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

Character Trait: Complacent

Character Trait Complacent

To engage your reader, it's important to always show not tell the traits of your characters. The character trait Complacent refers to a state of being satisfied with one's achievements or situation to the point of becoming lazy or unambitious. A complacent character is one who is content with the status quo and is unwilling to put in the effort to improve or strive for something better. This trait can often lead to a lack of motivation and a reluctance to take risks, which can be detrimental to personal growth and success.

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

Possible causes of being complacent

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

  • Comfort with the familiar and resistance to change
  • Passive or submissive personality traits
  • Fear of failure or rejection
  • Lack of external pressures or challenges to push oneself
  • Past successes leading to complacency
  • Feeling content with current circumstances
  • Low self-esteem or self-worth
  • Lack of motivation or ambition
  • Overconfidence in abilities or accomplishments

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

Behaviors associated with being complacent

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

  • Refusing to take responsibility for one's actions
  • Being content with the status quo
  • Over-reliance on past successes
  • Settling for mediocrity
  • Lack of ambition or drive
  • Ignoring potential problems or threats
  • Not seeking new knowledge or skills
  • Resisting change or new ideas
  • Avoiding challenges or risks

Attitudes associated with being complacent

You may be able to show complacent through their attitudes.

  • Belief that things will always remain the same
  • Overconfidence in current abilities or accomplishments
  • Apathy towards challenges or opportunities
  • Disinterest in personal growth or development
  • Lack of motivation to improve or change
  • Contentment with the status quo
  • Resistance to taking risks or trying new things

Thoughts and struggles associated with being complacent

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

  • Justifying their lack of achievement by blaming external factors
  • Struggling with feelings of guilt or regret for not pursuing their dreams
  • Lack of motivation or drive to achieve anything beyond their current situation
  • Feeling stuck in their current circumstances
  • Rationalizing their lack of action or effort
  • Fear of change or taking risks
  • Suppressing their own desires and needs to avoid discomfort or conflict
  • Ignoring warning signs or red flags in their life or relationships
  • Feeling envious or resentful of others who are achieving success or taking risks

Emotions associated with being complacent

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

  • Satisfaction with the status quo
  • Acceptance of mediocrity
  • Apathy towards change
  • Comfort with familiarity and routine
  • Feeling of being "good enough"
  • Contentment with minimal effort or output
  • Disinterest in personal growth or development
  • Resistance to taking risks
  • Lack of ambition or drive to improve

Facial expressions associated with being complacent

Here are some facial expressions your complacent character may exhibit.

  • A lack of interest in engaging with others or the surroundings
  • A lack of tension in the face muscles
  • Closed or half-closed eyes
  • A downward gaze, looking slightly bored
  • A slight smile, without showing teeth
  • A relaxed, almost indifferent expression
  • A casual shrug or slouch in the shoulders

Body language associated with being complacent

Here is some body language your complacent character may exhibit.

  • Crossing arms or legs
  • Avoiding physical contact or interaction
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Slouching or leaning back in a chair
  • Minimal gestures and movements
  • Slow or lazy movements
  • Lack of facial expressions or smiles

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

Behaviors associated with being complacent

Here are some behaviors your complacent character may exhibit.

  • Ignoring potential problems or threats
  • Not seeking new knowledge or skills
  • Refusing to take responsibility for one's actions
  • Resisting change or new ideas
  • Settling for mediocrity
  • Over-reliance on past successes
  • Avoiding challenges or risks
  • Lack of ambition or drive
  • Being content with the status quo

Growth and evolution of complacent characters

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

  • Finding a balance between contentment and growth
  • Developing a sense of purpose and finding something they are passionate about
  • Taking on new challenges and stepping out of their comfort zone
  • Recognizing the value of relationships and actively investing in them
  • Challenging their beliefs and opening up to new perspectives
  • Confronting their fears and taking risks they would have avoided before
  • Learning from past mistakes and making better choices
  • Acknowledging their flaws and actively working to improve themselves

Stereotypes of complacent characters to avoid

Try to avoid writing stereotypical complacent character like these examples.

  • Resistance to change or new ideas
  • Ignoring or dismissing problems or challenges
  • Unwillingness to take risks
  • Being comfortable with mediocrity or average performance
  • Tendency to settle for less than one deserves or is capable of achieving
  • Dependence on others to make decisions or take action
  • Narrow-mindedness or close-mindedness
  • Lack of ambition or drive
  • Inability to see one's own faults or flaws

Negatives of being complacent

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

  • Decreased creativity and innovation
  • Decreased ability to adapt to change and challenges
  • Stagnation in personal and professional growth
  • Tendency to settle for less than what one is capable of achieving
  • Risk of missing out on opportunities for improvement and success
  • Possible loss of motivation and enthusiasm
  • Lack of ambition and drive

Positives of being complacent

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

  • Being able to maintain a work-life balance and prioritize leisure time
  • Feeling content and satisfied with one's current situation
  • Reduced stress levels as there is less pressure to constantly strive for more
  • Enjoying the present moment and being present in one's surroundings
  • Avoiding burnout from constantly pushing oneself to achieve more
  • Ability to appreciate and be grateful for what one has

Verbal expressions of complacent characters

Here are some potential expressions used by complacent characters.

  • "Why bother trying harder?"
  • "That's just the way things are."
  • "I'll just wing it."
  • "It's not worth the effort."
  • "It's good enough."
  • "I don't need to improve."
  • "I'm comfortable where I am."
  • "I've always done it this way."
  • "I'll do it later."

Relationships of complacent characters

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

  • Complacent individuals may be overly agreeable or accommodating, sometimes at the expense of their own happiness or well-being.
  • Complacent people may have a tendency to be passive in their relationships, allowing others to take the lead.
  • In some cases, complacent individuals may rely heavily on others for emotional support or decision-making, leading to a sense of dependency in their relationships.
  • They may avoid conflict and confrontation, preferring to keep the peace rather than express their own needs or opinions.
  • They may also struggle with setting boundaries and saying "no" when necessary, which can lead to feelings of resentment or being taken advantage of by others.

Examples from books of characters who are complacent

  • Sherlock Holmes in the series by Arthur Conan Doyle (before he meets Watson)
  • Humbert Humbert in "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Ignacio/Nacho in "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Junot Diaz
  • Willy Loman in "Death of a Salesman" by Arthur Miller
  • Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell
  • Holden Caulfield in "The Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger
  • Ignatius J. Reilly in "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole
  • Patrick Bateman in "American Psycho" by Bret Easton Ellis
  • Emma Woodhouse in "Emma" by Jane Austen

Writing exercises for writing complacent characters

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

  • Write a scene where the character is forced to step out of their comfort zone and take risks.
  • Write a dialogue where another character confronts the complacent character about their lack of motivation or drive.
  • Describe the consequences of the character's complacency on their personal and professional life.
  • Use inner monologue to reveal the character's thoughts and feelings about their complacent behavior.
  • Create a scene where the character is faced with a challenge that goes against their complacent nature. This can be a small inconvenience or a major setback.
  • Use flashbacks to show how the character's complacency has affected their past decisions and relationships.
  • Start by identifying the source of the character's complacency. Is it a result of their past successes or failures, their current lifestyle, or their personality traits?
  • Show the character's reaction to unexpected changes or obstacles, such as losing a job or experiencing a personal tragedy.
  • Describe the character's daily routine to highlight their lack of ambition or excitement.
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