Humans are multi-faceted beings. Our personalities are complex. We take on different roles and reveal various aspects of our selves, depending on our social environment and who we’re with.
Those social roles are the personas we play when we interact with the world. Personas aren’t a bad thing and they don’t mean that you’re being phony in one situation or another. There’s a good reason you have a different attitude with your parents and your children. The person you become at work is not the person you are when you are relaxing with close friends.
Consider how this concept plays out in your life, as a child, parent, spouse, friend, worker, or any other role. Does one of these roles feel more natural to you? Do they feel generally integrated? Does one cause you distress?
Now consider this idea in light of your characters. Who does your heroine become when she’s surrounded by friends, family, or lovers? How does your protagonist behave differently when he’s at work, at home, or at the bowling alley?
Again, these personas are often very useful, so it’s not necessary to judge them. But do consider how your characters change and which aspects of themselves they reveal when they move from one social environment to another. Are their personas integrated? Is there a role they play begrudgingly? Is one of their faces completely false?
Spend some time digging into these character layers and see if any revelations come to you.