Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Indifference

  • A half-hearted shrug
  • A limp lift of the hand, palm up in a So? gesture
  • Loss of eye contact
  • Shoving one’s hands in one’s pockets
  • Looking down or away
  • A blank expression
  • Changing the topic instead of answering
  • Making a lame excuse to leave
  • Using a monotone voice
  • Non-expressive body language (inanimate, loose, lacking energy)
  • Yawning
  • “Bored” actions (slumping in a seat during class, tapping a pencil against a desk, examining one’s nails)
  • “Sleepy” eyes, half-lidded…

Win your readers’ hearts by tailoring your character’s emotional responses so they’re compelling, credible, and realistic.

If you struggle with writing emotions like so many writers do, you’ll be happy to know that this sample has been expanded into book form. The full list of physical, internal, and mental cues for this and 74 other emotions can be found in The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression. For more information on this bestselling book and where it can be found, please visit our bookstore.

And the news gets better: we’ve added 15 entries to this collection, including grief, lust, and self-loathing. To access these, simply visit our online library at One Stop For Writers. There, you’ll find all 90 entries from our popular Emotion Thesaurus, which have been updated and enhanced to provide even greater value. Users also enjoy the flexibility of cross-referenced material for easy searchability across all of our completed thesaurus collections. Interested in viewing a sample? Register for free at One Stop, and see what this innovative online library can do for your storytelling.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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7 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Indifference

  1. Pingback: Emotion Thesaurus Entry Collection (Samples) | Writers Helping Writers

  2. Jaliya says:

    Indifference = meticulous contempt.

    Your site is a gem! Whee — what fun for word nerds!

    Thank you!


  3. Marian says:

    I’d post more ideas, but I feel sort of indifferent. 🙂

    Seriously, though, another way I’d show I was indifferent to something would be to parrot back whatever the other person said, adding nothing of my own to the conversation.

    “I was really upset when you didn’t show up yesterday.”
    “So you were really upset?”
    “Yes, because you said you’d meet me.”
    “Yes, I said I’d meet you.”

  4. Kelly says:

    I think I’ll have more ideas for you when my kids turn into teens
    :0). Actually, I think I’ve seen some of this behavior already!
    Great entry!

  5. Angela says:

    This one was tough. If anyone can think of more, feel free to post them in the comments. 🙂

  6. C.R. Evers says:

    ohhh good one! I’ll be using this one for sure!

    You guys are the greatest!


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