We want dirt and we want to see characters struggle. They need to get shot down, get back on their feet, trip themselves up, and then keep going.
Not all characters will take everyone's fancy. That doesn't mean that they are ill-written. It could be they just rub us the wrong way.
Some characters irk me. They get under my skin and provoke a reaction from me. It sure beats dull, but that doesn't stop me from rolling my eyes, curling my toes and grunting in aggravation.
A lot of characters I have come across that I don't like, other readers adore. Part of me would like to just dismiss them as nutters, but I know that this works both ways. There are books I like and fictional characters that click with me that make other people go, "Ugh!"
Unattractive personal traits make a character more realistic, but they don't always make them really likeable.
Have you ever read a book where a character did something that you could never relate to or understand?
Have you read a book where a character did something that you might not do but you can understand what has lead them to take a decision or make a certain mistake?
Everyone responds to books differently. We like to relate to the books we read in some way, but also experience something new through unfamiliar eyes. Of course, that doesn't mean that we can't find a character’s actions or attributes tedious.
I often hear readers go on and on about how much they love a particular character, usually a romantic love interest, and I am flabbergasted. Then I hear others raging about a protagonist's irrational actions and horrible personal traits. They rant on about how annoying they are or a certain habit they have.
In that second scenario, I sometimes find myself thinking, I relate to that character. I have that trait. Yet, I understand where these readers are coming from. How embarrassing!
Everyone is different and no one is perfect. We all feel and do different things. So if you're finding contradictory opinions on fictional characters - whether they might be ones you like or not - then writers are doing their duty to reflect reality and avoid the mundane.
Do you find yourself being drawn to characters that other people find tedious? Have you ever related to a fictional character's fatal flaw?