Character Traits Entry: Thoughtful



Definition: given to the heedful anticipation of the needs and wants of others


Causes:
an honest love and caring for others, a desire to please, wanting to do the 'right thing', religious background, wanting to help others so they will return the favor, self-righteousness, seeking recognition, a desire to help others achieve their goals, the pay-it-forward mentality, a way of getting others to like them



Characters in Literature:
Beth (Little Women), Sam (Lord of the Rings), Melanie (Gone with the Wind)


Positives:
Thoughtfuls are always thinking of others and trying to make others happy. Their selflessness makes them easy to like. They are often an inspiration to others, who see their thoughtfulness as something to be emulated. By nature, people who put the needs and desires of others above their own often exhibit other positive qualities: generosity, encouragement, a hard work ethic, and a willingness to do the jobs no one else wants to do.

Negatives:
Because Thoughtfuls think so highly of others, they often are gullible or naive and can become victims of those wanting to take advantage of an easy target. Many Thoughtfuls are so focused on meeting the needs of others that they neglect their own dreams, desires, and even basic needs, to the point of sacrificing their own health and well-being. Thoughtfuls are people-focused rather than project-focused; this quality may frustrate people around them who are efficient, successful, or results-driven.

Common Characteristics:
kind, helping others, offering to help when others won't, seeing a need when others don't know it's there,  giving of their own resources to help others, worrying about people, anticipating the desires and needs of others, learning a new skill that will help them serve others (sewing, learning a language, etc.), volunteering for numerous ministry or service opportunities, giving monetarily to those in need

Cliches to Avoid:
The unflawed Thoughtful, the shy Thoughtful who serves quietly in the background

Twists on the Traditional Thoughtful:
  • Instead of a Thoughtful who is truly thinking of others, create a Thoughtful whose motives aren't pure--one who serves others out of a desire to be recognized and thanked, or one with a tit-for-tat mentality who keeps track of his kind deeds
  • Thoughtfuls are usually portrayed as people to whom thoughtfulness comes naturally, when in reality, being unselfish requires work. Make your Thoughtful real by showing her struggles to be selfless.



Conflicting Characteristics that will make your Thoughtful unique or interesting:
confrontational, loud, rowdy, fearful, lonely, grouchy, glamorous, jealous

9 comments:

tracikenworth said...

Another great entry!!

Susanne Drazic said...

Thank you for all the time you put in to provide us with these wonderful posts.

Michelle Gregory said...

describes me exactly, both good and bad. great entry as usual.

Jordan McCollum said...

This is great. I'm loving this new thesaurus!

However, I wonder if there's a better title for this character type. When I read "Thoughtful," I thought of someone prone to introspection. (And was very confused to see Melanie below it.) Maybe "Selfless" or "Considerate"?

Angela Ackerman said...

Great Job Becca!

Jeff King said...

I love these... I use your advice often.
thx

Becca Puglisi said...

I agree, Jordan, that the names for the traits can often be ambiguous, meaning more than one thing or crossing into more than one area. That's why we include the definition, to make the entry's focus very clear--for the reader and for us, lol.

BECKY said...

Oooh, Melanie from Gone With the Wind...I really disliked her! Even when I was young, I thought she was way too much of a pushover!

alaw said...

SAM! Woot!

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