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Personality vs. Character – What’s the difference between personality and character

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Have you always thought that personality and character are the same? You may be surprised to know that there is a significant difference between the two. Here’s a complete guide to personality vs. character.

Personality vs Character - what's the difference between character and personality
Personality vs Character – what’s the difference between personality and character

While some people use these terms interchangeably, they actually refer to different aspects of an individual’s behavior and traits.

We see personality on the surface; it’s how people present themselves in different situations. It includes behavioral patterns, thoughts, and emotions that are relatively stable over time. It is what makes each person unique and different from others. For example, some people may be friendly, while others may be more reserved.

On the other hand, character is the moral and ethical values that shape an individual’s behavior. It represents a person’s inner self and reflects their beliefs, principles, and values

Unlike personality, character is not something that can be changed easily. It is built over time through experiences and interactions with others.

What is Personality?

Personality refers to traits, behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that comprise an individual’s unique psychological makeup. 

It encompasses our internal and external qualities, including how we think, feel, and behave in different situations. 

Personality is often described as the “outer shell” of a person, as it is what we present to the world and how others perceive us. 

It is influenced by various factors such as genetics, upbringing, life experiences, and environment.

Personality traits are stable characteristics unique to individuals and can be observed across different situations. 

Some common traits that are associated with personality include introversion/extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience (Big Five)

What is Character?

On the other hand, character refers to a person’s moral and ethical values, beliefs, and principles. 

Character is often described as the “inner voice” of a person, as it reflects their true self and what they stand for. 

Character trait manifests an individual’s beliefs and values and is often revealed through actions and choices. 

Some typical positive character traits include honesty, integrity, empathy, responsibility, and resilience.

Negative traits such as dishonesty, selfishness, and lack of empathy are also considered part of one’s character. 

To decide on someone’s character, you need to observe their actions and behavior over a period rather than just one instance.

The key differences Between Personality and Character

Now that we have a basic understanding of personality and character let’s take a closer look at how they differ.

One way to understand the difference between personality and character is by imagining them as an iceberg. 

Personality would be the tip of the iceberg visible above water, while character lies beneath the surface, unseen but strong enough to support the visible part.

Character vs Personality - iceberg
Character vs Personality – the iceberg

Personality represents and answers the question, “What do others think of you?” and Character represents the answer to the question, “Who are you really?”.

Personality reflects our external traits and behaviors visible to others, while character reveals our inner values, moral principles, and beliefs that guide us.

Both your character and personality play significant roles in shaping your identity. 

Why Understanding the Difference is Important

Understanding the difference between personality and character can help us better understand ourselves and others. 

It can also help us navigate our relationships, as we may have different expectations based on evaluating someone’s personality or character.

For example, if someone has a charming and outgoing personality but lacks good character traits such as honesty and empathy, it could lead to problems in the relationship.

On the other hand, someone with a seemingly reserved and introverted personality may have strong character traits such as integrity and responsibility, making them trustworthy and dependable.

Which is more important, character or personality? 

Personality vs character - what is personality and what is character
Personality vs character – which is more important

Both character and personality are essential aspects of an individual’s identity, and one is not necessarily more crucial than the other. 

However, some may argue that good character is essential for building strong and meaningful relationships, while others may prioritize a compatible personality in their interactions.

Both character and personality play significant roles in our lives and shape us.

Examples of good character and personality

To better understand the difference between character and personality, let’s look at some examples of individuals with admirable qualities in both areas:

  • Good Character: Mahatma Gandhi – known for his strong values of non-violence, truthfulness, and self-sacrifice.
  • Good Personality: Marilyn Monroe – known for her charming and charismatic personality that captivated audiences.
  • Both Character and Personality:  Oprah Winfrey – known for her kind and giving personality, as well as her strong character traits of integrity, empathy, and determination.

Someone can have a good personality and strong character. Or a good personality and weak character. 

Or they can have a strong character and seemingly reserved personality. Or a weak character and reserved personality. 

It all depends on an individual’s inherited traits, upbringing, experiences, and personal choices.

Character traits vs. personality traits vs. core values

Personality vs character vs core values
Personality vs. Character vs. Core values

Character traits and personality traits are often confused with each other, but they are not the same. 

Character traits are qualities and individual characteristics that make you who you are, and personality traits describe how you appear to others.

Core values represent our beliefs, principles, and ideals that guide our behavior and decision-making process. 

RELATED POST: Core Values: Examples of 150+ Personal Values + Core Values List PDF

In other words, core values are what we stand for and consider important in life.

While character and personality shape an individual’s overall identity, core values are the foundation of one’s character.

RELATED POST: Personality Traits List – 137+ Examples of Personality Traits

RELATED POST: Character Traits List – 115+ Examples of Character Traits

How Do Personality, Character, and Core Values Impact Our Lives? 

Our personality, character, and core values influence our thoughts, feelings, and actions. 

They shape our relationships, career choices, and overall life satisfaction. 

Our personality affects how we interact with others, handle challenges and opportunities, and perceive the world around us. 

On the other hand, our character guides us in making ethical decisions, building meaningful relationships, and staying true to ourselves. 

Our core values act as a compass, helping us stay true to our beliefs and make decisions that align with them.

A solid understanding of these aspects of ourselves can help us make better decisions and live more fulfilling lives.

It is important to note that while we may have certain innate traits or values, they can also be developed and improved upon through self-reflection, introspection, and personal growth. 

No matter where we fall on the spectrum of personality or character traits, we always have the opportunity to learn, grow, and become better versions of ourselves. 

Understanding Personality & Personality Traits

Defining Personality

Personality is a term used to describe the unique traits, behaviors, and patterns of thoughts and feelings that make up an individual. It is a complex concept that has been studied extensively in psychology. Personality is not the same as character, which refers to a person’s moral and ethical values.

Personality is often described as a stable and enduring pattern of behavior, thoughts, and emotions that is relatively consistent over time and across situations. It is believed to be influenced by genetic and environmental factors, including upbringing, experiences, and cultural influences.

Personality Traits

A personality trait is a specific characteristic that is part of an individual’s personality.

These traits can be grouped into categories, such as the “Big Five” personality traits: neuroticism, conscientiousness, extraversion, openness to experience, and agreeableness. 

Learn more about the Big Five: Big 5 Personality Traits: Introduction to Big Five Personality Traits

Personality traits list: Personality Traits List – 137+ Examples of Personality Traits

Understanding Character & Character Traits

Defining Character

Character refers to the qualities and traits defining an individual’s behavior and attitude towards themselves and others. 

A combination of inherent attributes, beliefs, and values shapes one’s actions and decisions. 

Your character is what makes you unique and distinguishes you from others.

Character Traits

The person’s character is defined by their actions, beliefs, and values. It is important to note that character is not static and can be developed and improved over time.

Here are some examples of character traits:

  • Honesty: Being truthful and transparent in your actions and interactions with others.
  • Integrity: Adhering to your core values and principles even in the face of challenges or adversity.
  • Trustworthiness: Being dependable in your actions and interactions with others.
  • Ethical: Conducting yourself in a manner that is consistent with moral and ethical principles.

Your character is shaped by your experiences, upbringing, and environment. As your character develops, your personality evolves.

RELATED POST: How To Build Character – Unleashing Your Inner Excellence

It is important to be mindful of your character and work on improving it through self-reflection, feedback from others, and intentional actions. By cultivating a strong and positive character, you can build meaningful relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a fulfilling life.

Positive Character Traits: Positive Character Traits List – 100 Good Qualities & Examples

Negative Character Traits: Negative Character Traits List – 98 Negative Qualities & Examples

Personality and Character in Context

Personality and character are two distinct but interconnected aspects of an individual. 

Personality refers to the patterns of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings that make a person unique, while character refers to an individual’s moral and ethical values and traits.

In Social Interactions

First, let’s examine how personality and character affect social interactions.

Personality in social interactions

Your personality can significantly impact your social interactions. 

Being outgoing and extroverted may make it easier to interact with others and make friends. On the other hand, if you are introverted, you may prefer to spend time alone or with a few close friends.

Character in social interactions

Your character also plays a crucial role in your social interactions. 

Strong moral values make you more likely to treat others with kindness and respect, which can help you build strong and lasting relationships.

In Work Environment

Personality in the work environment

Your personality and character can also affect your performance in the workplace. 

For example, if you are highly independent and self-motivated, you may excel in jobs that require individual work and initiative. 

In contrast, if you are more sociable and enjoy working in groups, you may prefer teamwork jobs.

Character in the work environment

Your character is also essential in the workplace, as it can influence your work ethic and integrity. 

You will likely be a reliable and trustworthy employee if you have a strong sense of responsibility and honesty.

In Decision-Making

Personality in decision-making

Your personality can also play a role in how you make decisions. 

For example, if you are impulsive and open to new experiences, you may be more likely to take risks and make spontaneous decisions. If you are analytical and cautious, you may take a more measured approach to decision-making. 

Character in decision-making

On the other hand, your character can guide your decision-making process by prompting you to consider ethical considerations, long-term consequences, and the impact on others.

In Relationships

Lastly, let’s explore how personality and character can affect relationships.

Personality in relationships

Your personality and character are crucial in building and maintaining healthy relationships. 

If you are kind, empathetic, and emotionally stable, you may find it easier to form close and meaningful connections with others. 

In contrast, you may struggle to maintain healthy relationships if you have difficulty controlling your emotions or are self-centered.

Character in relationships

Character is also essential in relationships, as it can influence your ability to communicate effectively and resolve conflicts. 

If you have strong moral values and are willing to compromise, you are more likely to build strong and lasting relationships.


Personality and character are two distinct aspects of an individual’s identity. 

Your personality pattern may influence how you interact with others and make decisions, while your character traits guide your actions and values

Understanding the differences between personality and character allows you to cultivate meaningful relationships, achieve personal growth, and lead a fulfilling life.

Get inspired by these character quotes:

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