Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Confidence/Pride

When it comes to emotion, sometimes we need a brainstorming nudge. After all, each character will express their feelings differently depending on their personality, emotional range, and comfort zone. We hope this short, sample list of expressions will help you better imagine how your character might show this emotion!

If you need to go deeper, we have detailed lists of body language, visceral sensations, dialogue cues, and mental responses for 130 emotions in the 2019 expanded second edition of The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression.


· Shoulders back, chest out, chin lifted
· Giving a half-shrug and a grin that conveys agreement or secret knowledge
· Flirting
· Comfortable being in close proximity to others or initiating contact
· Telling jokes, adding to or steering a conversation
· Hosting an event or activity (a BBQ, getting the guys together for a football game)
· Bragging, obsessively talking about an achievement or material object (winning a game, a new car, etc)
· Reacting with anger or jealousy if one’s reputation is impugned
· Doing or saying things outside of the norm without anxiety or concern
· Leaning in to talk or listen
· Maintaining good eye contact
· Lots of physical contact, touchy-feely
· Running the hands through the hair, flipping one’s hair
· Assuming a pose that’s sexy, appealing, or draws attention to one’s best attributes
· Wearing clothes that are flashy or dramatic…

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

If you struggle with writing emotions, you aren’t alone. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression has helped writers all over the globe, and it can help you. To find out more about this bestselling book, please visit our bookstore.

Prefer the flexibility of instant online access and greater searchability?

The Emotion Thesaurus is also at our sister site, One Stop for Writers. Visit the Emotion Thesaurus Page to view our complete list of entries.

TIP: While you’re there, check out our hyper-intelligent Character Builder that helps you create deep, memorable characters in half the time!



Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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9 Responses to Emotion Thesaurus Entry: Confidence/Pride

  1. Pingback: Resources For Describing Emotion |

  2. I love all of the examples provided for all of the emotions. They certainly help to get the creative juices flowing! One suggestion though, if I may, the entries for confidence/pride seem to be influenced mostly by social interactions, where there are other people involved alongside the character. I was wondering if you could include some entries inspired by an increase in confidence of one’s abilities in a dangerous situation? For instance, the character had been held captive but discovered a way to escape, or gained the upper hand, how would the character show this?
    Thank you!
    Your work is wonderful! It is helping so many writers like myself and it is all adored and appreciated! Thank you again

    • Hi Rebecca, so glad you’re finding our site useful. In the scenario you suggest, I think you’d see a lot of self talk to sort of move past one’s fear and do what needs to be done. I would say increased focus, economical body movements, body tension, ignoring distractions, giving oneself almost a physical shake or shaking out the hands to sort of have a physical way of “pushing” fear and doubt at bay would be typical. You’ll find a lot more suggestions (4 pages worth) to show both Pride and Confidence in the Emotion Thesaurus book–this here is just a very basic sample of ideas. If you like, look at the “look inside” feature at Amazon as they have a good sample of entries to show how we profile different emotions in depth. 🙂

      Happy writing!

  3. Biddy Fraser says:

    Amazingly useful – thanks very much for putting it together.

  4. Becca says:

    That’s something that has been interesting in compiling these lists–and challenging too; so many gestures can have multiple emotional meanings, depending on the context.

    And thanks for the kudos, people :).

  5. Marian says:

    Interesting. I sometimes have male characters running their hands through their hair, but it didn’t occur to me that this might be a sign of confidence. Maybe it’s a sign of vanity as well – as in, “look at my great hair, not receding… yet!” 🙂

  6. Tabitha says:

    I know you know this, but I’m saying it anyway. This thesaurus is awesome!! Thanks for putting it together.

  7. WordWrangler says:

    NIcely done! I’ll bookmark this one, too! 🙂


  8. Sara Spock says:

    These are great. Eye contact is a biggie with confidence. Excellent list!

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