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

Character Trait: Bossy

Character Trait Bossy

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait "bossy" is often used to describe someone who likes to be in control and give orders to others. Such a person may be domineering, pushy, and overbearing, often imposing their will on others without regard for their feelings or perspectives. While some may view bossiness as a negative trait, it can also be a positive one if channeled correctly, as it can demonstrate leadership skills and a strong sense of initiative.

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

Possible causes of being bossy

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

  • Struggling with feelings of insecurity or inadequacy, leading them to assert dominance over others as a way to compensate
  • Experiencing a lack of control or power in other areas of their life, leading them to overcompensate in their interactions with others
  • Being raised in an environment where assertiveness and dominance were valued and rewarded
  • Having had negative experiences with being too passive or accommodating in the past, leading to a desire to always be in control
  • Being praised or rewarded for bossy behavior in the past, leading to the belief that it is an effective way to get what they want

For detailed feedback on bossy characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's narrative quality assessment.

Behaviors associated with being bossy

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

  • Taking credit for others' work or ideas
  • Telling others what to do without considering their opinions
  • Micromanaging tasks that are not their responsibility
  • Using a commanding tone of voice or body language
  • Expecting others to follow their lead without question
  • Refusing to compromise or collaborate with others
  • Ignoring or dismissing feedback or criticism from others
  • Belittling or criticizing others' ideas or work
  • Interrupting others while they are speaking

Attitudes associated with being bossy

You may be able to show bossy through their attitudes.

  • A need for control over situations and people
  • A tendency to give orders rather than collaborate or compromise
  • A desire to be in charge or take credit for others' work
  • A belief that their way is the only right way
  • An unwillingness to listen to others' opinions or ideas
  • A tendency to micromanage or nitpick details
  • A lack of empathy or consideration for others' feelings and needs

Thoughts and struggles associated with being bossy

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

  • They may also struggle with vulnerability and admitting their mistakes, feeling that it would undermine their authority and competence.
  • They may struggle with trusting others and delegating tasks, feeling that they are the only ones who can do things correctly.
  • They may struggle with empathy and understanding others' perspectives, leading to a lack of consideration for others' feelings and needs.
  • They may be prone to micromanaging and criticizing others, which can lead to tension and conflict in relationships.
  • They may feel a sense of superiority and entitlement, believing that their way is the only correct way and that others should follow their lead.
  • A bossy character may have a strong need for control and order, which can stem from a fear of chaos or insecurity.

Emotions associated with being bossy

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

  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Irritability
  • Intimidation
  • Condescension
  • Dominance
  • Impatience
  • Arrogance
  • Control

Facial expressions associated with being bossy

Here are some facial expressions your bossy character may exhibit.

  • Scowling or frowning
  • Raised eyebrows
  • Pointed or wagging finger
  • Flared nostrils
  • Raised chin
  • Narrowed eyes
  • Pursed lips
  • Squinting
  • Tightened jawline

Body language associated with being bossy

Here is some body language your bossy character may exhibit.

  • Pointing or jabbing finger gestures
  • Interrupting others while they're speaking
  • Speaking in a loud, commanding voice
  • Using dismissive hand gestures, such as waving someone away
  • Pacing or walking aggressively
  • Crossing arms in front of the chest
  • Frowning or scowling
  • Standing straight and tall with shoulders squared
  • Making direct eye contact while speaking

For detailed feedback on bossy characters and other aspects of your writing, try ProWritingAid's narrative quality assessment.

Behaviors associated with being bossy

Here are some behaviors your bossy character may exhibit.

  • Expecting others to follow their lead without question
  • Using a commanding tone of voice or body language
  • Refusing to compromise or collaborate with others
  • Belittling or criticizing others' ideas or work
  • Telling others what to do without considering their opinions
  • Ignoring or dismissing feedback or criticism from others
  • Taking credit for others' work or ideas
  • Interrupting others while they are speaking
  • Micromanaging tasks that are not their responsibility

Growth and evolution of bossy characters

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

  • Learning to listen to others and considering their opinions
  • Developing empathy and understanding towards others' perspectives and feelings
  • Letting go of control and allowing others to take the lead
  • Becoming a more collaborative and supportive team member
  • Learning to communicate assertively rather than aggressively or domineeringly
  • Recognizing their own limitations and weaknesses and seeking help from others
  • Realizing the negative impact of their bossy behavior on others and making efforts to change it
  • Learning to delegate and trust others to take on tasks and responsibilities

Stereotypes of bossy characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical bossy character like these examples.

  • They are sometimes shown as being incompetent in their job or position, but still demanding others to follow their orders.
  • Bossy characters are often portrayed as bullies, using their power and influence to manipulate and control others.
  • Bossy characters are often depicted as having a one-track mind, focused solely on achieving their goals at any cost, even if it means hurting others.
  • They are often portrayed as being selfish and uncaring about the needs and feelings of those around them.
  • Bossy characters are often shown as being inflexible, unwilling to compromise or listen to the opinions of others.
  • They are sometimes depicted as being irrational and short-tempered, prone to outbursts of anger and aggression.
  • The bossy character is always loud and aggressive, constantly shouting orders and belittling others.

While some of these traits may be necessary for a bossy character, it's important for writers to avoid relying on stereotypes and instead create a nuanced and realistic portrayal of their character.

Negatives of being bossy

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

  • Being bossy can lead to a lack of collaboration and teamwork, as others may feel excluded or undervalued.
  • They may have difficulty building and maintaining positive relationships with others.
  • They may struggle to listen to others' opinions or take feedback.
  • Bossy people often come across as controlling and domineering.
  • Bossy individuals can be perceived as intimidating or threatening to those around them.

Positives of being bossy

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

  • They have strong leadership skills and can take charge when necessary.
  • Bossy people can be great at motivating others and pushing them to reach their potential.
  • They are often able to stand up for themselves and others, which can be helpful in difficult situations.
  • They are often good at delegating tasks and getting things done efficiently.
  • Bossy people tend to be confident and assertive.
  • Bossy people are usually clear and direct in their communication, which can prevent confusion or misunderstandings.

Verbal expressions of bossy characters

Here are some potential expressions used by bossy characters.

  • "I'm in charge"
  • "Do as I say"
  • "You need to listen to me"
  • "I know what's best"
  • "Just do it"
  • "My way or the highway"
  • "I'm not asking, I'm telling you"
  • "Stop questioning me"
  • "I don't have time for this"
  • "I'll take charge"

Relationships of bossy characters

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

  • Bossy people may have difficulty building trust and rapport with others, as their overbearing nature can be off-putting and intimidating.
  • They may struggle to accept criticism or differing opinions, leading to tension and conflict in relationships.
  • Bossy people often have a tendency to dominate conversations and decision-making processes, potentially causing others to feel ignored or undervalued.
  • They may have a tendency to micromanage or control situations, leading others to feel suffocated or disempowered.
  • Bossy individuals may also struggle with delegating tasks and trusting others to complete them to their standards.

Examples from books of characters who are bossy

  • Cersei Lannister from "A Song of Ice and Fire" series by George R.R. Martin
  • Scarlett O'Hara from "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell
  • Mrs. Danvers from "Rebecca" by Daphne du Maurier
  • Amy Dunne from "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn
  • Aunt Alexandra from "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee
  • Lady Catherine de Bourgh from "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen
  • Dolores Umbridge from the "Harry Potter" series by J.K. Rowling
  • The Queen of Hearts from "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll
  • Miranda Priestly from "The Devil Wears Prada" by Lauren Weisberger

Writing exercises for writing bossy characters

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

  • Write a scene where the character takes charge of a situation without being asked to do so.
  • Write a scene where the character imposes their opinions or preferences on others, even if it goes against their wishes or desires.
  • Create a conversation where the character interrupts others or talks over them to get their point across.
  • Have the character use their body language to assert dominance or intimidate others, such as standing too close or using a stern tone of voice.
  • Have the character delegate tasks to others without giving them a choice or opportunity to decline.
  • Create a situation where the character is always the one making decisions, even if they are not the most qualified or knowledgeable person in the group.
  • Write a scene where the character demands respect or obedience from others, even if they don't have authority over them.
  • Create a scenario where the character belittles or undermines others, especially those who challenge their authority or expertise.
  • Write a scene where the character becomes angry or frustrated when things don't go their way or when others question their decisions.
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