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

Character Trait: Apathetic

Character Trait Apathetic

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. Apathy is a character trait that is defined by a lack of interest, emotion, or concern about something that would typically evoke strong feelings or reactions from other people. An apathetic character may seem indifferent or disinterested in their surroundings, relationships, or goals, often appearing to lack motivation or enthusiasm. This trait can manifest in various ways, from a general sense of boredom to a complete lack of empathy or compassion towards others.

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

Possible causes of being apathetic

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

  • Learned behavior from role models or cultural norms that value emotional suppression or stoicism
  • Lack of emotional engagement or attachment in childhood or early relationships
  • Chronic stress or burnout that leads to emotional exhaustion and lack of motivation
  • Genetic or biological factors that influence personality traits and temperament
  • Trauma or abuse that leads to emotional numbing or detachment
  • Depression or other mental health conditions that affect emotional regulation and motivation

For detailed feedback on apathetic characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's character development checker.

Behaviors associated with being apathetic

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

  • Lack of emotional response or expression
  • Refusing to engage in conversations or activities
  • Avoiding responsibilities or commitments
  • Having no sense of purpose or direction
  • Indifference to the feelings of others
  • Ignoring or neglecting important issues
  • Being passive or unresponsive
  • Showing no interest or enthusiasm
  • Not caring about the consequences of one's actions

Attitudes associated with being apathetic

You may be able to show apathetic through their attitudes.

  • Inability to feel emotions or connect emotionally with others
  • Passive or unresponsive behavior towards challenges or opportunities
  • Lack of interest or enthusiasm
  • Indifference or dispassion towards people, events, or situations
  • Absence of empathy or concern for others

Thoughts and struggles associated with being apathetic

Here are some ideas for things your apathetic character may think or struggle with.

  • Indifference towards their own well-being or success
  • A lack of empathy towards others, making it hard to form meaningful relationships
  • A tendency to avoid taking action or making decisions
  • Difficulty in feeling emotions or relating to others
  • A feeling of emptiness or numbness, as if life has lost its color or vibrancy
  • A tendency to isolate themselves from others or become withdrawn
  • Struggles with motivation and finding purpose or meaning in life
  • A sense of detachment or disconnection from the world around them
  • Lack of interest or enthusiasm towards people, events or situations

Emotions associated with being apathetic

Here are some ideas for emotions your apathetic character may experience.

  • Passive or resigned attitude
  • Inability to feel empathy or sympathy
  • Disinterested or unconcerned
  • Lack of interest or enthusiasm
  • A sense of boredom or ennui
  • Absence of passion or motivation
  • Emotionally detached or numb
  • Indifference towards others or events
  • Unresponsive or uninvolved

Facial expressions associated with being apathetic

Here are some facial expressions your apathetic character may exhibit.

  • Lack of eye contact or avoidance of eye contact
  • No change in facial expression in response to stimuli
  • Minimal movement or gestures
  • Lack of enthusiasm or energy in speech or tone of voice
  • Blank or emotionless facial expression
  • Slumped or relaxed posture

Body language associated with being apathetic

Here is some body language your apathetic character may exhibit.

  • Slow movements
  • Minimal facial expressions
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Monotone voice or lack of vocal inflection
  • Minimal physical reactions to stimuli
  • Lack of gestures or fidgeting
  • Avoiding physical touch or interaction with others
  • Slumping posture
  • Closed body language (arms crossed, legs crossed)

For detailed feedback on apathetic characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's character development checker.

Behaviors associated with being apathetic

Here are some behaviors your apathetic character may exhibit.

  • Avoiding responsibilities or commitments
  • Not caring about the consequences of one's actions
  • Indifference to the feelings of others
  • Refusing to engage in conversations or activities
  • Showing no interest or enthusiasm
  • Being passive or unresponsive
  • Lack of emotional response or expression
  • Ignoring or neglecting important issues
  • Having no sense of purpose or direction

Growth and evolution of apathetic characters

Here are some ways that your apathetic character may grow and evolve over time.

  • Experience personal loss: Losing someone or something important to them may cause the character to realize the importance of caring and taking action.
  • Develop empathy: The apathetic character may gradually start to understand and care about the struggles of others, leading to a newfound sense of empathy.
  • Learn from others: Interacting with other characters who are passionate and motivated may inspire the apathetic character to change and grow.
  • Find a cause: The character may discover a cause or mission that they are passionate about, giving them a sense of purpose and motivating them to take action.
  • Confront internal conflict: The character may struggle with their own internal conflicts and emotions, leading to a deeper understanding of themselves and their motivations.
  • Face consequences: The consequences of their apathetic behavior may catch up to them, forcing the character to confront their lack of action and take responsibility.

Stereotypes of apathetic characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical apathetic character like these examples.

  • Avoid using apathy as a crutch for lazy writing. Make sure the character's lack of interest serves a purpose in the story and is not just a means of avoiding conflict or drama.
  • Don't make the apathetic character too one-dimensional. They should have other characteristics and qualities that make them unique and interesting.
  • Don't make the apathetic character a caricature. While it can be tempting to play up the stereotype of the disinterested slacker, this can come across as lazy and unoriginal.
  • Avoid making the apathetic character completely emotionless or robotic. Even if they are disinterested, they should still have some level of emotional depth and complexity.

Negatives of being apathetic

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

  • Difficulty in forming and maintaining relationships
  • Indifference towards important issues or events
  • Inability to empathize with others
  • Inconsistent or lack of performance in work or personal life
  • Tendency to avoid responsibilities and obligations
  • Lack of motivation and enthusiasm
  • Risk of being perceived as cold or heartless

Positives of being apathetic

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

  • Apathy can be a sign of independence and self-reliance, as people who are apathetic may be less likely to be swayed by the opinions and emotions of others.
  • Apathetic people tend to stay calm and level-headed in stressful situations, which can be an asset in certain professions or settings.
  • Apathy can give people the ability to detach themselves emotionally from difficult or painful situations, allowing them to handle them with a greater degree of objectivity.
  • Apathy can be a coping mechanism for people who have experienced trauma or difficult life circumstances, helping them to protect themselves emotionally.

Verbal expressions of apathetic characters

Here are some potential expressions used by apathetic characters.

  • "I'm indifferent"
  • "I don't care"
  • "I couldn't care less"
  • "I have no opinion"
  • "Whatever"
  • "I'm too tired to care"
  • "Why bother?"
  • "It's not my problem"
  • "I don't feel strongly about it"
  • "It doesn't matter"
  • "I'm not interested"

Relationships of apathetic characters

Here are some ways that being apathetic could affect your character's relationships.

  • They may have difficulty recognizing or responding to the emotional needs of those around them, which can create tension and conflict in their relationships.
  • They may struggle to express themselves emotionally, leading to misunderstandings or miscommunications with others.
  • Apathetic people may be perceived as aloof or unapproachable, which can make it challenging to build rapport or establish trust in their relationships.
  • They may have a tendency to withdraw or isolate themselves from others, particularly in times of stress or emotional turmoil.
  • Apathetic individuals may be perceived as indifferent or uncaring, which can strain their relationships with others.
  • Apathetic people may have difficulty forming deep emotional connections with others.
  • Apathetic individuals may struggle to empathize with others, making it difficult for them to understand or relate to the feelings and experiences of those around them.
  • They may come across as distant or detached in their relationships.

Examples from books of characters who are apathetic

  • Gregor Samsa from "The Metamorphosis" by Franz Kafka
  • Esther Greenwood from "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath
  • Bartleby from "Bartleby, the Scrivener" by Herman Melville
  • Tyler Durden from "Fight Club" by Chuck Palahniuk
  • Meursault from "The Stranger" by Albert Camus
  • Patrick Bateman from "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Ivan Ilyich from "The Death of Ivan Ilyich" by Leo Tolstoy
  • Winston Smith from "1984" by George Orwell
  • Holden Caulfield from "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger

Writing exercises for writing apathetic characters

Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write apathetic characters.

  • Write a scene where your character is surrounded by a group of people who are passionate about something, but your character remains indifferent to the discussion.
  • Write a scene where your character observes something that would typically evoke a strong emotional response in others, but they remain unaffected.
  • Write a scene where your character is faced with a decision that could significantly impact their life, but they can't seem to care enough to make a choice.
  • Write a scene where your character is confronted by someone who is trying to motivate them or inspire them to take action, but your character remains unmoved.
  • Write a scene where your character is forced to confront the consequences of their apathy and how it has affected those around them.
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