Definition: Agreeable; open and approachable; a pleasant disposition
Characters in Literature: Glinda the Good (The Wizard of Oz); Arthur Weasley (Harry Potter)
Common Portrayals: The always-smiling waitress, the well-regarded neighbors who organize events and socials in the community, the bubbly girl who is friends with everyone, the ‘nice’ guy at work who never complains or has anything bad to say about anyone
Clichés to Avoid: Gushy friendliness or friendliness that is too perfect to be believed, the creepy villain who uses attentive friendliness is a ruse, pairing friendliness with perfection (beauty, incredibly talented, etc), a friendly person who is also handicapped
Twists on the Traditional Friendly Character:
▪ Friendly people are often viewed as having the ‘perfect’ or stress-free life. Why not show someone who is friendly despite great conflict in his or her personal world?
▪ This trait is almost always seen as an asset. Dump your character in a situation where a friendly disposition will put them at a great disadvantage.
▪ Show a character’s low moments with this personality trait, and how being friendly can also be burdensome. Let the process of wrestling with their feelings about themselves lead to personal growth.
Build a worthy protagonist with a mix of unique strengths that will help him overcome obstacles and achieve meaningful goals.
This sample, along with the rest of the character trait entries, has been expanded into book form. Together, the bestselling NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER FLAWS and POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER ATTRIBUTES contain over 200 traits for you to choose from when creating memorable, compelling characters. Each entry contains possible causes for the trait, as well as positive and negative aspects, traits in supporting characters that may cause conflict, and associated behaviors, attitudes, thoughts, and emotions. For more information on this bestselling book and where it can be found, please visit our bookstore.
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Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
LV Cabbie says
I’ve got a huge folder for all of this and you can believe it’ll be used a lot for my next novel.
Jeff King says
You did it again, thx… I feel better.
Jemi Fraser says
Love it! I adore the idea of using their friendliness against them! 🙂
Angela Ackerman says
Glad you all like this one. Now get on outside and have some long weekend fun! 🙂
Your posts are always so informative. If I took all of your character trait posts and put them into a story, wow. What a zinger. Avoiding stereotypes is the trick and you have given me some ideas for just that. Thanks for sharing.
Becca Puglisi says
I like the idea of showing the Friendly’s low moments. People behave differently in different circumstances, yet authors tend to keep their Friendlies always Friendly, or their Grumpies always Grumpy. Great point.
Bethany Elizabeth says
I love the idea of friendly thrown into a bad situation for friendliness. That could be so cool. 🙂
Great post! I’d love to read a friendly/judgmental character sometime. The conflicting characteristics are always fun. 🙂