To engage your reader, it's important to always show, not tell, the traits of your characters.
The character trait of kindness refers to the quality of being considerate, compassionate, and benevolent toward others. Kind individuals are empathetic and understanding, and they tend to treat others with respect, regardless of their differences. They are often generous with their time and resources, and they go out of their way to help those in need. In essence, kindness is the act of showing goodwill toward others, and it is a valuable trait for anyone looking to build strong, positive relationships in their personal and professional lives.
Possible Causes of Being Kind
You might want to weave these into your character's backstory to build a more believable character:
Cultivating mindfulness and self-awareness, leading to a deeper understanding of how actions impact others
Having a strong sense of empathy and a natural inclination to understand and help others
Believing that kindness is an important value and actively practicing it in daily life
Being raised in a nurturing and supportive environment
Having positive role models who value kindness and empathy
Experiencing acts of kindness from others and wanting to pay it forward
Having a strong moral compass and a desire to do what is right and good for others
Attitudes Related to Being Kind
You may be able to show kindness through your character's attitudes.
Thoughts and Struggles Related to Being Kind
Here are some ideas for things your kind character may think or struggle with:
Kind characters may struggle with setting boundaries and saying "no" to requests or demands from others.
Kind characters may also struggle with self-care and prioritizing their own well-being over the needs of others.
They may have a strong desire to please others and be seen as helpful, but may also feel overwhelmed or taken advantage of.
Kind characters often struggle with balancing their own needs with the needs of others.
They may feel a sense of responsibility to make the world a better place, but may also feel discouraged by the many problems and injustices they see around them.
They may feel guilty or anxious when they are unable to help someone or when they make a mistake that hurts someone else.
At times, kind characters may feel frustrated or resentful when their kindness is not appreciated or reciprocated by others.
Emotions Associated With Kindness
Here are some ideas for emotions your kind character may experience:
Facial Expressions Linked With Being Kind
Here are some facial expressions your kind character may exhibit:
A friendly wave or greeting gesture
Soft, relaxed eyes
A compassionate, understanding look
A genuine smile
A gentle nod
An open, relaxed mouth
A slightly tilted head
Raised eyebrows in a friendly, curious expression
A warm, welcoming expression
Body Language Related to Kindness
Here is some body language your kind character may exhibit:
Speaking in a calm and gentle tone of voice
A soft smile with relaxed facial muscles
Touching the person in a gentle and comforting way, such as patting their hand or giving a reassuring hug
Taking time to listen actively and giving the person your full attention
Nodding your head in agreement or understanding
Leaning in slightly toward the person you are speaking with
Making eye contact and holding it for a few seconds
Using open and welcoming gestures, such as extended arms or an open palm
Behaviors Associated With Being Kind
Here are some behaviors your kind character may exhibit:
Being generous with time, resources, and attention
Being patient and understanding
Showing empathy toward others
Using positive language and avoiding hurtful comments
Forgiving mistakes and being nonjudgmental
Being considerate of other people's feelings
Offering help or support when needed
Showing gratitude and appreciation
Being respectful and courteous to others
Growth and Evolution of Kind Characters
Here are some ways that your kind character may grow and evolve over time:
Become more proactive in seeking out opportunities to help others
Learn to stand up for themselves and others without being aggressive or confrontational
Become more patient and forgiving toward others who may have wronged them
Gain a deeper sense of self-awareness and learn to recognize their own biases and prejudices
Develop a greater appreciation for the small acts of kindness and how they can make a big impact
Develop empathy and understanding toward those who they previously may have judged or dismissed
Overcome their fear of vulnerability and express their emotions more openly
Learn to set healthy boundaries and say "no" without feeling guilty or selfish
Learn to forgive themselves for their own mistakes and shortcomings
Kind Character Stereotypes to Avoid
Try to avoid writing stereotypical kind characters like these examples:
Avoid making the character's kindness a means to an end, such as using it to manipulate or control others.
Avoid making the character a one-dimensional stereotype of kindness, such as the "sweet and innocent" or "motherly" type.
Avoid making the character naïve or ignorant to the point of being gullible or easily taken advantage of.
Avoid making the character overly perfect or flawless in every way.
Avoid making the character a pushover or someone who always puts others before themselves to the point of self-sacrifice.
Avoid making the character's kindness the only defining characteristic, as this can make them boring or predictable.
Negatives of Being Kind
Here are some potential negatives of being kind. Note: These are subjective, and some might also be seen as positives depending on the context.
Being taken advantage of by others who may not reciprocate kindness
Feeling responsible for others' happiness and well-being, leading to burnout or stress
Being seen as weak or overly emotional by some individuals
Difficulty setting boundaries and saying "no" to others
Difficulty standing up for oneself or asserting one's opinions or needs
Positives of Being Kind
Here are some potential positives of being kind. Note: These are subjective, and some might also be seen as negatives depending on the context.
It can improve our own mental health and well-being.
It can strengthen trust and build a sense of community.
It promotes respect and dignity for all individuals.
It fosters positive relationships and connections with people.
Kindness can defuse conflicts and prevent misunderstandings.
It helps create a more peaceful and harmonious world.
It can inspire creativity and innovation.
Kindness often encourages others to pay it forward and be kind themselves.
Kindness promotes empathy and understanding toward others.
Common Actions of Kind Characters
Here are some common actions taken by kind characters:
Praising others for their accomplishments
Using polite language and tone
Offering compliments and encouragement
Offering help and support
Showing gratitude and appreciation
Expressing empathy and understanding
Avoiding negative or hurtful language
Saying "please" and "thank you"
Apologizing when necessary
Relationships of Kind Characters
Here are some ways that being kind could affect your character's relationships:
They often exhibit empathy and compassion toward others, which can lead to deeper connections with people.
Kind people tend to have positive and supportive relationships with others.
They may also be more forgiving and understanding of others' faults and mistakes, allowing for more forgiving and harmonious relationships.
Kind people may act as peacemakers in conflicts, seeking to find common ground and solutions that benefit everyone.
Kind people may inspire others to be more kind and compassionate themselves, leading to a ripple effect of positivity and kindness in their relationships and communities.
Examples From Books of Characters Who Are Kind
Mr. Rogers from The World According to Mr. Rogers by Fred Rogers
Beth March from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Samwise Gamgee from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Hazel Grace Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Charlotte from Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Jean Valjean from Les Misérables by Victor Hugo
Mary Lennox from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Writing Exercises for Writing Kind Characters
Here are some writing exercises you might try for learning to write kind characters:
Write a conversation between your character and a friend, where your character offers encouragement and support.
Imagine a scenario where your character is wronged by someone else but chooses to forgive them instead of seeking revenge.
Write a scene where your character comforts someone who is upset or in distress.
Imagine a scenario where your character has the opportunity to take advantage of someone else but chooses not to.
Write a scene where your character performs a small act of kindness for a stranger.
Describe a moment where your character goes out of their way to help someone, even if it's inconvenient for them.
Write a conversation between your character and someone they disagree with, where your character shows empathy and understanding toward the other person's perspective.
Describe a moment where your character stands up for someone who is being mistreated or bullied.
Describe a moment where your character puts the needs of someone else before their own.