Over 100 Examples of Physical Proxies

These Are Ways To Convey Emotion!

Silently and Without Dialogue.

Note: All the below actions can be taken when someone else is talking to a character or walking away from or towards a character.

Some of the below examples can conjure up more than one emotion. Some can even elicit contradictory emotions. Read these to experience the emotion you need for your story. Also note that many of these actions can also have symbolic value.

1. turn your back on the speaker.

2. turn an empty coffee cup upside down while other person is talking.

3. look at your foot while moving it like you were rearranging dirt or sand on the ground.

4. blow on a pencil eraser like you were blowing out a candle.

5. when on a beach pick up handful of sand and let it run through your fingers.

6. take a golf swing with imaginary club as another is talking.

7. tie your shoe.

8. look at your watch. Look repeatedly.

9. cross your arms across your chest and tilt your head upward.

10. scratch behind both your ears at the same time.

11. doodle on envelop as someone is talking.

12. take your keys out of you pocket. Put keys back and do this again. Take key off the chain and put it back on the chain.

13. pick up a handful of hard candies that were on your desk. Make excessive noise as you open unwrap a piece of candy. Either offer or not offer candy to speaker.

14. on golf course, bend down, pull some grass and throw in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. Do this when there is no wind or when to wind will blow the grass toward the other person.

15. in kitchen…get up and water a plant.

16. in kitchen…empty coffee filter with used coffee grounds in it. Make face at the mess.

17. brush some lint off the other person shirt as he is talking to you.

18. Get up and turn off the radio.

19. get up and open sliding glass door to let air in room.

20. swirl the last bit of coffee at the bottom of your coffee cup while looking intently at it.

21. stretch both arms outward along your sides and then move them backward as far as you can.

22. gather some papers on your desk and throw them in your trash can. (Obviously, this could be a way of showing what you think of the other person’s ideas.)

23. go over and look into a mirror.

24. take off your tie while being spoken to.

25. outdoors: take off you cap and then put it back on. You can repeat this many times.

26. offer the person who is talking some gum, or hard candy. Place candy in person’s top pocket even if person does not want it.

27. bend down an pull up your socks.

28. put hand in pocket and rattle the change that is in there. Take out a coin and look at the date.

29. scratch both elbows at same time.

30. look up at the sky as if you see something there.

31. look up into a high tree as if you see something there. Point finger up towards tree top even if nothing is there.

32. get up and straighten a picture on the wall. Picture can be left crooked.

33. pick up a book and put it back into a bookcase. Spend time finding the right place for the book. Leave book facing outward as if you intend to send a message.

34. get up and get a glass of water without offering one to the speaker. Put some of the water into a plant that is on your desk.

35. look at the family pictures you have on your desk.

36. listen extra close to sounds coming from the parking lot outside your window.

37. looks at watch, then get up and move the clock on the wall five minutes ahead.

38. while riding in car, change radio station or turns radio off as other person speaks. This could be his car or your car.

39. sitting at a desk, absent mindedly stick a pencil erase in your ear. (Remember: these actions can be both emotional and symbolic.)

40. while talking on the phone in bed to someone else do this:

A. throw pillow against wall.

B. kick all the covers off.

C. look at a framed photo and turn it face away from your bed.

D. hold the phone six inches from your ear.

E. start reading a magazine, flipping through pages looking at pictures.

F. pretend to be throwing darts at the wall.

41. while sitting at desk and talking to someone, kicks shoes off. Work on shoe to the top of the toes and flip it off. Smile.

42. while leaving a movie theater, pick up a trash paper on the ground and put it into a trash can.

43. while walking to your car in a parking lot, look in the windows of all the cars you pass (maybe looking for kids locked in cars).

44. while at restaurant tap the fancy water glass with spoon to hear it ping as the other person is talking.

45. while in sport’s bar, keep moving your eyes from one TV to anther, while someone is talking to you.

46. while talking to another, take off watch and put it back on the other hand.

47. while walking in a park, jump up like you are making a basketball shot.

48. While outside, take your sunglasses off while the other person is speaking to you.

49. while talking to someone, do a knee-bend or several knee-bends.

50. while talking to someone, remove a small band-aid from behind your ear.

51. while talking to someone look at the ceiling or sky as if you were reading something written up there.

52. while sitting outdoors, sit on your hands , off and on.

53. while outside talking to someone, wave to someone you see who is quite far away.

54. while talking to someone in a living room, just lay down on a sofa and continue talking as if nothing happened.

55. when entering an apartment, stand on your hands and walk up to the dog and introduce yourself, eye to eye with the dog.

56. when talking to someone, raise your arm and pull down like you are pulling a rip cord.

57. if someone takes a little too long to answer the front door, sit on the flood so they see you there when the open the door.

58. if you see a chess set in a room, go over and put the queen on her color if the pieces are set up wrong. Don’t ask permission.

59. when speaking to a person of opposite sex, take their hand and look at the wording on their class ring. Move hand up to eye level if necessary.

60. when opening a car door, jump up in the air and do a 360 degree spin around acting like nothing unusual happened.

61. when walking in a park with a lake, quack like a duck. Pretend you didn’t do it.

62. when opening a car door, move to brush off the seat – even though there is nothing to be seen on the seat.

63. behavior when a character is alone and does not know he is being watched:

A. makes the sign on the cross.

B. keeps looking in a handheld mirror.

C. pretends to kick football.

D. places hands on hips.

E. pretends to be smoking a cigar.

F. does a few jumping jacks.

64. someone yawns while you are speaking.

65. using breath spray, freshener, while someone is speaking.

66. you fail to tie your necktie right several times in a row.

67. you tie shoelace in a knot and can’t untie it.

68. someone tries to look emotionless like when they have a good hand at poker.

69. drops wallet, then keys to house, picks them up with no sign of emotion.

70. person forgets if he locked the front door of house and has to go back and check.

71. can’t remember if she left the hair roller heat on; has to go back to house and check it – even if she has driven miles from the house.

72. keeps checking email every few minutes.

73. fidgety while waiting on line to talk to a talk show host on the radio.

74. balling up paper sheets and throwing them into the trash can.

75. eating the ice in a glass that once held a soft drink; making noise and perhaps faces.

76. pick up a cat and pet it – even when cat does not want to be picked up.

77. pick up stones and throw them; this is good thrown into a river or lake.

78. at table: keep adjusting your napkin on your lap. Have napkin fall off several times.

79. get up and lower the light on a 3-way bulb.

80. loosen or tighten a belt buckle.

81. in hospital room: go over and smell flowers.

82. in hospital room: look closely at the IV bag. Try to read what is written on it.

83. in car: click over-drive button on and off absentmindedly.

84. keep checking to see if wallet is still in your pocket.

85. hold object in hand, light a lighter, and hold that hand behind your back. Like you are hiding something. Symbolic.

86. sit down when someone is talking to you or if seated, stand up. Aggressive: move closer to that person.

87. when seated at a desk, spin around 360 degrees as someone is talking to you.

88. if talking to someone near a computer, tap the space bar every time the screen saver comes on.

89. at computer, put your hand on the mouse and absentmindedly click the wheel button.

90. in restaurant, keep looking often for your waitress or waiter.

91. smile like you know something the other does not; make the other person nervous.

92. when putting on shirt, get the buttons unaligned.

93. when opening the door, use the wrong key when by now you should know the right key.

94. bump your head on something you should know was there; hit your elbow on something you also knew was there.

95. try to start your car when it is in gear.

96. try to start your car while it is already running. Makes terrible noise.

97. drive off the curb when leaving a parking lot.

98. drive into a one way street the wrong way.

99. forget you pin code at check out counter.

100. forget to sign your checks that you just mailed to pay bills.

101. read five pages before you realize that you can’t remember a thing you read.

102. throw a book or magazine you were reading across the room.

103. stir your coffee with your finger.