Saturday, February 9, 2019

Personality Typing Characters

I love personality typing main characters (and feel like maybe this is unique to me). I can't think of a more fun thing to do to really get in the head of a character! This is also something great if you tend to create cookie-cutter characters.

Using Anne Bogel's book Reading People as my model (which you should read if you are even remotely curious about personality), I'm going to show you how to use four personality breakdowns for your characters! Please realize that this is really just me paraphrasing her (and she's paraphrasing others).

~ Love Languages ~
This one is super simple for any character! Whether you're writing romance or not, knowing how your character feels appreciated and shows their appreciation to others is good info. Besides, different love languages is a great way to cause conflict. People don't feel and show love in the same way!

The five love languages are 
  1. words of affirmation (verbal praise and encouragement)
  2. quality time (singled-out attention)
  3. giving and receiving gifts (cards, a note, something just because)
  4. acts of service (voluntarily doing things for someone else's benefit)
  5. physical touch (touch when speaking, hugs)
These are all pretty self-explanatory. Typically, the one that makes you feel the most loved/appreciated is the one you're also going to use to express your love.

For a character, consider whether their go-to expression is words, time/attention, presents, serving, or touching. Don't forget that children have love languages too! It's important to tune in to other's love language and give them what they need, not just what you feel like giving ... if you want harmony. In a book, this is a great way to cause some misunderstandings and miscommunications. ;)

~ Keirsey's Temperaments ~
Breathe easy--there are only four of these, and it comes down to what you say and do. It's the simplest way to group personalities if you're into basic. These also revolutionized the way I approach Myers-Briggs! 

Artisans say what is and do what works. They make "playful mates, creative parents, and troubleshooting leaders." They're one of the most creative types who have to have excitement in their lives. (ESTP, ISTP, ESFP, ISFP)

Guardians say what is and do what's right. They make "loyal mates, responsible parents, and steadying leaders." They're the most common type with good work ethic and logic. (ESTJ, ISTJ, ISFJ, ESFJ)

Idealists say what could be and do what's right. They make "intense mates, nurturing parents, and inspirational leaders." They're highly empathetic, like to find meaning in things, and think everyone is special. (ENFJ, INFJ, ENFP, INFP)

Rationals say what could be and do what works. They make "reasonable mates, individualizing parents, and strategic leaders. They're the rarest type and taken to be distant and calculating, but don't care about political correctness. (ENTJ, INTJ, ENTP, INTP)

~ Myers-Briggs ~
Trust me, find your character's Keirsey temperament first. Then you'll only have to choose from four Myers-Briggs types instead of all sixteen!

The Myers-Briggs alphabet soup breaks down like this:
Extrovert OR Introvert
Sensing OR iNtuitive
Feeling OR Thinking
Perceiving OR Judging

Use this Pinterest picture to determine what those terms really mean. Once you have an alphabet soup combination, put the MBTI type into Pinterest to have endless "what this type does when ..." These are both fun and helpful!

If you want to type yourself, I suggest using the Myers-Briggs cognitive functions after this step to make sure you're 100% spot on! You could also take this full test. It pegged me correctly even when I thought otherwise. ;)

~ Enneagram ~
This is a newer-to-me personality type. It doesn't correspond to any of the others, but it's an easier way to break down personality types for some people, as there are only nine of them. Everyone has a primary type (say it's the number 3) and then a secondary or "wing" type. Statistically, the wing type is almost always a number next to your primary (in this case either 2 or 4).

Here's the breakdown of the Enneagram types according to Anne Bogel:
  1. Reformer (need to be perfect)
  2. Helper (need to be needed)
  3. Achiever (need to succeed)
  4. Individualist (need to be special)
  5. Investigator (need to perceive)
  6. Loyalist (need for security)
  7. Enthusiast (need to avoid pain)
  8. Challenger (need to be against)
  9. Peacemaker (need to avoid)
Despite the different names people give them, the concept is always the same! Knowing even just a character's primary type could help you map out their motivations. 

There are also pros and cons of each that can be explored more in-depth, as every type is linked to another number when stressed and yet another when growing. I've taken this quick test and recommend this website for more information.
What's your personality type?? Have you ever typed a character? Remember that these are potential tools to create variety, not to put characters or real people into stuffy little boxes. <3 div="">

((Just for fun, my love language is quality time, and I'm a Guardian which confirmed I'm an ISTJ. I've been told my enneagram is a 5 wing 6, but I also have a lot of 1.))


  1. I've done lots with Myers-Briggs tests, but mostly with people I know in real life so I can understand them better! I am an INFJ. My favorite test to take is this one here: It's really thorough and free which is nice.
    Really neat post idea, by the way!

    1. Yes! I love using Myers-Briggs, and I think that's usually the test I use as well when I do it online. Thanks :)

  2. Really neat! I do enjoy MB quizzes from time to time, but the answers are always all over the place for me, so I don't put much faith in them. Never heard of the enneagram types, though!

    1. Oh really?? I waffled between ISTJ (test results) and INTJ (my own guess) for a while, but I knew I was a Guardian when I learned about the temperaments. So ISTJ it is. ;P The Enneagram types are worth looking into if you haven't had much luck with Myers-Briggs!

  3. Love languages are a great way to add some cute moments between characters! I'm already picturing how to use this. I've only ever used Myers-briggs but it got a little confusing because I would have to remind myself every time I looked at my notes what ENFJ meant :P

    1. Yessss, I feel you with the MBTI types haha. I have to be careful not to put my characters (and thus my writing) into a box when I use those. But I really want to start using the love languages more! I like that those are clearly a communication style instead of entire personalities. :)


    1. WHY THANK YOU, DEAR! Random comments are my favorite, and you're awesome


Comments are how I know you've been here! I try hard to reply to all the comments in a timely fashion, but regardless, know that if you leave a comment, I will read it and it will make me smile. :) Please no profanity or soliciting.