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Inspiration Decks Character Traits 2023-12-02 00:00

Character Trait: Anti-social

Character Trait Anti-social

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait "anti-social" refers to a personality type that is withdrawn, isolated, and uninterested in socializing with others. Anti-social characters tend to keep to themselves, avoid social interactions, and may even exhibit a degree of hostility towards others. They may have difficulty expressing their emotions and forming meaningful relationships, and may appear aloof or unapproachable to others. It is important to note that the term "anti-social" is often used interchangeably with "asocial," but they are not the same thing. Asocial behavior simply refers to a lack of interest in socializing, while anti-social behavior is more actively hostile towards others.

Contents:
  1. Possible causes of being anti-social
  2. Behaviors associated with being anti-social
  3. Attitudes associated with being anti-social
  4. Thoughts and struggles associated with being anti-social
  5. Emotions associated with being anti-social
  6. Facial expressions associated with being anti-social
  7. Body language associated with being anti-social
  8. Behaviors associated with being anti-social
  9. Growth and evolution of anti-social characters
  10. Stereotypes of anti-social characters to avoid
  11. Negatives of being anti-social
  12. Positives of being anti-social
  13. Verbal expressions of anti-social characters
  14. Relationships of anti-social characters
  15. Examples from books of characters who are anti-social
  16. Writing exercises for writing anti-social characters

Possible causes of being anti-social

You might want to weave these into your character's back story to build a more believable character.

  • Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, or personality disorders.
  • Lack of positive role models or social support
  • Substance abuse or addiction
  • Genetic factors or hereditary traits
  • Environmental factors such as poverty or exposure to violence
  • Childhood trauma, neglect, or abuse
  • Cognitive distortions or skewed beliefs about social norms and rules
  • Poor impulse control or emotional regulation

Please note that these are just some examples and that each individual's experience is unique. It is important to approach this topic with empathy and understanding, and to seek professional help if needed.

For detailed feedback on anti-social characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's writing feedback tool.

Behaviors associated with being anti-social

You may be able to show your character's trait of anti-social by using these.

  • Ignoring social norms or breaking rules
  • Lying or being deceitful
  • Being indifferent to the feelings of others
  • Feeling uncomfortable or anxious when interacting with others
  • Refusing to take responsibility for one's actions
  • Engaging in destructive or harmful behaviors
  • Showing little interest in building relationships or friendships
  • Being easily irritated or angered by others
  • Avoiding social situations or interactions
  • Showing little empathy or concern for others

Attitudes associated with being anti-social

You may be able to show anti-social through their attitudes.

  • A lack of interest in socializing or interacting with others
  • A tendency to be critical or judgmental of others
  • A tendency to be solitary and prefer spending time alone
  • Disdain for social norms and expectations
  • A lack of empathy or concern for others
  • Difficulty forming and maintaining relationships
  • A belief that socializing is a waste of time or energy
  • A preference for activities that can be done alone
  • Feeling uncomfortable in social situations

Thoughts and struggles associated with being anti-social

Here are some ideas for things your anti-social character may think or struggle with.

  • A sense of superiority or disdain towards others
  • Difficulty in expressing emotions or empathizing with others
  • Tendency to isolate oneself from others
  • Difficulty in forming and maintaining social relationships
  • A preference for solitude and introspection
  • Discomfort in social situations, particularly large groups or unfamiliar settings
  • A tendency towards cynicism or pessimism
  • Lack of interest in typical social activities or hobbies
  • Feeling misunderstood or judged by those around them

Emotions associated with being anti-social

Here are some ideas for emotions your anti-social character may experience.

  • Isolation or withdrawal from others
  • Lack of interest in social norms or expectations
  • Avoidance of social gatherings or interactions
  • Fear or anxiety in social situations
  • Inability to understand or empathize with others' emotions
  • Difficulty in forming or maintaining relationships
  • Suspicion or distrust of others
  • Discomfort in social situations
  • Tendency to be self-centered or focused on personal interests

Facial expressions associated with being anti-social

Here are some facial expressions your anti-social character may exhibit.

  • Crossing their arms or placing hands in pockets
  • Looking away or turning their head
  • Raised eyebrows indicating surprise or annoyance
  • Tightening of the lips
  • A tense or guarded posture
  • Clenched jaw
  • Frowning or scowling
  • A blank or expressionless face
  • Avoiding eye contact

Body language associated with being anti-social

Here is some body language your anti-social character may exhibit.

  • Standing or sitting with a closed-off posture
  • Turning away from others or angling the body away
  • Clenching fists or fidgeting
  • Crossing arms or hunching shoulders
  • Avoiding physical touch or personal space intrusion
  • Remaining silent or giving short, curt responses
  • Avoiding eye contact or staring at the ground

For detailed feedback on anti-social characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's writing feedback tool.

Behaviors associated with being anti-social

Here are some behaviors your anti-social character may exhibit.

  • Showing little interest in building relationships or friendships
  • Feeling uncomfortable or anxious when interacting with others
  • Being easily irritated or angered by others
  • Lying or being deceitful
  • Refusing to take responsibility for one's actions
  • Being indifferent to the feelings of others
  • Engaging in destructive or harmful behaviors
  • Avoiding social situations or interactions
  • Ignoring social norms or breaking rules
  • Showing little empathy or concern for others

Growth and evolution of anti-social characters

Here are some ways that your anti-social character may grow and evolve over time.

  • Learn to trust others: An anti-social character may begin the story with a deep-seated distrust of others. As the story progresses, they may learn to trust certain individuals and form meaningful relationships.
  • Form meaningful connections: Anti-social characters may have difficulty forming deep, meaningful connections with others. As the story progresses, they may form important bonds with other characters and find a sense of belonging.
  • Confront their own flaws: Anti-social characters may have their own flaws and issues that contribute to their difficulties in connecting with others. Over the course of the story, they may confront these flaws and work to overcome them.
  • Develop empathy: Anti-social characters may struggle to connect with others on an emotional level. Through the course of the story, they may learn to see things from other people's perspectives and develop a sense of empathy.
  • Learn to communicate effectively: Anti-social characters may struggle with communication and expressing themselves. Through the story, they may learn to articulate their thoughts and feelings in a way that others can understand.
  • Take responsibility for their actions: Anti-social characters may be prone to avoiding responsibility or blaming others for their problems. Through the story, they may learn to take responsibility for their own actions and make amends when necessary.

Stereotypes of anti-social characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical anti-social character like these examples.

  • Avoid making the character a genius or mastermind solely because of their anti-social tendencies.
  • Avoid making the character completely isolated from society without any reason or explanation.
  • Avoid making the character rely solely on negative coping mechanisms such as substance abuse or self-harm.
  • Avoid making the character completely emotionless or apathetic towards others.
  • Avoid making the character a caricature of mental illness or personality disorders.
  • Avoid making the character a stereotype of a particular race, gender, or sexual orientation.
  • Avoid making the character a one-dimensional villain with no redeeming qualities.
  • Avoid making the character overly aggressive or violent without any justification.

Negatives of being anti-social

Here are some potential negatives of being anti-social. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.

  • Limited social support system
  • Negative impact on career and educational opportunities
  • Higher likelihood of substance abuse and addiction
  • Tendency towards isolation and withdrawal
  • Inability to connect with others on an emotional level
  • Increased risk of depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty in navigating social situations and expressing oneself effectively
  • Difficulty in forming and maintaining relationships

Positives of being anti-social

Here are some potential positives of being anti-social. Note: These are subjective and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.

  • They may have a strong sense of personal boundaries and know how to protect their own interests.
  • Anti-social individuals often have a rich inner world and can be highly imaginative.
  • Anti-social individuals can be highly focused and driven when it comes to achieving their goals.
  • Being anti-social can give a person more time for introspection and self-reflection.
  • Anti-social people are often good at observing and analyzing situations, which can help them in problem-solving.
  • They tend to be independent and self-reliant, which can be a valuable trait in certain circumstances.

Verbal expressions of anti-social characters

Here are some potential expressions used by anti-social characters.

  • Refusing invitations to social events
  • Withdrawing from group activities
  • Showing little interest in making friends
  • Being unresponsive or indifferent to others
  • Resisting social norms or expectations
  • Being perceived as aloof or distant
  • Rarely initiating conversations
  • Exhibiting a lack of empathy or concern for others
  • Avoiding eye contact

Relationships of anti-social characters

Here are some ways that being anti-social could affect your character's relationships.

  • Anti-social individuals may have a history of manipulation or exploitation in relationships, using others for their own gain.
  • They may be perceived as aloof or distant, and have trouble empathizing with others.
  • They may have a history of engaging in risky or illegal behaviors, which can strain relationships with loved ones and lead to legal consequences.
  • Anti-social individuals may also struggle with authority figures or rules, leading to conflicts in social or work environments.
  • They may have a tendency to be aggressive or confrontational in interactions with others.
  • Anti-social people may have difficulty forming close relationships with others.

Examples from books of characters who are anti-social

  • Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Tyler Durden from "Fight Club" by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Randle McMurphy from "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" by Ken Kesey
  • Ignatius J. Reilly from "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole
  • Holden Caulfield from "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
  • Hannibal Lecter from "The Silence of the Lambs" by Thomas Harris
  • Alex from "A Clockwork Orange" by Anthony Burgess
  • Humbert Humbert from "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Dexter Morgan from "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" by Jeff Lindsay

Writing exercises for writing anti-social characters

Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write anti-social characters.

  • Write a scene where the character is forced to interact with others, but their discomfort is evident through their body language and tone of voice.
  • Have the character observe a social situation from a distance, commenting on the behavior of others without participating themselves.
  • Create a backstory for the character that explains why they have difficulty connecting with others.
  • Write a scene where the character is in a group setting but intentionally isolates themselves, such as sitting in a corner or avoiding eye contact.
  • Write a dialogue where the character responds with short or one-word answers, displaying their reluctance to engage in conversation.
  • Develop a list of the character's hobbies or interests that they pursue alone, highlighting their preference for solitude.
  • Write a scene where the character avoids a social gathering and instead chooses to spend time alone.
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