Character Profiles: The Driver

The Driver personality type is the exact opposite of the Feeler personality type, which is what I posted about last time. Drivers can be harsh and angry and manipulative, but they are doers. They don’t like just standing around enjoying the scenery; they want to be making history. This is a continuation of my series on character based on the book How Can I Get Through to You? by Dr. Glen Foster and Mary Marshall.

What’s important to remember about a Driver is that they aren’t automatically bad people. They just don’t like to waste time on things that seem superfluous. Drivers offend people (usually Feelers) constantly, but they rarely intend to do so. Most of the time, they have your best interests in mind, but they have a definite opinion on how to achieve a certain goal. And there’s no way you can talk them out of it.

Drivers communicate in short, clipped (usually passionate) phrases. If you ever get a Driver to respond to something with a paragraph of dialogue, they will either be really stinkin’ mad … or they will be trying to communicate with a Feeler who they care about. Drivers can change their approach to people based on their personality types. It’s all part of manipulation.

Here is how you can spot a Driver:

Drivers like to stand out and be the center of attention. They like bright colors in sometimes unconventional, eye-catching styles to assert their individuality.

On entering a room, a Driver will be enthusiastically curious. They will change their appearance to suit whatever the occasion requires.

In their initial conversation or approach, a Driver will initiate conversation. They are verbally and mentally quick and very animated. They will make personal remarks about themselves.

In their initial attitude toward you, a Driver will be overly friendly and naturally gregarious.

In the first few moments you speak to them, a Driver is quick-talking, quick-thinking and very perceptive. They are nonconformists and like to control every situation.

Sound like anyone you know? So the next question is how do Drivers respond in conflict because that’s when the base personality types appear the strongest.

The Driver in Conflict:

The demeanor or image a Driver will present  in conflict is enthusiastically and dramatically involved. They are ready for any attack. They view an argument as a game to be won, lashing out with rapid responses and reactions, needing to control both the situation and the people involved.

A Driver’s method of attack is eagerly offensive. They want complete and total directional control of an argument. Because they’re perceptive, they understand the basis of the argument quickly and manipulate it to suit them. They will focus on the part of your argument that is weakest and will prod you to anger so they can use it to control you. They rarely take a moderate position, instead swinging between extremes. They talk too much and get impatient when you try to talk or interject comments. They also nitpick your reasoning.

A Driver’s emotional response to conflict is excitable. They are overly dramatic and verbally theatrical. They swing through moods rapidly but usually end up at anger very quickly.

A Driver’s intellectual response to conflict is anger. They think fast and make up their mind quickly on what has happened to cause the problem. They are always right and always know the right answer. If you don’t agree, you’re stupid basically. They will even lie to prove a point and will employ personal reasoning that is unrelated to objective logic in order to force you to see their point of view.

A Driver’s physical response usually reveals animated, dramatic, theatrical body language to overemphasize points and manipulate you. Primary eye movement will be to the right.

Has this struck a chord with any of your existing characters?

I mentioned last time that when I first saw these personality charts, I instantly identified four of my main characters. And the Driver personality was the very first one I noticed. This character’s name is Karl Goodsoon, and he is (arguably) my favorite male character in my entire cast lineup. Karl is one of those characters who you don’t have to design funny situations to bring out his personality; his personality creates funny situations. He’s the sort of character every author needs to have up their sleeves.

Karl is one of those characters who I will sit down with when I’m having a bad day and just write about; just writing about him usually cheers me up. And when paired with my favorite (hands down) female character, a gal named Barb Taylor, it’s a recipe for a great story. You see, Barb is also a Driver; so matching them (and their romantic interest in each other, whether they are willing to admit that or not) is always a ton of fun.

Karl likes to control situations. I’m actually not sure if he realizes that’s what he likes; he doesn’t think about things that deeply. But that’s what he does. He can walk into any situation and talk to anyone. He’s never met a stranger; he’s completely extroverted. He’s loud. He’s rambunctious. He’s offensive. I’ve often heard it said about some people that they have “no pastels in their personality.” And that is the truth with Karl. He is a bold stripe of blinding color in a world that prefers duskier hues.

He can’t help it. No one moves fast enough. No one laughs enough. No one feels enough. That’s his opinion on life, and he’s not afraid to share it … bluntly. He isn’t afraid to let his thoughts be known. The only time he hesitates about telling people what he thinks is if it will make him come off sounding “too smart.” His overconfidence is a product of his insecurity. He knows he can control people with his humor and by making them angry, but if he is in a discussion with someone who is “smarter” than he is, he can’t call the shots. So he never wants to make anyone think that he has an educational level above early high school.

He doesn’t like school anyway. He thinks it’s a waste of time. He doesn’t intend to find a career anywhere. He’s much happier doing outside maintenance work. He isn’t going to go to college, although he might look into a technical school. But education isn’t his passion. He loves building things, whether from wood or stone. And while school might give him a better perspective on how to build something, he would rather do it himself and learn from his own mistakes instead of listening to someone else.

Karl can easily sound angry as a part of his manipulation through tone, but he’s very difficult to actually make angry. But when you get him angry, he boils over. He is a very emotional person, and when his emotions get out of control, he becomes a raging bull basically. A lot shouting. A lot of yelling. And not many can communicate with him when he gets that way. Most of the time he has to blow himself out. And then, while he’ll feel bad about it (especially if he realizes he hurt someone he cares about), he won’t really beat himself up about losing his temper. He’ll move on pretty quickly. Regrets are a waste of time because it’s not like you can do anything to change it. Right?

I posted last time that these characters come from a series I’ve been writing since I was 11. I’m calling it YA epic urban fantasy, if there is such a thing. And Karl is part of a team of superhero types who have to protect their city, but like I said before, Karl isn’t the leader. Another character named Ryan Lewis (a Feeler) is. So team dynamics with Karl are interesting. Honestly, he doesn’t really want to lead, so that’s not a problem. He doesn’t want the responsibility of leadership, but he still tries to take over because Ryan doesn’t move fast enough or make decisions fast enough. Karl, however, is so impulsive and the situations they deal with are so dangerous that he often starts more conflicts in his eagerness than he stops. Most of the time, those conflicts might not have even begun if Karl would have waited. But Karl doesn’t like to wait.

Karl feels intensely. And his response to people he cares about is to protect them. From everything. He can be smothering to a certain extent, but it all stems from a desperate need to keep the people he loves safe. He didn’t have a close family. Karl is actually a runaway. But his team, even though most of them start out hating him, takes the place of the family he ran away from.

He’s funny. He’s vibrant. He’s just Karl. What else can I say?

If you don’t have a Karl character, I really suggest that you create one. He is the instigator of many stories. He is the loud, obnoxious troublemaker who you can’t help but love because underneath all the bravado and wrestling, he has a heart three sizes too big.

I hope this has been helpful. Next week, we’ll do a major directional change and talk about the Analyzer personality type. Feelers make all decisions based on emotion; Drivers care about facts but in an emotional way. With Analyzers, emotion doesn’t even appear on their radar. That’s next week!

A.C. Williams

Amy Williams left a lucrative career in marketing to write novels about space cowboys, clumsy church secretaries, American samurai, and alternate dimensions. Along the way, she also discovered a passion for teaching other creative professionals how to use technology to make life easier. Through video instruction or one-on-one coaching, she teaches software, blogging, basic graphic design, and many other useful skills that help creative entrepreneurs get stuff done minus the frustration.

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