Negative Character Traits: Meaning & Examples of Bad Personality Traits

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Negative Personality Traits Examples of Bad Personality Traits

Everyone has negative character traits. Think about negative personality traits that don’t allow you to grow personally or achieve success at work.

Are you a bit lazy? Do you have a careless attitude towards work? Or maybe you’re too impulsive and can’t control your aggression sometimes. In any case, it’s natural because our personality is a spectrum between positive and negative character traits.

Psychologists and coaches often rely on negative personality traits in order to help people identify their weaknesses, discover negative attributes that deserve our attention, and focus on development.

Correcting your negative traits is only possible if you realize how they affect your well-being and career and start working on improving them. In this article, we will introduce the lists of common personality adjectives for interpersonal relationships and the workplace, review negative intellectual traits and bodily attributes and see typical negative signs for millennials.

You will also learn about not-so-negative personality traits and find out how to turn your negative attributes into positive ones.

What are Negative Qualities? Definition & Meaning

Negative qualities, as well as positive qualities, are an integral part of the personality. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines personality as a relatively stable set of unique individual characteristics and dispositions that organize and influence their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors.

Personality assessments such as the Big Five are focused on the basic factors in personalities such as Extraversion, Agreeableness, Openness, Conscientiousness, and Neuroticism. However, these personality factors are rather neutral.

Unlike this, according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, there are sixteen different personality types, including ESTJ, INTP, and 14 others. These acronyms are a sum of four major personality traits: Extraversion (E) – Introversion (I), Sensing (S) – Intuition (N), Thinking (T) – Feeling (F), Judging (J) – Perceiving (P).

What are Negative Qualities Definition & Meaning

But none of these types of personality traits are completely negative or positive. Negative qualities can be defined as personality signs that lead to negative emotions and create a negative overall perception of a person.

Negative qualities are almost similar to character weaknesses such as shyness, lack of confidence, self-criticism, or arrogance. Negative character traits don’t allow us to reach our goals and use our full potential either in social relationships or at the workplace. Here is the list of the most common negative character traits that need our attention.

Negative Traits

People usually have complex sets of negative character traits. Some of our negative personality signs are revealed in social relationships, while others hinder us to grow our personality or reaching our career goals. Generally, negative traits can be divided into negative interpersonal and intellectual traits.

Negative Interpersonal Traits

Negative interpersonal traits are revealed in the process of communication with other people. Although negative interpersonal traits characterize everyone more or less, people who show off their weaknesses in relationships are perceived more negatively.

List of 10 Negative Interpersonal Traits

  1. Apathetic
  2. Argumentative
  3. Cowardly
  4. Impulsive
  5. Self-centered
  6. Dishonest
  7. Unable to empathize
  8. Jealous
  9. Sarcastic
  10. Arrogant

Negative Intellectual Traits

Intellectual traits are the most obvious in the academic field. Some of the most common intellectual traits include independence, confidence, fair-mindedness, or integrity. But people also possess plenty of negative intellectual traits which don’t allow them to reach success at university or in school.

List of 10 Negative Intellectual Traits

  1. Inattentive
  2. Lazy
  3. Rigid
  4. Irresponsible
  5. Forgetful
  6. Impatient
  7. Indecisive
  8. Inflexible
  9. Weak-willed
  10. Foolish

How Do I Adopt & Change My Negative Qualities into Positive Qualities?

Although negative character traits slow down our progress and don’t allow us to feel absolutely comfortable about ourselves, we can only develop a positive self-concept if we accept our negative traits.

However, the desire to change our personality is natural. For example, introverted people might wish to be more sociable, or impulsive people might wish to control their emotions better.

Personality traits are fixed throughout our lives, but as psychologists prove, changing your negative qualities and turning them into positive ones is possible. In fact, longitudinal studies show that personality gets better over time.

This means that as we age, our negative traits naturally turn into positive ones. However, you don’t have to wait in order to improve your personality and adopt positive qualities. Just try to identify your negative character traits, discover positive traits you wish to develop, and be more observant of your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.

By understanding personality traits and focusing on desired personal qualities, you can develop character strengths and integrate them into your existing sets of personality traits.

Negative Personal Attributes

When it comes to describing a person, we don’t focus only on personality qualities such as self-confidence, generosity, or greed. Instead, we rely on bodily attributes that are easier to perceive at first glance.

According to the law of negative bias, we perceive negative personal attributes such as having unstyled hair or being unathletic more easily than positive ones. Negative personal attributes consist of general appearance and bodily attributes.

Negative Appearance

Appearance is the first thing that creates our impression when we first meet people. And the first impression plays the biggest role in forming the appraisal of others. Here are some of the most common adjectives of negative appearance.

10 Examples of Negative Appearance

  1. Unattractive
  2. Disagreeable
  3. Plain-looking
  4. Unpleasant
  5. Ill-favored
  6. Unfit
  7. Unhealthy
  8. Hideous
  9. Out of shape
  10. Weak

Negative Bodily Attributes

Not only general appearance, but people also rely on specific bodily attributes in order to form an impression on others. Assessing people by their bodily attributes leads to stigmatization and stereotypes, but we still automatically assess people based on their bodily attributes. Here is the list of the most common negative bodily attributes.

10 Examples of Negative Bodily Attributes

  1. Unstyled hair
  2. Ugly face
  3. Bad teeth
  4. Too short
  5. Unathletic
  6. Slight
  7. Bad posture
  8. Bad skin
  9. Overweight
  10. Poor figure

List of 7 Most Common Negative Character Traits

  1. Rude
  2. Egocentric
  3. Greedy
  4. Biased
  5. Aggressive
  6. Disrespectful
  7. Manipulative


This negative personality trait is common in modern society. Rude people have impolite or bad manners and refuse to conform to what society says. Even if something is their fault, they never seem to care about apologizing or saying “excuse me.” They aren’t interested in personal development and are characterized by violent or harsh behaviors.


This negative trait describes the inability to understand others’ points of view and look at the world from one’s own perspective. Egocentric people are unable to imagine that other people have different opinions and their opinions also matter. Instead, they focus on themselves completely and act selfishly sometimes.


People with this character trait tend to try to get all they can out of other people selfishly. They have a  desire to gain all the wealth and power and want more, no matter how much you give them.

Sometimes, greed is defined as a natural human impulse to collect useful resources. Greedy people feel disappointed when others don’t serve them and don’t satisfy their needs.


People with biased personality traits are perceived as negative people. They tend to stick to their own attitude. They subjectively assess people and events around them and don’t rely on objective information that’s available in the environment. They favor one side over another and view themselves as right even when they don’t have facts that would back up their claims.


Aggressive people tend to have hostile or violent behavior and disregard others’ rights. People with this personality trait rely on their primitive impulses, threaten others and make them feel unsafe. Aggressiveness is defined as a “general propensity to engage in acts of physical and verbal aggression”.


People with this character trait don’t respect others’ opinions and needs. They are impolite people who refuse to conform to social norms and reveal criticism in social relationships. Usually, they don’t care about honesty or loyalty. They can easily lie and let people down without feeling guilty.


Manipulative individuals have a harmful influence over others. They use other people to get what they want and feel proud of their ability to control others. Manipulators usually attack others’ mental and emotional sides ad make them act or feel a certain way.

Negative Qualities for Workplace

Being aware of your negative qualities is especially useful at the workplace. People can only focus on growth and development if they acknowledge their weaknesses and try to focus on them.

Besides, asking questions about negative qualities is very common in the process of job interviews. Here are some of the most common negative qualities that might slow down your progress at the workplace.

10 Examples of Negative Bodily Attributes

  1. Shy
  2. Untimely
  3. Careless
  4. Irresponsible
  5. Narrow-minded
  6. Unfocused
  7. Bossy
  8. Disloyal
  9. Nervous
  10. Unpredictable

Negative Character Traits of Millennials

Millennials are people who grew up in the Internet age. Therefore, social media and mainstream opinions significantly affected their personality. Considering stereotypes and prejudices that are transformed through social media channels, millennials are more likely to have negative personality traits.

For example, the New York Times defines millennials as narcissistic, lazy, and indecisive people. While it might not be completely true, Millennials actually possess some negative character traits as a result of the social environment they grow up in. Here are the most common negative traits of millennials.

List of 7 Negative Character Traits of Millennials

  1. Narcissistic
  2. Too certain
  3. Selfishness
  4. Perfectionism
  5. Overly independence
  6. Indecisive Impatience
  7. Too ambitious

Negative Character Traits That can be Positive

People tend to categorize personality traits as either positive or negative ones. However, actually, categorization is a sign of biased thinking because a personal trait can be good and bad at the same time.

For example, even when being ambitious is considered as something bad, ambition helps us to achieve our goals. Similarly, being sensitive could slow down your progress at work, but it also means that you’re empathetic towards people. Here is the list of negative character traits that actually can be very positive.

List of 7 Negative Character Traits That can be Positive

  1. Ambitious
  2. Sensitive
  3. Procrastinator
  4. Neurotic
  5. Pessimistic
  6. Messy
  7. Cynical

What are Positive Character Traits?

Other than negative traits that can be considered positive, people also possess plenty of character traits that are completely positive. Positive personality traits are personality strengths such as honesty, loyalty, courage, or self-confidence.

These personality traits help us use our full potential to grow and develop professionally or individually. Positive personality traits are usually described with positive personality adjectives and they help us feel better about ourselves, improve our interpersonal relationships and achieve our goals.

Frequently Asked Questions About Negative Character Traits

What are the six traits of a bad character?

The major personality traits of a bad character include:

  1. Arrogance
  2. Cruelty
  3. Bad temperament
  4. Disagreeableness
  5. Bossy attitude
  6. Selfishness

Is shyness a negative trait?

Shyness is considered a negative trait because it’s an unpleasant emotional state that leads to stress and anxiety and detaches individuals from society. However, shyness also has a positive side. Specifically, shy people have the ability to accomplish their goals on their own without others’ help or approval.

What are neutral personality traits?

The majority of personality traits aren’t 100% negative or positive. There are plenty of neutral personality traits that receive either good or bad connotations depending on the context. Some of the most common neutral personality traits are:

  1. Observant
  2. Self-reserved
  3. Stylish
  4. Strange
  5. Serious


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