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Feedback Q&A on Character

by Ron Kurtus

Readers have sent in a total of 171 comments and questions on Character issues. They are listed according to date.

You can read them to further your understanding of the subject.

List of next 10 letters




Reliabile Supervisor nitpicks me USA
Judging Others I am a failure at judging others Pakistan
What is Character Can character change with difference situations? India
What is Character Disagree on character and cultural rules USA
Concerns about Others How should i behave on a new job? India
Franklin's Virtues Where are the virtues in Poor Richard's Almanac? USA
Stealing Friend's son caught stealing USA
General Interested in teaching virtues and morals USA
Trustworthy Former manager talked behind her back USA
What is Character Can we change our character? Afghanistan

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First 10 letters

Supervisor nitpicks me

Topic: Reliabile


March 17, 2009

Thank you for your email and the information. Everyone says I am a great employee, “once you get me started”. I am not an early person, so I get up earlier than I used to, which has helped. I ALWAYS stay late at work, as I tend to get so much accomplished, and comments are often made that I am usually the last to leave, which is good.

So, I will apply your advice and try to get in at least 15 min in advance, and GET NOTICED!

I have been told that there are “jealousy issues” toward me from my supervisor because I had put my name in the hat for the supervisory role. Little did I know, it was a sealed deal, and I was set up just so that it would give the appearance that others were considered. No hard feelings on my part, but I believe there are hard feelings on her part toward me; therefore, she nitpicks me to death. ANYTHING infraction whatsoever on my part does not go unnoticed.

Melody - USA



It would be good to get away from being thought of a rival to your supervisor. One route to take is to offer to help her on occasion, such that she can think of you as her assistant. That might remove you from being a rival. It depends on her attitudes. The other thing is to keep your eyes open for another position. But keep it to yourself.

Many companies allow flex time, where people who aren’t morning people can come in later and then work later. It doesn’t sound like they allow that in your company, and with your present situation with your boss, it probably isn’t worth checking into.

The biggest problem is with the economy now, you really have to be careful about your job. You don’t want to make waves. I think the extra effort will be worthwhile and take the pressure off of you.

Best wishes in success in your career.

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I am a failure at judging others

Topic: Judging Others


February 4, 2009

i hv read this article and all my answers of the quiz were correct but in my real life im always a failure about judging others character and i trust on them and then eventually faced huge losses.Kindly guide me about judging others character and sincerity,so that i may aware of them and avoid such blunders as i hv done in the past.

Maliha - Pakistan



It is difficult to truly judge the character of another person, because a deceitful person can hide is real character. But there are ways to help to judge others.

First, always try to think the best of another person.

Be observant of other people. Know that some may be good and some may be bad, so deal with them with caution.

If someone offers something that is too good to be true, then you should be suspicious, because it probably is too good to be true.

If you judge a person to be good and he fools you, then shame on that person. But if he fools you the second time, then shame on you for being fooled twice.

Remember that it is better to be a good person and be incorrect about the character of someone else than to be suspicious of everyone.

Dealing with other people is a skill that must be developed. You are not alone in misjudging others. But just try your best.

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Can character change with difference situations?

Topic: What is Character


January 19, 2009

Talking about Character. We see that it is something which a person learns through his environment and experiences. But it has been observed many times that in different situation people behave differently. For example- Consider a person is driving and his wife is sitting nest to him. She asked as a frustrating question. Now there are two scenarios, first, their car just passed a marriage or a college friends group who are full of joy OR in another case their car just passed a funeral or an accident. Then in both the scenario the answer to that question will be different.
Than How can we comment on a person's Character if it so effected with such on going activities?

Ravi - India



Character is a determination of what is right and wrong, based on what you have been taught and learned from experiences. Personality concerns the tendency of how you react in various situations.

A person may be stern with subordinates at work but loving and gentle with his children at home. The personality differs according to situation. But in either case, his values of what is right and wrong--or his character--is fairly consistent.

But sometimes temptation can overcome character, such as when a person will steal something when he knows and believes it is the wrong thing to do.

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Disagree on character and cultural rules

Topic: What is Character


January 18, 2009

Your suggestion that character is "following the rules of your culture" cannot possibly be true. The rules of Stalinist Russia was to inform on your parents so that they would be sent to Siberia and a death camp. Did that demonstrate good character? Hardly! In Nazi Germany your culture said that you should reveal the location of any hidden Jews so that they could be sent to the gas chambers. Good character?

Character often requires throwing the rules of your culture in the trash and doing what is right in the face of severe resistance or sometimes even death. You go on to say that character is "the judgment of the type of person you are." True you don't identify whose judgment you're talking about, but the inference is irresistible, that it is the judgment of those who set the rules of your culture. I'm sorry but in many, many cases in human experience,those people are notoriously unreliable.

The people in the first century following the rules of their culture, crucified Peter upside down for teaching about Jesus Christ. Using your definition of character, they were demonstrating good character. Are you really sure you want to stick with that definition?

In discussing changing character you say that character is taught when you are young and proceed to give three adverse examples: a cowardly man at work who is vicious with his children, a dishonest parents and an honest child, and a dishonest businessman who is devout. Now it is true you didn't say in so many words that parents and religious authorities cannot be trusted, but it is a distinction without a difference. Any young person being instructed with this material is not given even the slightest impediment in drawing this inference for him or herself. The presumed plausible deny-ability, that is retained by not explicitly attacking the child's parents or religious teachers is transparently unconvincing to say the very least. In this gambit you're fooling schoolboys and the very, very dull at best.

In your conclusion you transition from character being a matter of "following the rules of your culture" to "obey the rules of the group." It makes one wonder that if this had gone on another paragraph if character wouldn't have devolved into "be true to your harts desires."

If there is no objective standard against which a person actions, attitudes and motivations can be judged then the definition of character really doesn't matter much. It might as well be a judgment of the individual, the group or the culture. If it's not grounded in any thing objective it's not grounded at all.

Eric - USA



Thanks for your feedback on this subject. It is not a simple topic.

Although you and I would consider a person who would blow himself up to kill innocent people of a different religion as a monster performing an abhorrent act, members of him family and religious culture often consider such a person a hero and someone of utmost character. It is hard to understand the values of some cultures or societies, such as in Stalinist Russia, but they alone define who is good and bad within their own groups.

Similarly, those who crucified early Christians felt that they were protecting their values and their religion, and they had good character in doing so.

We may not agree with what people in other cultures do, but you must agree they are doing is what they think is the right thing to do.

The premise in this work is that character is taught--first by parents, then by friends, teachers and social or cultural rules. Experience also plays a role, as does personality. It is possible that a child of dishonest parents may see that being honest is a better route to take. There are consequences from being dishonest, including the fact that other people often don't like those who are dishonest. A child can learn from those lessons and not follow the rules or example of his parents.

A universal rule of character is that not hurting or causing losses to others, as well as yourself lead to the best character traits. People and societies make their own choices, and in many cases those choices aren't the best.

By seeing what is most beneficial to yourself and others around, you can most toward positive character traits.

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How should i behave on a new job?

Topic: Concerns about Others


September 18, 2008

its nice know about character.since character is all about the person who deal with us.
realy i got good input about traits.

my question is

how should i beahve in a new job to get more reliable & good friends? how should i beahve with higher official to get good impression?

murugesh - India



You want to be friendly and cheerful on your new job. Do not try to brag, but rather listen and take interest in what the others have to say. Also, be will to help out.

By observing your fellow workers, you will be able to tell which ones are the go-getters and the ones who are good to associate with. Workers who grumble and complain can affect your reputation and your own attitude. It is best to be only cordial with them but not make them as friends. Often the people you associate with cause am impression of your character. So pick good friends at work.

You can make a good impression on supervisors and higher officials in the company by volunteering for tasks. If you have flexibility, it is also good to come into work a little before the bosses and to leave a little after they leave. they will notice this and assume you are a hard worker.

Best wishes on a good career.

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Where are the virtues in Poor Richard's Almanac?

Topic: Franklin's Virtues


August 7, 2008

It says the 13 virtues are represented in Poor Richard's Almanac. I have the book Wit and Wisdom from Poor Richard's Almanac, I was wondering if you could tell me which quotes(pg.# if possible) show the thirteen virtues?

Krishna - USA



Franklin wrote his thirteen virtues when he was in his 20s, but he kept the list to himself. Later he included individual virtues at various times in his Poor Richard's Almanac. But he really listed the virtues in his Autobiography. That is where the full list can be seen.

I really should have mentioned that in the lesson and will update the information.

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Friend's son caught stealing

Topic: Stealing


April 20, 2008

My best friends son was recently charged with second degree theft of books from his college bookstore (275 dollars worth) My daughter is friends with her son and she told me of the incident and said it was in their college newspaper. My question. should I inform my best friend about her son? I feel like a fraud having this information and her not knowing bout her sons indiscretions. I know for sure that she doesn't know and we have several upcoming events to attend too together. I know this is complicating and my daughter doesn't want me to say anything to my friend for fear of being the tattle tale. My reason for telling my friend would be to save her face because everyone else knows about the charge and to possibly help her son with any personal issues he might be going through. thank you for any feedback you can give me.




It is a difficult problem for you, but the best bet is to not get involved in their personal matters. Your friend may consider that you are meddling in their affairs.

Her son may have already told her about the incident, and she may want to keep this embarrassing situation to herself. It could be uncomfortable for her if you called her and told her you knew about it.

If her son did not tell her about getting caught stealing, he may want to solve his own problems without her finding out. But if he gets kicked out of school, he will have to tell her.

If she finds out that you knew about it, you can say that you thought she knew and that you didn't want to embarrass her by bringing it up.

It is a tough problem, but going to her and telling about it will only upset her and perhaps cause ill feelings. Let the situation take its own course.

I hope these ideas make sense. And I hope things work out for your friend and her family.

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Interested in teaching virtues and morals

Topic: General


April 14, 2008

I am interested in teaching lessons from my home on virtues, morals, etiquette, etc, for children. Do you have any suggestions. Thank you!




Such lessons would be of interest to parents, especially for preschool children. Once children are in school, it is difficult to have them go to additional classes unless they are on weekends or through a church Sunday School. But even then, parents may be interested.

You can look through the material in our Character section for ideas:

We will be publishing a book on The Power of Positive Character in about a month.

You can also see the Character Counts website at: They sell some material on teaching character in schools. Also see:

Just as some people put around ads that they tutor in math or other subject, you can also advertise that you tutor in character and moral issues.

I hope this gives you some ideas. Best wishes in your efforts, and let us know how things turn out. This follows our philosophy of championing a worthy cause and doing good in this world.

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Former manager talked behind her back

Topic: Trustworthy


February 12, 2008

I had this former manager that I talked to on a regular basis, she told me things and I told her things personal or not so personal. she also mentioned that I was one of her guest to her house get together or something like that. I told her that I was interested in becoming a task manager. So she said that's great just keep taking your courses. I sent an email out to my program manager stating that I was interested in the position and she shared this information with my former manager. So my former manager went back to her office and shared what the program manager shared with her at the managers meeting about my wanting the position. My former manager told everyone that was in her office that I wanted the manager position and she felt that I wasn't qualified for it because I had a misspelled in my email. so one of my former co workers told me about it because they knew that she had bad mouthed me and made me look as if I wasn't qualified for the task manager position.

I went to the program managerabout this.....all she did was apologize, wanted to know who told me, told me who ever told me wanted me to feel bad, and they're not my friend.

The former manager never apologized, when she see me she fake like every thing is alright, and have the nerve to even speak when she around others so they won't suspect her of her wrong doing.

The program manager acts as if I'm the worst person in the world and she disrespects me and say incriminating things and insults my intelligence. At one time this program manager and me got along well.

Why did my former manager do this to me?
Why is my program manager so unfriendly to me?
What did I do that was so wrong?
Is all managers and program managers like this towards the employees?
Why did program manager share my interest with the former manager?
Why didn't my former manager think that I wasn't qualified?
Do you think this ruined my chances of becoming a manager or advancement?

Deborah - USA



There are some lessons to be learned from this experience. First of all, what you send to people in letters and email makes a big impression about your skills and how conscientious you are. You should ALWAYS read over your documents and spell-check them before sending them out, especially at work and to a manager.

The fact that your former manager told others about your error on the email was highly unprofessional and not something a good manager would do. You can tell she is the type that talks behind your back, so I would be careful around her.

But also realize that people in the office gossip, and there are others who are in competition with you for promotions, raises and such. If you want to get a promotion or a specific job in a company, you need to be very careful who you tell about it.

The fact that you wanted a better position may have made your former manager or someone else jealous of you. Someone seems to have spoken poorly about you to your program manager, such that she now disrespects you. Or perhaps you have done things that she didn't like.

What you need to do is to lay low for a while. Just do your work and keep a low profile. But also keep your eyes open for a different position. Once a manager starts to disrespect an employee, it is very difficult for that worker to ever get respect again. The harder you try, the worse it can get.

If you have some close friends at work that you can trust, ask them if they know any reason your program manager does not like you. In that way, you may get some clues.

When you get to a situation where your work environment is positive and where you have a supervisor who is supportive, you can start planning on moving up again. If you want to succeed, you can. Just keep at it.

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Can we change our character?

Topic: What is Character


February 7, 2008

1- can we change our personality by passing time? if yes how? if no why?
2-for how long can we change our bad character to good one in a social enviroment?

yosuf - Afghanistan



Your character is first defined by your parents, religion and culture. As a person becomes older, his character may be influenced by friends and the social environment. Unfortunately, sometimes the character becomes bad or negative.

By realizing that negative character not only prevents a person from achieving goals, from being respected by other people, and from being accepted by those in his religion and culture, the person can vow to improve his character. It takes time to overcome old habits, but by seeing the rewards of good or positive character and behavior, a person is motivated to change his ways.

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