50+ Good Character Traits Every Person Should Have [2020]

What makes a person deemed as “good”? Well, certain qualities and character strengths are a good start, but also how one responds to situations and the negative character traits of others, and even how they react to success. Human beings are born with that natural instinct of fending for one’s self, which is considered one of many negative traits. Having certain behavior towards life’s situations and circumstances is the same has having reactions and feelings towards other people and their actions.

So what makes a “good person”?

First things first: how to understand the behavior and personality of someone.  It’s important to note that a person’s character is based on 3 main things: core values, external behavior, and an internal compass. Core values are the basic idea that if you value kindness and loyalty, that’s great, but do you practice it? External behavior, also known as “personality traits”, is what you do about the things you value. For example, do you value courage and are also learning how to be a braver person? If you practice what you preach and act out in what you value, that is your internal compass, or rather, who you are.

So let’s get into a list of character traits — all the positive, good character traits, at least:

List Of Character Traits

  • Kindness
  • Understanding
  • Empathetic
  • Compassionate
  • Caring
  • Humility
  • Integrity
  • Adaptive
  • Honesty
  • Forgiveness
  • Respect
  • Responsible
  • Patience
  • Generous
  • Loving
  • Reliable
  • Positive
  • Courage
  • Perseverance
  • Encouraging
  • Polite
  • Considerate
  • Leadership
  • Self-controlled
  • Diligent
  • Unselfish
  • Hardworking
  • Mindful
  • Pragmatic
  • Warm
  • Strong (mentally!)
  • Temperate
  • Thrifty (not wasteful!)
  • Cooperative
  • Faithful
  • Assertive (takes the initiative in a good way!)
  • Great listener
  • Thorough
  • Fairness
  • Loyalty
  • Flexible
  • Perceptive
  • Resourceful
  • Imaginative
  • Ambitious
  • Curiosity (eager to learn!)
  • Eloquent
  • Friendly
  • Independent
  • Focused
  • Punctual

Here’s a little character trait vocabulary lesson for you, in case it’s needed:

Character traits like kindness, love, empathy, and compassion are all very similar in definition. In fact, most of the qualities on this list are pretty much self-explanatory because they are things we should’ve been taught in our childhood. But what about the others?

Perseverance and patience can go hand-in-hand. Wait for the right time of things and accept the things and situations you can’t change. It’s okay to work towards something while you wait for it to fall into place.

For example, maybe you have a dream of traveling somewhere you’ve never visited before. Most of us can’t just snap our fingers and immediately book a flight and a hotel and go. Things take time! Have patience, and in the meantime, persevere! Do that by saving money and fitting a trip into your schedule. Be positive, too! It doesn’t hurt to think good thoughts.

Or maybe you have dreams of growing up to become a teacher or an architect or a nurse. The things that are worth it won’t come easy — what you strive for is going to require a lot of patience and perseverance.

How To Build Good Character Traits

Character Education 101: Address the qualities you lack and learn how to make positive changes in your life.

Maybe you have a hard time staying humble, adapting to change, having positive thoughts, or being a good leader. Take that core value and run with it. Learn it. Practice it.

For example, how do you react to success? How did you react to it in the past? When you were in high school or college, did you ever receive a school achievement that was worth noting? How did you respond to it? Internally, were you excited, happy, proud of yourself? Great! Those feelings are valid! But how did you respond to that achievement externally? Humility is important – your reaction to your success is important. You shouldn’t brag or boast about your accomplishments, but rather, be proud of yourself and embrace a job well done, but don’t rub it in people’s faces. In situations like that, you showed positive character traits–hardworking, focused, and curiosity–and you should react with more positive character traits with humility and self-control (don’t brag).

Or maybe you’re learning to be adaptive. Maybe you’re making the most of every situation, or maybe you’re responding to your own negative traits by working on changing it up. If you notice that you’re having a hard time being understanding or empathetic, talk to people and see where they’re coming from and how you’d feel if you were in their shoes.

They say that women are more empathetic than men, which very well could be true. However, that doesn’t mean young men aren’t empathetic at all. It doesn’t matter what your gender is–what matters is a person’s character.

Or maybe you value leadership, but you don’t know how you can practice that in your everyday life. Great leaders have a positive character and good character traits, like honesty, integrity, courage. In fact, great leaders might value and practice what’s on the character traits list above.

A Classic Example of Character Development

Let’s take Neville Longbottom, a character from the Harry Potter series. Neville had these habits of not fully grasping spells, living in fear of Voldemort, and never believing that he had the ability to help people. Still, he kept working on himself. He knew that his weaknesses could be turned into strengths.

Long story short, Neville was the one who defeated Voldemort, not Harry. (I mean, Harry had a huge part, obviously, but if you pay attention, you’ll realize Neville is the one who saved the day.) He recognized the traits he lacked and believed in his ability to change for the good. Character trait examples he started to practice and work on: bravery, courage, perseverance, patience,  and even adaptivity. We love a good character development!

Mentally Strong People: The Traits List

Grateful. 

Strong people practice gratitude. Count your blessings, not your burdens. It’s like the law of attraction: if you continue to act on the good character traits you have, whatever they might be, you will always have more.

Think of yourself as a magnet. Be a positive character and you’ll get positive characters in return. If you have a negative character and are greedy, boastful, or you lack empathy, you’ll attract those negative qualities in the people you surround yourself with. Be a positive, good person in your own life and you will attract more people like you.

Brave. 

If someone is mentally strong, they most likely accept challenges. This is both positive and negative, but it’s mostly a good thing!

For example, challenging yourself is positive classroom behavior. If you’re in school and you have the ability to go out of your comfort zone, not only will your teachers notice and applaud you, but once you get into that habit, it will become one of your life skills and even one of your strengths.

Capable.

They set healthy boundaries. If you’re mentally strong, you know that there are some people in your life who aren’t all that great and it’s important to stay away from them when you can.

This negative person doesn’t have moral values or many/any positive character traits. This person’s behavior has a strong effect on you and how you handle things. If you’re mentally strong, you know to cut those people out or set boundaries to stay away from them.

Strive For Positive Qualities And Get Positive Qualities In Return

Another important thing to note is that you are who you surround yourself with. This goes for friendships and relationships! If you want friends who are kind, reliable, and open-minded and you value those qualities, make sure you act on them too, because they’ll want that in return. Same goes for a relationship: do you want them to be loving, considerate and trustworthy? Act on those good character traits too!

Remember: do unto others as you would have them do unto you! If you want others to be a positive character in your life story, you should be the same for them.

The thing is, if you’re a good person–if you have the most of the redeemable and good qualities listed above–people will want to be around you and will want you in their lives.

Keep working on the positive traits you have or the positive traits you want to have. If you want to be more compassionate and empathetic, think about how you would feel if you were in someone else’s shoes. Empathy is a trait not many people have, and if you do have it, you probably have a naturally loving and nurturing personality — and that’s good. The world needs more kindness.

About the author
Brooklyn-based poet, writer, avid coffee drinker, and music lover. Follow Kelly on Instagram or read more articles from Kelly on Thought Catalog.

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