Character Traits Thesaurus Entry: Worry Wart

Definition Characterized by extreme uneasiness of mind or brooding fear

Causes: raised by parents who worried about every little thing, having experienced many bad things in life, control issues, an over-active imagination, watching too much news, a pessimistic outlook

Characters in Literature: Piglet, Mrs. Weasley, Bard of Dale (The Hobbit)

Positives: Worriers see trouble coming so they are not often surprised by it. They are often able to plan for problems that others wouldn't foresee, thereby averting trouble. Their worry is sometimes wrapped up in the people around them, showing compassion and loyalty.

Negatives: Worriers not only see trouble that's coming, but also the trouble that never comes. They expend precious energy worrying about things that may or may not come to pass, and about things over which they have no control. Worrying is often the result of a trust issue--not trusting the person in charge, not trusting anyone else to take care of things in a satisfactory manner. Excessive worry leads to negativity, which is easily spread to others. It's draining to be around a worry wart for long periods of time.

Common Portrayals: overprotective maternal figures, hypochondriacs, conspiracy theorists, chaperones and nurses (historical fiction)

Cliches to Avoid: the doting, stifling nanny or mother; sniffling, hand-wringing worriers

Twists on the Traditional Worry Wart: 
  • Worriers are so often weak and timid. The worrying warrior or leader could make for an interesting character.
  • Because worrying is a negative character trait, it's usually assigned to background or support characters. A worry-wart hero would be one with a lot to overcome.
  • Turn worry into a positive by creating a character who worries excessively about others, but is utterly unconcerned with him or herself. 

Conflicting Characteristics to make your Worrier unique or more interesting: brave, ambitious, arrogant, charismatic, mean, curious, easygoing


Martha Ramirez said...

LOVE this! :) I can be a worry wart lol

Ava Jae said...

I like that you point out not all worry warts have to be weak characters. It's certainly something they'll have to overcome (and something can be crippling if it gets out of control), but a strong character can still be a worrier.

Rachna Chhabria said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Angela and Becca..I am a huge worry wart(mom's genes). My sister calls me a die-hard pessimist cause I always expect the worst.

Thankfully, none of my characters have that trait. Most of them are brave and believe in themselves. Thanks for this post. I would love to create a worry wart in one of my stories and see what happens to that character.

Charlie Pulsipher said...

I always loved Piglet and Eeyore. Their worrying and melancholy got me through childhood.

Theresa Milstein said...

I like the other characteristic options you give for the worrier. Though it would be hard to make an easygoing worrier!

Hermione is a bit of a mix. She worries constantly - especially about school. But it springs her into action. She's ambitious and brave. And curious.

Funny to see Mrs. Weasley and Piglet in the same category.

Bish Denham said...

Great post! Worriers can make themselves sick too, both mentally and physically. Reality is enough stress for me without adding worry to it about things I can do nothing about.

The Golden Eagle said...

I've never thought about creating a worry wart character, but I do like the idea--I myself can be a bit of one. :P

Abby said...

I love this. We joke about people in my family having the "worry wart disease." LOL. I do love your thoughts on using this for a character. Especially not the cliche stuff but the fun twists to it. :)

Traci Kenworth said...

These are some of my children's
favorite worry warts. Great post
and picture!!

Stacy Green said...

Did you jump into my brain? I'm a known worry wort, although I've gotten better in the last couple of years. It's been tough having my own child, because I don't want her to be like me.

Great post!

Leslie Rose said...

Love your example of Mrs. Weasley. She's a strong/dynamic worrier.

Becca Puglisi said...

I was never a worrier until I had kids. Now I find my brain going all kinds of unfriendly places. I fight it constantly, so I have a sneaking sympathy for the worry warts out there.


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