Character Trait Entry: Friendly

Agreeable; open and approachable; a pleasant disposition

Being in a loving and supportive environment; a strong ability to socialize; high confidence level; comfortable around others; deriving pleasure from interaction and relationships

Characters in Literature:
Glinda the Good (The Wizard of Oz); Arthur Weasley (Harry Potter)

Friendlies are approachable and open, and can be trusted to not make rash judgements or react unkindly in most situations. They work well in groups, have a strong sense of humor and are often the glue that keep radically different personalities together and on task. Friendly people can often transcend the social ladder as they seem to get along with and be admired by a variety of people. Friendly people have an aura of self confidence and positivity that other people are attracted to and naturally want to be around.

Friendlies can sometimes annoy others with their often-positive view and attitude, and steal attention in a group setting. Other people might feel bad about themselves because they are not as admired or attract the attention that a friendly person will. Friendlies can inspire jealousy from those who have few or little friends or who are awkward in social situations. People who are over-friendly can also make others uncomfortable, especially those who are slower to warm up to new people or dislike the attentiveness.

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

Cliches 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: 

  • 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.

Conflicting Characteristics to make your Friendly unique or more interesting:
Judgmental; driven; nervous; morose; untrustworthy; frugal; dependent; indecisive


Carrie said...

Great post! I'd love to read a friendly/judgmental character sometime. The conflicting characteristics are always fun. :)

Bethany Elizabeth said...

I love the idea of friendly thrown into a bad situation for friendliness. That could be so cool. :)
Great post!

Becca Puglisi said...

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.

Jeanne said...

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.

Angela Ackerman said...

Glad you all like this one. Now get on outside and have some long weekend fun! :)



Jemi Fraser said...

Love it! I adore the idea of using their friendliness against them! :)

Jeff King said...

You did it again, thx... I feel better.

LV Cabbie said...

I've got a huge folder for all of this and you can believe it'll be used a lot for my next novel.


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