Personality Page

The following collection of descriptive words can be useful prompts for stories or anecdotes. For example, “Mavis was generous. One Christmas …” You’ll see them in opposing pairs, positive and negative. Each of us is a blend of admirable traits and shortcomings, which we often display in complex ways. We’re never unkind at a funeral, so if any of the negative words below are appropriate, we usually soften them for the eulogy. We’re more likely to mention a person’s shortcomings if we can have a laugh about something that your loved one would have chuckled about him or herself. For example, “Dad always took care of everyone else before even thinking of himself … except when it came to chocolate!”

And yet, there are times when we’re dealing with problems much bigger than chocolate. Some people suffer with serious physical and mental issues. For example, for a person who suffered with quadriplegia or schizophrenia, could we leave those who attended the funeral satisfied if we only spoke of easy and positive things? Speaking of challenges usually only leads to admiration for the person for coping with their trials.

These are only general thoughts on very subtle and personal matters. As with every aspect of the funeral service for your loved one, control remains in your hands.


affectionate / overindulgent, hedonistic

alert and intuitive mind / impractical, zany schemes

aspired to noble things e.g. truth, beauty, goodness / oriented only to the sensual

aware of others’ needs / opportunistic

calm, self-reliant / nervous, dependent

cared for others’ needs and wants / selfish

clear and objective thinker / unemotional, cold

clear, sharp-eyed / fault-finding

community-minded / self-centred

composed, calm / aloof, hard

could love all people equally / little human sympathy

courageous, bold / overzealous

creative / destructive

cultivated, refined / extravagant

deep spiritual understanding / worshipped only position and prestige

dependable / indecisive

direct, decisive / opinionated

expert in marriage and partnerships / manipulated and dominated others

generous / controlling, gluttonous

graceful, charming / superficial, deceitful

healer / seducer

held the family together / clannish, snobby

helpful, unassuming / manipulative

imaginative / paranoid, delusionary

impartial, balanced mind / incapable of decision

impressionable / had unfounded fears

industrious / overly ambitious

innovative / didn’t express his/her potential

inspirational / egotistical

inspired faith / vain

inspired talents of others / sought relationships for personal gain

intelligent / superficial, all words and no action

intuitive, perceptive / unaware of others

light-hearted, cheerful / silly, inane

liked to lead others / used others for his/her own interest

loyal to a cause or idea / overzealous, fanatical

organiser / dictator

practical / rigid, fixed

precise, meticulous / scattered, messy, indiscriminate

productive / sought only material rewards

protective / dictator

prudent / miserly

refined, artistic / pleasure seeker, hedonist

researcher, scientific / superficial

saw the bigger picture / exaggerated

self-assured, progressive / vain, self-seeking

self-sacrificing / demanding

sensitive to all feelings / became irritable or hysterical

sensitive to others / nervous, excitable

understanding / overly emotional

sociable, gregarious / very dependent on others, overly talkative, flighty

sought to merge with the world / wanted others to merge with him/her

steadfast, loyal / stubborn without just reason

straightforward, bold / loud-mouthed, coarse

strong and loyal friend / used others for personal gain

strove for community / imposed his/her ideas on others

teacher, judge / domineering, needed to play the leading role

theatrical, expressive / show-off, boaster

took the initiative / acted with little forethought

trustworthy, loyal / unsympathetic, secretive

understood all human conditions / concerned only with their own desires

understood the world around him/her / poor sense of individuality

vast and inspirational mind / unrealistic

versatile, adaptable / dissipated through lack of purpose

warm, sincere / falsely modest