How To: Play An Apathetic Character
I don’t know about the rest of you, but as much as I enjoy playing a character who just doesn’t care, staying in character can be hard! Apathy is one of the hardest emotions to channel in my opinion, mostly because we all have opinions and we all get irritated or hurt by comments. So how do you stay in character and not rise to the bait when the big bad of your RP is picking a fight? Well, I’m going to try to break it down for you.
First let’s define apathy, since I think some people tend to confuse it with being a complete douche-nozzle! Apathy (also called impassivity or perfunctoriness) is a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concern, excitement, motivation and passion. [Thanks Wikipedia!] Now that we’ve got down what it is, lets talk about how to put apathy into practice!
This is more going to be an exercise in control than a simple guide, because at the end of the day it really is about controlling yourself to avoid making your character ooc. So I’m going to give you a few tips on staying calm personally and not how to give a fuck outwardly. Feel free to use this guide in everyday life as well, as it’s useful to do to those around you (though it may not make you many friends!)
So let’s say you posted a starter, and right off the bat someone jabs you with a verbal stick. Something about what your character just said, or how they think your character looks. You are ready to reply with something snarky or rude, because you just thought of the best comeback ever and it’s going to make this dude cry.
STOP! This isn’t about you, you are the actor in writing form for this character. Do you think it’s okay for a real actor to just throw the script out the window and start speaking to everyone like they would normally? No! Take a step back and think apathy. If you didn’t give a flying fart in space what this person had to say, would you really be snarky? Nope. You’d probably walk away, but since that doesn’t really work for interaction purposes go with my general rule of thumb. Reply with “And your point is?” It’s great. It shows you don’t care and that you are still in a position to be a bit snarky.
And if those other characters don’t back down and keep coming after yours trying to pick a fight, have your character walk away. Because if they didn’t care they would walk on. You might be worked up and ready to go at that person for their snide comments but if the character you are playing is described as being apathetic, you need to keep them that way. Sometimes it’s better to have them just walk away.
But it’s not just the anger you should avoid, but most of the moments when you would be excited about something. Acing a test, winning some prize,
your significant other going down on you. Something that most people would celebrate, your character will feel nothing but indifference toward. Now this isn’t to say that behind closed doors, they don’t have an emotional breakdown, but outwardly, they’ll seem bored, and you need to remember that!
When playing an apathetic character, you will constantly have to monitor your words and reactions IC because as easy as you may think it is to just be like “I don’t care”, you’d be surprised at how often you react to a persons comments that contradict the apathy explained in your characters bio!