NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS

COWARDLY



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HELPFUL TIP:

Characters with this flaw will be extra sensitive to certain emotions, so think about how events in your story might specifically trigger these feelings to generate compelling tension and conflict. Another idea is to give a supporting character a positive attribute that is an opposite of this flaw, which will get under the skin of both characters and cause friction in their relationship.
DEFINITION:
Shamefully fearful or tentative

SIMILAR FLAWS:
Fainthearted, fearful, pusillanimous

POSSIBLE CAUSES:
Having an overactive imagination that jumps to the worst possible outcome
Having a temperament that is highly fearful or anxious
Being more concerned with one’s personal well-being than with the greater good
Being raised by overprotective, fearful, or paranoid caregivers
A history of failing, losing, or being mistreated

ASSOCIATED BEHAVIORS AND ATTITUDES:
Surrendering or giving in at the first sign of a threat
Avoidance rather than confrontation
Choosing actions that further one’s interests, regardless of how others are affected
Talking big when friends are around but being easily cowed when challenged
Using underhanded methods instead of facing an enemy head on
Indecisiveness; being reluctant to commit
Having a low pain threshold
Using delaying tactics when a difficult decision needs to be made
Making excuses for avoiding the things that trigger one’s fears
Unreliability
Setting safe goals and objectives; avoiding striving for anything too risky
Being noncommittal (leaving oneself a way out)
Timidity
Imagining the worst-case scenario
Watching for shifting emotions that may signal danger
Reliving one’s occasional brave moments
Withdrawing from dangerous situations; choosing flight over fight
Showering support and admiration on powerful people in order to earn their protection
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ASSOCIATED THOUGHTS:
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ASSOCIATED EMOTIONS:
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POSITIVE ASPECTS:
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NEGATIVE ASPECTS:
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EXAMPLE FROM FILM:
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OVERCOMING THIS TRAIT AS A MAJOR FLAW:
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TRAITS IN SUPPORTING CHARACTERS THAT MAY CAUSE CONFLICT:
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