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Character versus Personality

by Ron Kurtus (revised 7 December 2011)

Character is a set of behavior traits that define what sort of person an individual is. It determines whether a person will effectively achieve goals, be forthright in dealing with others and will obey the laws and rules of the group.

Although character is related to personality, it is not the same thing. Personality primarily consists of inborn traits, while character consists of learned behavior.

Both may vary with the situation or circumstances.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.



Personality

People seem to be born with certain personality traits or tendencies. Some people are shy, while others are outgoing and talkative. Some people seem to be leaders, while others are analytical in their thinking.

A common way to classify your personality or disposition is whether you are an extrovert or an introvert. That is, whether you tend to be outgoing or keep to yourself more. Another classification is whether you tend to be task oriented or prefer social engagements. This results in people having either a domineering, influencing, steady or complying personality.

Note that this is just one of several classification methods of the various personality traits that people may have.

Character

On the other hand, character is typically learned from your parents, teachers and friends. This learning comes from being taught directly or from observations of others. Character relates to attitudes and values.

There is no such thing as a person having a dishonest personality. Honesty is a positive character trait and dishonesty is a negative character trait. But there may be a tenancy toward breaking the law, if you have a rebellious personality. Often rebellion is simply a phase that young people go through.

Whether you are an introvert or extrovert, your character concerns your attitudes toward doing difficult tasks, dealing with other people and following the rules of your culture. It is the judgment of the type of person you are.

Changing character

Although character is taught to you as a child, it can vary or change with situations and experience.

For example, man who is meek on the job may be demanding and assertive in his household. Or, a person may be devious in business dealings but devout and honest in his religion.

Also, since your character was taught to you when you were young, it is difficult to change your attitudes and values. But if you see that certain behavior does not work for you, it is possible to change your character for the better.

A person with dishonest parents may see that crime does not pay and change his personality to be a very honest person. People often change religions and have a different view about what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior.

Summary

Character is a set of behavior traits that define what type of person you are. It determines whether you will achieve your goals, be forthright in dealing with others and obey the rules of the group. Character and personality are related, but they are not the same thing. Personality is inborn traits and character consists of learned behavior. Character may vary with the situation or circumstances or may be purposely changed.


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Character versus Personality




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