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

Character Trait: Avoidant

Character Trait Avoidant

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. Avoidant is a personality trait that refers to the tendency of an individual to avoid or withdraw from social situations, relationships, or other forms of interpersonal contact due to fear of rejection, criticism, or humiliation. People with this trait may feel uncomfortable or anxious in situations that require them to interact with others and may avoid them altogether. They may also have a strong desire for independence and self-sufficiency, often preferring to work alone or engage in solitary activities. Overall, avoidant individuals tend to prioritize emotional safety and security over social engagement and connection.

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

Possible causes of being avoidant

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

  • Low self-esteem or confidence
  • Overprotective or controlling parents
  • Social anxiety or phobia
  • Childhood experiences of rejection, criticism, or neglect
  • Fear of intimacy or vulnerability
  • Genetic predisposition to anxiety disorders
  • Trauma or abuse
  • Cultural or societal norms that discourage emotional expression or individuality

For detailed feedback on avoidant characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's narrative evaluation tool.

Behaviors associated with being avoidant

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

  • Difficulty with making decisions and taking risks
  • Avoiding conflict and confrontation
  • Avoiding social situations and interactions
  • Being overly sensitive to criticism and feedback
  • Tendency to be overly self-critical and self-blaming
  • Struggling with feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth
  • Feeling overwhelmed by deadlines and responsibilities
  • Preferring to work alone rather than in groups or teams
  • Fear of rejection and criticism from others

Attitudes associated with being avoidant

You may be able to show avoidant through their attitudes.

  • Tendency to isolate oneself from others
  • Fear of rejection or criticism
  • Difficulty expressing emotions or needs
  • Anxiety or discomfort in social situations
  • Self-doubt and low self-esteem
  • Perfectionism and setting unrealistic expectations
  • Avoiding conflict or difficult conversations

Thoughts and struggles associated with being avoidant

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

  • Difficulty expressing emotions or thoughts to others
  • Tendency to isolate oneself from others
  • Fear of failure or disapproval
  • Fear of rejection or criticism
  • Difficulty forming close relationships
  • Avoidance of social situations or public speaking
  • Overthinking and excessive worrying
  • Self-doubt and low self-esteem
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection

Emotions associated with being avoidant

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

  • Fear of failure
  • Isolation
  • Insecurity
  • Fear of rejection
  • Self-doubt
  • Avoidance of conflict
  • Anxiety in social situations
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Low self-esteem

Facial expressions associated with being avoidant

Here are some facial expressions your avoidant character may exhibit.

  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Nervous or hesitant smiles
  • Looking down or away from others
  • Wrinkled forehead or raised eyebrows
  • Tightening or pursing of lips
  • Blushing or flushing of the face
  • Clenched jaw or tense facial muscles
  • Frowning or scowling

Body language associated with being avoidant

Here is some body language your avoidant character may exhibit.

  • Speaking softly or in a monotone voice to avoid being heard or standing out
  • Taking small steps or moving slowly to avoid drawing attention to themselves
  • Crossing their arms or legs as a form of self-protection
  • Avoiding eye contact or looking away frequently
  • Hesitating or pausing before speaking, as if unsure of what to say
  • Tensing their jaw or facial muscles as a sign of stress or discomfort
  • Fidgeting or playing with small objects to distract themselves
  • Slouching or appearing physically small to make themselves less noticeable

For detailed feedback on avoidant characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's narrative evaluation tool.

Behaviors associated with being avoidant

Here are some behaviors your avoidant character may exhibit.

  • Avoiding conflict and confrontation
  • Avoiding social situations and interactions
  • Difficulty with making decisions and taking risks
  • Tendency to be overly self-critical and self-blaming
  • Preferring to work alone rather than in groups or teams
  • Fear of rejection and criticism from others
  • Being overly sensitive to criticism and feedback
  • Feeling overwhelmed by deadlines and responsibilities
  • Struggling with feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth

Growth and evolution of avoidant characters

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

  • Develop effective communication skills and become more open about their feelings and thoughts
  • Gradually confront their fears and become more assertive in their actions and decisions
  • Develop a greater sense of self-awareness and understanding of their own emotions and behavior
  • Learn to trust others and build meaningful relationships
  • Learn to set healthy boundaries and stand up for themselves when necessary
  • Overcome their tendency to avoid difficult situations and instead face them head-on
  • Build self-confidence and self-esteem, enabling them to believe in their abilities and talents
  • Challenge their negative self-talk and replace it with positive affirmations and thoughts

Stereotypes of avoidant characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical avoidant character like these examples.

  • Being overly anxious and paranoid about any interaction with others
  • Being completely socially isolated and unable to form any relationships
  • Being completely emotionless and detached from any situation
  • Having no interests or hobbies outside of their avoidance
  • Being extremely passive and never taking any initiative

Negatives of being avoidant

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

  • Avoidant individuals may struggle with decision-making and taking action, as they may fear making the wrong choice or being judged for their actions.
  • Avoiding social interactions and relationships can lead to loneliness and isolation.
  • The tendency to avoid conflict and difficult conversations can lead to unresolved issues and resentment in relationships.
  • Avoidant individuals may struggle to express their emotions and needs, which can make it difficult to form meaningful connections with others.
  • The fear of rejection and criticism can prevent avoidant individuals from taking risks and pursuing their goals.

Positives of being avoidant

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

  • Excellent at planning and preparation
  • Strong sense of self-awareness and introspection
  • Often very loyal and committed to relationships and causes
  • Highly creative and imaginative
  • Highly independent and self-reliant
  • Very observant and detail-oriented
  • Very empathetic and intuitive
  • Great at problem-solving and critical thinking

Verbal expressions of avoidant characters

Here are some potential expressions used by avoidant characters.

  • "I don't want to be a bother."
  • "I'm not ready to share my thoughts/feelings."
  • "I'm not sure if I can handle this."
  • "I'm not comfortable in social situations."
  • "I don't like confrontation."
  • "I'm not good at expressing myself."
  • "I'd rather be alone right now."
  • "I don't like to be the center of attention."
  • "I don't want to talk about it."

Relationships of avoidant characters

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

  • They may avoid emotional conversations or situations that require them to express their feelings.
  • Avoidant individuals may also struggle with expressing affection or providing emotional support to their partners, which can lead to feelings of neglect or emotional distance.
  • Avoidant people may struggle with forming close relationships due to their fear of intimacy and vulnerability.
  • In some cases, avoidant people may exhibit a push-pull dynamic, where they alternate between seeking closeness and pulling away when they feel too vulnerable.
  • In relationships, they may prioritize independence and personal space, often becoming overwhelmed or feeling trapped if they feel their partner is too clingy or demanding.

Examples from books of characters who are avoidant

  • Holden Caulfield from "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
  • Katniss Everdeen from "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
  • Esther Greenwood from "The Bell Jar" by Sylvia Plath
  • Bilbo Baggins from "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Christopher John Francis Boone from "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" by Mark Haddon
  • Dexter Morgan from "Darkly Dreaming Dexter" by Jeff Lindsay
  • Harry Potter from "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" by J.K. Rowling
  • Eleanor Oliphant from "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine" by Gail Honeyman
  • Scout Finch from "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee

Writing exercises for writing avoidant characters

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

  • Create a dialogue between your Avoidant character and someone they trust. How do they express their feelings of inadequacy or fear of rejection? Do they have difficulty opening up or do they withdraw entirely?
  • Start by researching the Avoidant personality disorder or traits to gain a deeper understanding of the characteristics associated with it.
  • Write a scene where your Avoidant character is faced with a situation that triggers their fear of rejection or social anxiety. How do they react? Do they avoid the situation altogether, or do they try to confront it?
  • Write a scene where your Avoidant character is forced to confront their fears and overcome them. This could be a small victory, like introducing themselves to someone new, or a more significant triumph, like giving a public speech or joining a social club.
  • Consider the impact of Avoidant traits on your character's relationships. Write a scene where your character is struggling to connect with someone they care about. How does their Avoidant behavior affect the relationship, and how do they ultimately resolve the conflict?
  • Create a character sketch or profile for your Avoidant character. Consider their background, childhood experiences, and any significant life events that may have contributed to their Avoidant tendencies.
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