is a list of negative adjectives that may describe aspects of personalities from time to time:

Arrogant Quarrelsome
Boorish Rude
Bossy Sarcastic
Conceited Self-centered
Cowardly Slovenly
Dishonest Sneaky
Finicky Stingy
Impulsive Sullen
Lazy Surly
Malicious Thoughtless
Obnoxious Unfriendly
Picky Unruly
Pompous Vulgar

Determining Personality Types

There are many different personality types. According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, there are sixteen different types. It’s unlikely that a person would fit into a single mold, but it is interesting to see which “mold” we tend toward.

Your personality type can be determined by many factors. One way to discover your personality type is to approach it scientifically. Test yourself online or ask a psychologist or therapist to analyze you.

In psychology, there are five factors that determine different personality traits. The big five factors are:

  1. Openness: appreciation for a variety of experiences.
  2. Conscientiousness: planning ahead rather than being spontaneous.
  3. Extraversion: being sociable, energetic and talkative.
  4. Agreeableness: being kind, sympathetic and happy to help.
  5. Neuroticism: inclined to worry or be vulnerable or temperamental.

Your personality test will assess how much of each of the big five factors you possess. This will help you gain more insight into your internal experience so you can make sense of your own thoughts and behaviors.

How Do I Create My Personality?

Your personality is set by no one but you. It encompasses the actions you take and the decisions you make. Either you are a patient person or not, a responsible person or not. Try asking yourself some searching questions to discover just what kind of person you are, such as: “if you found an animal hurt and alone, what would you do?” or “if you won the lottery how would you spend your time and money?”.

You may not be able to change your personality type, but you can change aspects of your personality by taking determined, active steps to become a more balanced person. Taking up a hobby is a great way to become a well-rounded individual. Sports can help you learn teamwork, arts and crafts can make you more patient, volunteering can help you become more caring. Even just reading a book can expand your horizons and push you to be better.

How Can My Personality Affect Others?

Being positive and upbeat can influence everyone around you, and so can negativity. For example, a friendly smile to a stranger can brighten up their day, just as a glare can cause their mood to drop. Bear in mind the famous Bible quote from Jesus of Nazareth, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you”.

While you may not be able to help it if you are having a bad day, or if you don’t like doing a particular task, changing your attitude changes everything. Complaining and sulking will only make time drag when doing an unpleasant job. Instead, try to shift your thoughts and redirect your mind. Being a more pleasant person helps everyone.

You’ve got an interview at an awesome company, and you’re eagerly waiting to tell them why you’re so excited about working with them. During the interview, you answer all of the questions from the hiring manager with ease.

“What do you consider your biggest negative quality?”

What? Negative qualities? How do I say that I’m not good at something without looking bad? I should’ve prepared for this better, you think, as your heart starts to race.

If you don’t prepare a good answer to this question, you may very well encounter this scenario.While there’s no universal formula to successfully answering this question, there are definitely things you can do to increase your chances of impressing the recruiter/hiring manager — and eventually, getting that desired job.

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Here’s what you can do to make answering this question a lot easier for you.

Mistakes to Avoid

Before we list good negative qualities, it’s worth learning about the mistakes that people tend to make while answering this question.

Refusing to Answer

Some people choose not to answer this question or say that they can’t think of a single weakness applicable to the job. To a hiring manager, this answer means that the candidate came unprepared and is afraid of saying the wrong thing — or even worse, hiding something.

Masking a Positive as a Negative

Some people answer this question in a way that tries to make them look good. For example, they may say “I care too much for my work, so working overtime is okay for me” or “I tend to work especially hard at times, and that’s what my previous employers liked about me.”

Remember: recruiters are wise to these tricks, and it gets old.

“A hiring manager has heard hundreds of people saying the same things to them and trying the same dance,” says Jim Cousins, an HR expert from EssaySupply. “It’s an old trick that no one buys anymore, so avoid it.”

Revealing a Critical Weakness

Some job seekers confess weaknesses that can potentially hurt their chances of succeeding in the role. For example, if somebody in a sales role says they’re not much of a people person, the hiring manager may question their ability to adequately perform their daily tasks. While being honest is great, being too honest in this case will hurt your chances of getting the job.

Must-Dos

Now, let’s go over some things you should do when talking about your negative qualities in a job interview.

Keep in Mind What the Company Needs

Remember: Your potential employer uses this seemingly innocent question to suss out your ability to perform your responsibilities. To determine which negative qualities or professional weaknesses you should say, research the position you want to get and determine which qualities would not have a significant impact.

Explain How You Want to Improve Yourself

You should have an improvement plan for each quality you identify as negative during the interview. This shows your commitment to eliminate the impact of that quality on your work and improve yourself as a professional.

Good Negative Qualities to Say in an Interview

Time Management

If time management is your weakness, then you can say that you’re controlling it by using reminders, alarms and calendars on digital devices you have.

Getting Stressed Around Deadlines

While it’s reasonable to worry a bit because of an approaching deadline, getting too worked up about them can be seen as a negative. You can say that you’re battling this issue by setting reasonable deadlines instead of ambitious ones like you used to.

Being Too Critical of Yourself

Maybe you’ve been too critical of yourself, especially in the beginning of your professional career — generating too much negativity can definitely be seen as a weakness. But today, you choose to actively pause and celebrate your accomplishments, which helps with self-esteem.

Shyness

While there’s nothing wrong with shyness in itself, the modern workplace often requires you to interact with many people, so employers may consider it a weakness. If shyness is indeed your negative quality, you can say that you’re managing it by taking an improv or professional speaking class that requires you to talk a lot.

Procrastination

Oh, sweet procrastination. So many people have this problem — maybe you do, too — and it is definitely not a good one for work. If you say that procrastination is your negative quality, assuage the hiring manager’s worries by saying that you’re managing it by creating daily schedules to hold yourself accountable.

Getting asked what your weaknesses are is never easy, but with a little research and practice, you’ll be prepared. Good luck!

Silvia Giltner is an HR manager, career coach and freelance writer. Her passion is to help people make career changes and get jobs they truly love by showing them how to take full control over their careers. She is also an active guest contributor who has been featured on Forbes, Next Avenue, TLNT, OnlineWritersRating and more.

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How to turn negative qualities into positives during an interview

It’s the interview question everyone dreads: What are your weaknesses? It’s a tough one to answer well. You don’t want to point out flaws that could prevent you from getting the job, but you don’t want to give a generic response. You also can’t avoid answering the question altogether, as much as you’d like to.

Instead, you should prepare ahead of time so you can answer this question well. With the right response, you can reframe your negatives into positives and show that you’re willing to improve yourself in order to succeed. What employer wouldn’t want a team member like that? Now, that’s an easy question to answer.

Here some common weakness cited in interviews — and how to reframe them in the most favorable light possible.

Time management

Many professionals struggle with time management. If you find it challenging to complete your to-do list within the eight-hour workday, you can tell your potential employer this. Just make sure you follow that up by sharing the ways in which you’re working to improve things.

Of course, this response is dependent upon the fact that you’re taking those positive strides. There are plenty of methods to overcome your poor time-management skills. Pinpointing the most critical tasks of the day and tackling those first or keeping your workspace organized to avoid delays are two ways to do it. Implement a tactic and let your potential employer know — they’ll be impressed by your efforts to change.

Another con to point to — as long as your job doesn’t depend on your charisma — your inherent shyness. It’s not your fault you’re timid, since everyone’s personalities are programmed differently. However, in your line of work, it might be a flaw to be a bit shy, especially if your colleagues are all outspoken and confident.

It’s easy to turn this one into a positive, though. Simply tell your interviewer that you’ve been taking strides to boost your self-esteem, which has made you more confident to speak up and step out of your shell. You can make friends as an introvert, of course, so long as you take things slow and bond with one person at a time. Learning how to do that will make you less shy and therefore more prepared for the job ahead.

Perfectionism

Another workplace weakness you might experience is the fact that you’re never happy with the work you finish. Instead, you’re incredibly critical of yourself and strive for perfection, although you never feel like you reach it. This is a routine answer to the question, and some interviewees might think they’re good to stop with that answer. However, “I’m a perfectionist” doesn’t entirely cut it.

Avoid the cliché by pointing to a specific obstacle that stems from your perfectionism rather than using it as a way to show off your attention to detail.

Let the interviewer know you’re working on accepting the accomplishments and accolades you receive. Perfectionism might affect your self-esteem now, but you should note that you’re improving it so you can be satisfied when you work hard on something and turn it in. You’re good at what you do, after all, so you should be confident in it.

Procrastination

Procrastination varies slightly from time management. While the latter has to do with ordering your tasks so you complete what’s important first, the former will have you putting off all your to-dos because you’re not mentally prepared to begin. Although this seems like an insurmountable negative, there are ways to frame your response that will put you in a positive light.

Note that your greatest weakness is to procrastinate before springing into the explanation of how you’re working to fix that. One way to break the habit is to divide a goal into actionable tasks so the entire project doesn’t seem so daunting. Find the tools you need to overcome procrastination before the interview and point to how much they’re helping you when this question rolls around.

Stress

It’s natural to feel stress in the workplace. However, the feeling might be so strong within you that it’s a weakness. This is especially true if your job is deadline-focused — date-related stress is something that can affect the work you do, as well as the way you interact with your coworkers. Don’t let stress hold you back from attaining your goals. Instead, find ways for it to make you a better worker.

You can tell your boss how much stress you have experienced in the past and how you’ve come up with ways to battle the feeling. Do you exercise now? Do you give yourself breaks in your workday? Have you improved your time-management skills or lowered your perfectionist bar so you can easily turn things in? These are important to note, because they show that you stress because you care — but you also realize you’re at your best when you’re cool, calm and collected.

Answer the question well

In reframing these negatives as positives, you’re sure to answer this tough interview question well. You’ll avoid common mistakes, too — some people try to spin positive traits as negative ones, while others refuse to answer or don’t have a response at the ready. Coming into your interview with a thoughtful, honest and smart answer will only improve your standing — and boost the chance that you’ll be offered the job.

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Examples of Attributes

There is a difference between attributes and traits, but it is slight and some characteristics could be considered either an attribute or a trait. Let’s consider the difference between the two, and throw in skills too, before we take a look at some examples of attributes.

Difference Between Attributes, Skills, and Traits

We know an attribute is a quality or characteristic of a person, place, or thing. It’s an identifying label that alludes to something inherent about them, like charm or cruelty.

A skill, on the other hand, is generally something that is taught. A person will undergo training to learn or improve a particular skill. These might include calligraphy, computer coding, or car repair.

Meanwhile, a trait is an ingrained characteristic or habit that is difficult to learn or unlearn, like shyness or confidence.

To explore the topic of traits more, take a look at some character trait examples.

Positive Attributes

As you look at people around you or develop a character study for your latest short story or novel, how would you label them? What are their attributes? Will these labels denote positive qualities or characteristics? If so, try one of these attributes on for size:

Achiever

Exciting

Meditative

Pleasant

Sensible

Adaptable

Flexible

Mediator

Positive

Sensitive

Ambitious

Focused

Modest

Practical

Sincere

Balanced

Forgiving

Organized

Proactive

Skilled

Cheerful

Generous

Original

Productive

Solid

Consistent

Genuine

Outgoing

Professional

Sporty

Cooperative

Helpful

Particular

Quality

Thoughtful

Courageous

Insightful

Patient

Quick

Trustworthy

Curious

Interesting

Perceptive

Racy

Understanding

Devoted

Inventive

Personable

Responsible

Warm

Negative Attributes

Every story needs conflict or a villain. Although one of these attributes may not be their identifying characteristic, or trait, it might be one of the markers you’ll use to describe them. Let’s take a look:

Arrogant

Cynical

Inflexible

Pessimistic

Thoughtless

Belligerent

Deceitful

Intolerant

Pompous

Truculent

Boastful

Detached

Irresponsible

Possessive

Unkind

Boring

Dishonest

Jealous

Quarrelsome

Unpredictable

Bossy

Domineering

Lazy

Resentful

Unreliable

Callous

Foolish

Mean

Rude

Untrustworthy

Careless

Greedy

Moody

Sarcastic

Vague

Compulsive

Gullible

Nasty

Selfish

Vain

Cowardly

Impolite

Nervous

Stupid

Vengeful

Cruel

Inconsiderate

Patronizing

Tactless

Vulgar

Professional Attributes

Finally, some attributes aren’t quite so personal. Especially in the workplace, certain attributes are simply matter-of-fact. Maybe one of the characters in your book will meet his enterprising lawyer or efficient book editor. If so, you might want to consider honing in on one of these attributes:

Accountable

Dependable

Focused

Motivated

Respectful

Adaptable

Determined

Forgiving

Objective

Scheduled

Authentic

Diligent

Generous

Organized

Scrupulous

Broadminded

Disciplined

Hardworking

Passionate

Selfless

Caring

Effective

Humble

Patient

Sincere

Collaborative

Efficient

Innovative

Perseverant

Studious

Consistent

Empathetic

Kind

Planner

Thinker

Courteous

Engaging

Listens well

Precise

Transparent

Credible

Enthusiastic

Loyal

Proactive

Trustworthy

Decisive

Evolving

Methodical

Realistic

Truthful

We would all benefit from being more aware of our characteristics and personality traits. That’s because they are significant predictors of our behaviors and attitudes.

The world we live in is different from what it was ten, five, or even one year ago. Thanks to social media, easy-to-use communication tools, and globalization, the pool of possibilities and available information are constantly expanding.

Without a clear idea of one’s own preferences, making the right choice can be extremely difficult and confusing. Everyone’s personality is unique, and knowing what makes us, us can lead to more life satisfaction, better life choices, and overall success in both personal and professional spheres.

Character and Personality Traits Defined

While character and personality are both used to describe someone’s behaviors, the two examine different aspects of that individual. One’s personality is more visible, while one’s character is revealed over time, through varying situations.

In more concrete terms:

“Personality is easy to read, and we’re all experts at it. We judge people funny, extroverted, energetic, optimistic, confident—as well as overly serious, lazy, negative, and shy—if not upon first meeting them, then shortly thereafter. And though we may need more than one interaction to confirm the presence of these sorts of traits, by the time we decide they are, in fact, present, we’ve usually amassed enough data to justify our conclusions.

“Character, on the other hand, takes far longer to puzzle out. It includes traits that reveal themselves only in specific—and often uncommon—circumstances, traits like honesty, virtue, and kindliness” (Lickerman, 2011).

While personality is easier to spot, it’s largely static and slow to evolve. Character, on the other hand, takes longer to discern but is easier to change. That’s because character is shaped by beliefs, and with enough effort and motivation, changing one’s perspective and view of the world can lead to a shift in one’s character.

The malleability of character makes sense when you look at human evolution. In order for our ancestors to survive, they had to adapt to new environments and change with the times—and this remains true in the modern era.

If an individual deems a change in his or her surroundings to be significant, then his or her beliefs will transform to accommodate the change.

For instance, an individual who might have a shy personality can learn to switch his attitude toward public speaking when stepping into the role of a teacher. The new social and external demands lead to an internal shift that changes his demeanor.

In this way, even if an individual’s inborn preference is to shy away from the public, the beliefs and values that shape his behavior can evolve to reflect the values of his immediate groups and communities. Such awareness and adaptability help with survival (Kurtus, 2011).

The bottom line is, despite the significance of our inborn personality traits, we can overcome them as required by personal or cultural demands.

TED Talk: Who Are You, Really? The Puzzle of Personality by Brian Little

In this talk, personality expert Brian Little explains the phenomenon of overcoming one’s inborn traits and explores how our character is modified by the core projects we work on.

Type and Trait Theory: The MBTI, OCEAN, and PEN Models

Tools for identifying personality traits have never been more plentiful. “In the U.S. alone, there are about 2,500 personality tests” to choose from (Ash, 2012). Yet, quantity does not imply quality.

Due to immense variations in personality, it is difficult to divide people neatly into different classifications. Instead, assessing individuals by the most common personality traits can empower us to deduce a person’s behavior by looking at the average of their choices (Pappas, 2017).

Below is a list of the most widely used personality tools that can identify your personality traits. Some pros and cons for each one are also highlighted.

Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

Perhaps the most popular, but not necessarily the most accurate, personality tool is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). In fact, of the top Fortune 100 companies, 89 utilize the MBTI when making hiring and teaming decisions.

The MBTI is so widely used that this assessment is offered in 24 different languages. It’s even used by a number of political and military agencies.

The MBTI was created during World War II with the intention of helping women transition into the workforce. Two housewives named Isabel Briggs Myers and Katharine Cook Briggs, inspired by the work of Carl Jung, thought that if women had a better understanding of themselves, they’d be able to join a work environment that is best suited to their personalities (Burnett, 2013).

The questionnaire they created assesses individuals based on four pairs of psychological preferences:

1. Extroversion Versus Introversion

This paradigm examines the attitudes of individuals. Those defined as extroverts are believed to draw energy from interactions with others. Without external stimuli, their energy can start to wane.

Introverts, on the other hand, are said to expend energy through interactions with others. Therefore, to recharge their batteries and regain centeredness, they seek quiet alone time to reflect on and understand their interactions. After gaining a new understanding of the situations, they proceed forward.

2. Sensing Versus Intuition

This aspect focuses on how individuals gather information from their surroundings. Those who prefer the sensing method are said to rely more on clues that can be gathered by the five senses, which means their stimuli need to be present and concrete in order for them to make sense.

If someone relies on the guidance of their intuition for decisionmaking, they prefer deducing outcomes by identifying overall patterns and connecting disparate information by using theories and other available information.

3. Thinking Versus Feeling

When it comes to decisionmaking, those who identify as thinkers tend to make conclusions based on rational and detached points of view. This means they prefer reasoning that is consistent and can be applied to a specific set of rules.

Feelers, meanwhile, prefer to make decisions based on situational factors. Feelers weigh each situation against another, aiming to create a sense of harmony and consensus. This is different from thinkers, who are more concerned with the truth, give more direct feedback, and avoid inconsistencies.

4. Judging Versus Perceiving

This is a trait not included in Jung’s original theory, and it explains the ways an individual interacts with the external world. According to the MBTI, an individual can be identified either as a judger (someone who prefers to think or feel) or a perceiver (someone who prefers to use his or her senses or intuition).

Find Your MBTI Type

Curious to see your MBTI personality profile? We’ve got you covered.

Thanks to widespread interest, there are plenty of versions of the test available. The official MBTI test will set you back $49.95 if you take it online, but are plenty of unofficial quizzes that are either free or less expensive (but might not be as thorough).

Here are some of the quizzes to choose from:

  1. Jung Personality Test;
  2. Jung Typology Test;
  3. 16 Personalities;
  4. Type Finder.

Finally, we’ll look into the benefits and downsides of the MBTI.

Pros:

There is definitely strength in numbers, and the MBTI has popularity on its side: Most people have a passing familiarity with it, and many, many organizations and individuals have used it for professional and personal reasons.

With so much influence, this tool is invaluable for sparking conversations about personality, which can be used to resolve issues within teams and other working groups. Most people are curious to learn more about themselves, and this tool can give them some of the talking points with which they can build meaningful and constructive conversations. (Essig, 2014)

Cons:

The assessment is not without flaws. Here are the biggest arguments against MBTI:

1. Varying results

The biggest criticism of this tool is the inconsistency of the results. “Several studies show that even when the test-retest interval is short (e.g., 5 weeks), as many as 50 of the people will be classified into a different type” (Pittenger, 2017).

2. Missing reactivity measures

A key trait that is not measured by the questionnaire is “emotional stability versus reactivity—the tendency to stay calm and collected under stress or pressure”(Grant, 2016). This, it turns out, is “one of the most important predictors of individual and group patterns of thought, feeling, and action, so it’s an unfortunate oversight” (Grant, 2016), meaning that leaving it out could be seen as a major oversight.

3. All-or-None Categories

The results pigeonhole individuals into one of the sixteen categories, but few things in life are so black and white. In certain situations, individuals can become more extroverted than introverted. They might tend to judge more and use their thinking skills less depending on the situation, especially in scenarios when debating or passionately discussing important topics.

Some MBTI quizzes show the results as scales or percentages (including the official MBTI assessment), but still, “if the MBTI also measured height, you would be classified as either tall or short, even though the majority of people are within a band of medium height” (Krznaric, 2013).

In fact, some even go as far as to say that Jung himself might not have been pleased with this tool.

Journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell expressed as much in a New Yorker article:

“Jung didn’t believe that types were easily identifiable, and he didn’t believe that people could be permanently slotted into one category or another. ‘Every individual is an exception to the rule,’ he wrote; to ‘stick labels on people at first sight,’ in his view, was ‘nothing but a childish parlor game’” (Baer, 2014).

The Big Five, or OCEAN

There’s another, more comprehensive, personality test available—the Big Five.

This assessment does not divide people into personality profiles but rather analyzes an individual based on the most common traits found within the global community. The traits are easy to remember, as they spell out the acronym OCEAN.

OCEAN stands for:

  1. Openness: This describes an individual’s love for novelty experiences. Those with high scores tend to be more creative. Individuals with lower scores tend to be more conservative and prefer routines;
  2. Conscientiousness: This shows someone’s tendency for organization. Those with high scores are seen as motivated, disciplined and trustworthy. Lower scores indicate someone less responsible, and more likely to get distracted;
  3. Extroversion: This factor indicates how cheerful and communicative a person can be. If someone scores highly in extroversion, they tend to be social and likely to accomplish their goals. Low scores indicate someone who is introverted and more submissive to authority;
  4. Agreeableness: This trait describes how someone interacts with those around them. High scores indicate that someone is warm and friendly. Those who tend to be more egocentric and suspicious (or even shy) tend to score lower;
  5. Neuroticism: Emotional stability can reveal a lot about the likelihood of someone developing moodiness and anxiety. High scores on neuroticism indicate someone who is less-assured, and low scores describe a person who is calm and confident (Westerhoff, 2008).

These categories serve as an umbrella that influences other personality areas, such as:

Those wishing to know their OCEAN results can take any of the following quizzes:

  1. The Big Five Personality Test;
  2. (Another) Big Five Personality Test;
  3. Personality Test at 123test.com;
  4. Ten Item Personality Measure (available in different languages).

Again, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of the OCEAN model.

Unlike the MBTI, which tries to categorize types of personality, the Big Five understands that individuals possess certain traits, which need to be measured on a continuum. It is rare to be only on one or the other side of the spectrum. For instance, saying that extroverts absorb energy when interacting with others and that introverts expend energy when interacting with the outside world is false, as both get energy from their interpersonal relations (Grant, 2015).

“The Big Five structure captures, at a broad level of abstraction, the commonalities among most of the existing systems of personality description, and provides an integrative descriptive model for personality research” (John & Srivastava, 1999).

Thanks to its results that provide scales of different traits rather than profiling the individual, this personality assessment tool can provide a degree of flexibility and versatility, which has enabled researchers to use the assessment to examine the influence of these traits on different areas of life, like mental health, finances, and relationships.

And for the most part, these traits have been shown to be relatively stable. Specifically, in a nine-year study, there was “moderate to high , ranging from 0.73 to 0.97 in men and from 0.65 to 0.95 in women. The highest gender-equal stability was found for openness to experience and the lowest for conscientiousness” (Rantanen, Metsapelto, Feldt, Pulkkinen, & Kokko, 2007).

More specifically, men showed more stability in traits like neuroticism and extroversion, while women showed more stability in traits like openness to experience, agreeableness, and conscientiousness.

Despite its stability and usefulness, the tool does have its flaws.

Here are a few:

1. Too Big to Fail

As mentioned earlier, the beauty of this tool is its big-picture view of personality traits, but it’s also a limitation. A good analogy to explain this is the categorization of living organisms into plants or animals. While it’s helpful for certain distinctions, it is not helpful for “value predicting specific behaviors of a particular individual” (John, Naumann, & Soto, 2008).

2. Not-so-Universal

While there has been evidence-based research to support the validity of the tool in more than 50 countries, flaws in translation and applicability to non-English-speaking cultures can be found. This results in skewed scores, as was demonstrated by research conducted with a small South American tribe (Dingfelder, 2013).

The PEN Model

Developed by Hans and Sybil Eysenck in 1975, this model looks at the biological factors that trigger or influence personality. The three focal traits examined by this model are psychoticism, extroversion, and neuroticism (Waude, 2017).

The origins of this model date back to the 1960s, but it didn’t originally measure psychoticism (which relates to measures of compassion, morality, as well as creativity). The older model used the Eysenck Personality Inventory to gather and analyze results.

With the addition of psychoticism, the questions were updated and the tool for gathering these results was renamed the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (Psychology Wizard, 2017).

Each of the trait categories explores the following human behaviors:

  1. Psychoticism: People who score high in this measure often participate in hostile, reckless, inconsiderate, nonconforming, tough-minded and impulsive behaviors. Higher levels of testosterone are associated with higher scores in this area (SAPA Project Test, 1999);
  2. Extroversion: Individuals with a high level of extroversion are more outgoing and talkative, and they desire external stimuli. Higher stimulation usually occurs as a result of increased cortical arousal and can be measured through skin conductance, brains waves or sweating.
  3. Neuroticism: Those with a high level of neuroticism are more prone to depression and anxiety. The trait is activated by the sympathetic nervous system, which is also responsible for the fight-or-flight response. This can be measured through heart rate, blood pressure, cold hands, sweating, and muscular tension.

Based on these measures, there are four possible quadrants that individuals can fall into:

  1. Stable extroverts: recognized by their talkative, easygoing, lively, and carefree natures and their leadership qualities;
  2. Unstable extroverts: seen as touchy, restless, impulsive and irresponsible;
  3. Stable introverts: recognized by their calm, reliable, peaceful, thoughtful, and passive traits
  4. Unstable introverts: seen as reserved, pessimistic, rigid, anxious and moody.

Those interested in taking the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire can do so here.

Once more, we’ll explore the pros and cons of this personality model.

The model looks at both descriptive and causal effects. It examines three specific dimensions, making it easy to understand. And it has demonstrated test-retest reliability.

In fact, when specifically examining the pattern of moods, this assessment is able to predict certain outcomes. For instance, the questionnaire can predict significant associations with anxiety, according to a 2012 study.

“Focusing on the item of ‘Does your mood often go up and down?’ showed a statistically significant association with melancholia and anxiety for patients with a positive score on this item” (Bech, Lunde, & Moller, 2012).

Through twin studies, researchers have also found that some of the personality traits measured with the PEN model “exhibit significant genetic variance” (Heath, Jardine, Eaves & Martin, 1988). For traits related to extroversion, researchers “found both additive gene action and dominance,” while “neuroticism items appeared to show purely additive genetic inheritance” (Heath, Jardine, Eaves & Martin, 1988).

Some factors, though, were shown to be influenced by the subjects’ environments, including the psychoticism scale, though for psychoticism the “environmental effects appeared to be largely restricted to males.” (Heath, Jardine, Eaves & Martin, 1988).

Like most personality trait assessments, the PEN model is unable to predict future behaviors of individuals, even using the model allows for a better understanding of individuals’ personalities.

And there are certain limits to the model. In a study of both imprisoned and non-imprisoned people, researchers found that the samples often studied in research using the PEN model could create misleading results.

While past studies had shown high rates of extroversion, neuroticism, and psychoticism in criminals, researchers Rebolla, Herrera, and Collom that this correlation might be linked as much to a person’s environment as inherited traits. They argue that extroverts “are less prone to conditioning. And this tendency increases with high scores” (Rebollo, Herrera, & Colom, 2002).

The researchers argue that in order to build a conscience, conditioning is required (something that neurotic and extroverted people resist), which may lead to greater degrees of antisocial personalities among people who are highly extroverted and neurotic but don’t have social support while growing up (Rebollo, Herrera, & Colom, 2002).

The findings demonstrate that, since personality traits are influenced by heredity, it is mainly through character and conditioning that a change can be developed in an individual. For instance, those who are more prone to fear and shyness can be taught coping techniques that are more congruent with social norms, allowing for better communication and integration to society.

Examples of Positive and Negative Characteristics

Having explored the differences between personality and character, we can dive deeper and examine the broader characteristics associated with positive and negative traits.

The collective research on personality has helped clarify the behaviors that are more conducive to well-being, with a majority of those behaviors helping to cultivate resilience toward external stimuli.

Another way to interpret this is with the concept of mental strength. This ability is acquired by focusing on things under personal command, which reinforces the internal locus of control.

The behaviors that lead to mental strength are identified below (Morin, 2013):

  • Mentally strong people don’t feel sorry for themselves, instead, they take responsibility for their own life;
  • They don’t give away their power to others and thus maintain control over their emotions.;
  • Individuals with mental toughness embrace change and are open to being flexible;
  • Control is placed on things under the person’s influence, such as their attitude;
  • Pleasing everyone is not a priority. While being kind and fair is important, making everyone happy is not;
  • There is a motivation for making calculated risks;
  • Mentally strong people focus on the present and make plans for the future;
  • Mentally strong people try to make better decisions in the future and try not to repeat previous missteps.
  • They demonstrate an ability to appreciate and celebrate the success of other people;
  • They don’t give up after a failure, instead, they keep trying until they get it right;
  • Mentally strong people tolerate being alone and staying in silence;
  • They don’t feel that the world owes them something, instead, they create opportunities for themselves by utilizing their own talents and merits;
  • Real change takes time, and mentally strong individuals understand this, so they’re patient.

These behaviors are positively supported by characteristics such as:

  • Tenacity: not giving up when things get tough, or when problems arise;
  • Confidence: belief in personal ability to find solutions to challenges;
  • Optimism: the perception that the odds are in one’s favor;
  • Adaptability: openness to new inputs and ideas;
  • Self-Awareness: the ability to shift perspective;
  • Reliability: following through with promises and goals;
  • Responsibility: owning up to personal mistakes and errors;
  • Well-being: making personal mental and physical health a priority.

These and other characteristics help contribute to strong mental health (Half, 2016).

This supports the idea that openness, agreeableness, and conscientiousness provide the foundation on which changes and challenges are welcomed, not shunned. In turn, this helps open doors to new possibilities and opportunities.

Specifically,

“those whose personality tendencies tend toward empathy, cooperation, trust, and modesty (Costa & Widiger, 2002) are found to be more intrinsically motivated and find enjoyment through efforts they exert in the completion of tasks or in problem-solving. Possessing a proclivity toward mastery-approach orientation, these individuals will not shy away from challenging situations, and their desire to tackle challenges is greater than their fear of appearing unknowledgeable in front of others. In other words, they approach challenges with the full intent of mastering them” (Watson, 2012).

The opposite of open-minded, calm, conscientious, and agreeable characteristics are those defined by judgment, neuroticism, and an external locus of control. Some behaviors that fall into this category are:

  1. Inability to accept setbacks;
  2. Lack of clarity and decisionmaking;
  3. Low capacity for critical thinking;
  4. Failing to build strong interpersonal relations;
  5. Always staying in the comfort zone;
  6. Helplessness and absence of persistence;
  7. Tendency to lean towards pessimism;
  8. Weak imagination and an inability to visualize desired outcomes. (Cardone, 2011).

Individuals with high scores in neuroticism often display narcissism, have inflated egos, and are emotionally distant, angry, hostile, and inflexible. These people tend to display the behaviors above.

Yet one key preventer of such negative traits, according to some studies, is self-control. “The more conscientious or prudent people are–no matter their other characteristics–the less likely they’ll be drawn toward harmful or illegal activities” (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2016).

Therefore, by increasing one’s self-awareness, individuals can spot their shortcomings and adopt habits to help balance out their personality traits. In turn, this helps them thrive.

Character Traits Worksheets For Kids and Adults (PDFs)

Unlike characteristics, a character trait describes one’s beliefs about and attitudes toward life, family, work, and community. Cultivating positive character traits can lead to greater success.

This is explained well by this excerpt from an article differentiating between character and personality:

“There is a direct link between positive character traits and a happy and successful life. Negative character traits that have been ‘strongly and long’ ingrained usually do cause strife at some point. But a focus on positive change can and does work” (Bell, 2010).

Understanding one’s character traits and cultivating a strong desire and motivation for change can lead to better outcomes.

Here are some worksheets that can help get you and the people in your life started on this process.

For Kids:

There are plenty of tools for explaining character traits to kids. Here are some options for students ranging from first-graders to eighth-graders.

Fill in the Blank Worksheet

Perfect for kids in grades two through five, this worksheet can be utilized during lessons on English, vocabulary, and writing.

Character Trait Analysis and Development

Here are 12 different worksheets designed for students in first through eighth grade. The worksheets introduce the idea of character traits and help students analyze and develop their character traits.

Lesson Plan on Character Traits

Those who teach third grade can utilize this entire lesson plan (which includes worksheets) to introduce character traits to the young students.

For Adults:

While it’s especially helpful to learn about character traits at a young age, adults can benefit from becoming more familiar with their positive and negative character traits.

Positive Traits Worksheet

At times, adults can be unable to recognize good qualities in themselves, which can prevent them from developing self-compassion and self-esteem. This worksheet describes 58 positive traits. You can the positive traits that describe yourself, which strengthens your belief in yourself and can lead to transformative conversations.

Visual of Character Traits

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. Clients who are unable to verbalize their feelings or thoughts can use these handy infographics that display the opposite pairs of various character traits.

Positive and Negative Traits Quiz

Taking a test can sometimes be very enlightening. Those wishing to fill out a questionnaire rather than identify their own positive and negative character traits can respond to these 25 questions and determine their individual traits.

The Character Traits Anchor Chart and Other Graphic Organizers

Introducing the concept of character to a younger audience can be difficult. But, utilizing easy-to-understand vocabulary and an interactive, visual, and fun process can assist in bringing the message home.

Teachers wishing to use the process in the classroom can take advantage of these freely available resources:

Character Traits Anchor Chart

Explaining the difference between internal and external character traits to children can be tough. By utilizing an “outside” and “inside” chart, students can begin to categorize their physical and personal traits. This technique can also be utilized to identify the differences between emotions (how a character feels) and traits (describes the personality).

Building Character in the Classroom

A rowdy classroom often leads to many impatient and distracted kids. In addition, students, especially those who live in lower-income areas, can carry a lot of emotional baggage, making it hard to stay motivated and concentrated on the subject at hand. For such situations, this is a great resource that suggests several ways for creating an inviting and an education-focused classroom.

Character Analysis

When reading an interesting story or book, utilize these tools to help students dive deeper into the characters they are learning about.

A Take-Home Message

The above research suggests that while personality traits are often hereditary and beyond our control, the things we value and believe in can reshape our character.

Expanding self-awareness is likely the first step in gaining control over one’s life. So it’s no wonder that “the most successful people are the most self-aware people” (Rosenfeld, 2016).

Awareness of others’ personalities can also be helpful, especially in situations like hiring someone for your company. And while there are many personality assessment tools to choose from, some are more consistent than others.

Cultivating an open, agreeable, and conscientious environment, whether in the office or at home, can help create values that are more conducive and supportive of growth and success. Using visualization tools to inspire, motivate, and spark interest in change is vital when aiming to align individuals and corporations toward a specific goal or mission.

Here is a great TED Talk by Dan Gilbert that summarizes this message:

Like Gilbert highlights in the video, it’s true that our personality traits are hereditary, but we still have the power to change. Our beliefs and values, which influence character, are not black or white—they adapt to our experiences, and are heavily influenced by the different interactions and situations we engage in.

We are not static creatures, and just like nature, we are constantly changing. It is up to us to decide who we want to grow into. The best way to do that is to take note of where we currently are, and then imagine where we want to go.

If change is the only constant, then the most successful people are those who control their own transformations.

We’d love to know your thoughts about personality and character. Have you ever taken a personality assessment, and if so, how accurate do you think it was? Do you think people can change their character? Let us know in the comments section.

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Positive and Negative Adjective Description & Lists

When’s the last time you told someone how you really felt in the moment? Chances are that whenever you share your feelings with someone, you use describing words. Words that describe nouns play an important role in the English language and communicate how you think. Without noun describers, it’s difficult to express how you feel about the people places, and things around you. What’s great about describing words is that you can use them to describe your subjective feelings.

Here’s a quick tip: Next time you need input on your writing, try this grammar check from Citation Machine Plus. In addition, there are also citation tools to help cite your sources in MLA format and more!

Every describing word has a meaning. Some evoke “good” feelings, while others promote “bad” feelings. By using positive adjectives and negative adjectives, you express your thoughts and help someone understand how you feel. These words can also potentially impact those you’re speaking about and those you’re speaking to. That’s why it’s necessary to choose your words carefully.

Let’s look at an example. The sentence, he’s very competitive probably forms a good mental image in your mind. Being competitive means that someone is focused, engaged, and self-determined. You can understand that the person has a desire to be successful, without endangering anyone.

Next, consider the sentence he’s very combative. Combative shares a similar meaning to the word competitive, yet the “bad” traits outweigh the good. The mental image you get from this sentence is perhaps someone who wants to fight and argue. The person is not only competitive, but hostile and aggressive as well.

As you can tell, describing words matter. That’s why it’s important to know different words that describe both good and bad things in your life. To build your vocabulary, let’s learn more about positive adjectives and negative adjectives. But before we do that, why not learn about APA format and more styles of citing work?

What are Positive Adjectives

Positive adjectives describe people, places, and things positively. Using these noun modifiers, you can express emotions such as satisfaction, love, amusement, hope, and more. Here are a few examples of sentences that use good emotional words.

  • Steve is happy today.
  • Her wise words fired up the crowd.
  • Suzy’s always cooperative with her classmates.

In addition to letting you describe someone or something, you can also use noun modifiers to motivate others. When you speak about someone with good describing words, you grow their confidence and build people up.

  • You’re a spectacular team captain.
  • Look at your perfect math test grade.
  • That outfit looks terrific on you.

How do these sentences make you feel? Most people enjoy hearing words of encouragement. Yet without noun describing words you can only make statements.

  • You’re a team captain!
  • Look at your math test grade.

As you can tell in the examples above, you can’t share your subjective feelings with others about nouns without using describing words. But it’s important not to select any word, but rather the right word. Because just one describing word can change the meaning of your whole sentence.

After all, sometimes you don’t want to encourage others. Perhaps you want to share feelings about people, places, or things, because you’re unhappy with the way something is. In this case, you’ll probably speak about a noun using negative adjectives.

What are Negative Adjectives to Describe a Person?

Not all noun modifiers have a happy connotation. Some make listeners and readers think about sad, bad, or unhappy situations. There are just as many good describing words as there are bad. Let’s look at our examples again and change the sentences’ meaning.

  • Steve is bossy today.
  • Her cruel words fired up the crowd.
  • Suzy’s always aggressive with her classmates.

Compared to the first example sentences, how do these make you feel? The kind words from before might have made you smile. Now, however, the image that appears in your head portrays each situation in a negative light.

A change of just one word in a sentence can change the whole meaning and make you feel bad about a situation. If reading examples of emotionally happy or sad people changes your emotions, just imagine how your bad and good words can affect others.

  • You’re a narrow-minded team captain.
  • Look at your lousy math test grade.
  • That outfit looks horrific on you.

These examples don’t carry the same good emotions, do they? In addition to impacting how others feel, using these words also express how you think. Do you want to be someone who has good things to say, or who only speaks poorly about things? Your vocabulary when talking about nouns says a lot about who you are.

Are you an optimist who sees the best in people and situations? If so, you probably use more positive adjectives during your day-to-day conversations. Or do you have more of a pessimistic view about things? If so, chances are you don’t use as many good words to describe your world. Neither outlook is necessarily wrong, but there are many reasons why you should increase your vocabulary of quality describing words.

One of the most important reasons is to bring out the best in others. If you want people to live happy and successful lives, you should try to use kind words of encouragement. After all, helping people develop their skills is a lot easier when you are kind. Therefore, every word you use to describe a person, place, or thing should build them up with positive adjectives instead of breaking them down. Here are a few lists that will help you develop your vocabulary:

List of Positive Adjectives

Positive adjectives that start with A:

  • Able
  • Abundant
  • Aboveboard
  • Acceptable
  • Accurate
  • Achieving
  • Affordable
  • Adaptable
  • Ambitious

Adjectives that start with C to describe a person positively:

  • Calculated
  • Captivated
  • Careful
  • Casual
  • Calm
  • Capable
  • Certain
  • Charming
  • Cheerful
  • Cheery
  • Cherished
  • Chic
  • Civil
  • Clean
  • Comfortable
  • Cooperative
  • Cordial
  • Crafty
  • Cute
  • Clever

Positive adjectives that start with N:

  • Natural
  • Naturalistic
  • Neutral
  • Newborn
  • Needed
  • Neat
  • Necessary
  • New
  • Nifty
  • Nice
  • Nontoxic
  • Notable
  • Nourishing
  • Novel
  • Nurturant

Positive adjectives that start with T:

  • Tactful
  • Talented
  • Tasty
  • Taxing
  • Teachable
  • Thankful
  • Thoughtful
  • Through
  • Thrifty
  • Thrilled
  • Thriving
  • Timeless
  • Tolerant
  • Top-notch
  • Touching

Positive adjectives that start with T to describe a person:

  • Twinkly
  • Terrific
  • Truthful
  • Trusting
  • Trustworthy
  • Trusted
  • Tremendous
  • Treasured
  • Tranquil
  • Tidy
  • Tantalizing
  • Toned
  • Tricky
  • Tasteful
  • Triumphant

Additional positive adjectives to describe a person:

  • Perfect
  • Reasonable
  • Luxurious
  • Kind-hearted
  • Justified
  • Wonderful
  • Heroic
  • Glamorous
  • Forgiving
  • Expressive
  • Valuable
  • Dapper
  • Stunning
  • Beloved
  • Dazzled
  • Excellent
  • Flashy
  • Healing
  • Legit
  • Optimistic
  • Peaceful
  • Romantic
  • Loving
  • Faithful
  • Soothing

Some negative personality adjectives include:

  • Aggressive
  • Arrogant
  • Boastful
  • Bossy
  • Boring
  • Careless
  • Clingy
  • Cruel
  • Cowardly
  • Deceitful
  • Dishonest
  • Fussy
  • Greedy
  • Grumpy
  • Harsh
  • Impatient
  • Impulsive
  • Jealous
  • Moody
  • Narrow-minded
  • Overcritical
  • Rude
  • Selfish
  • Untrustworthy
  • Unhappy

Do you want more information on good and bad describing words? Take a look at this page and this further reading.

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Negative and positive traits

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