As an author on social media, I encounter a lot of posts by other authors. Many of them I pass on by but some of them are quite interesting. Then there are those that are odd.
I recently came across a post that was asking about weaknesses and main characters. This is an interesting topic because it delves into characterization.
I noticed that one of the responses was what I can only describe as a resume weakness. It was the kind of weakness that you give in response to an interview question asking what your greatest weakness in the workplace is.
I have to call this a cheater cheater Pumpkin Eater. If the greatest weakness that your character has is that they "try too hard to save people" or they "work too hard" to support their family, that's not a weakness. That's a virtue.
A real character weakness is one that makes the character somehow flawed, not a better person. If your character's weakness is actually a virtue, that does not make them more real, and it doesn't make them more relatable.
Resume weaknesses do not improve characterization. They do not improve your character as a relatable person. They do not make your writing better.
They do turn your character into a Mary Sue. They turn your character into an idealized version of whoever you are trying to characterize. And they make your character into someone who isn't as relatable.
No matter how hard we try to turn our weaknesses into subtle virtues, weaknesses are weaknesses. Flaws are flaws. And characters are people that should have both weaknesses and flaws, as well as virtues and nobility. Otherwise there just a cardboard cutout of a character.