Some people seem to take everything in stride. No matter what life throws at them, they don’t let it get to them. They remain calm, cool, and collected even in the face of adversity. So what do you call someone with this unflappable disposition? There are a few common terms used to describe such thick-skinned individuals.
One way to describe someone who doesn’t let things bother them is to call them “easygoing.” This terms conveys a relaxed and carefree attitude. Easygoing people don’t get worked up or stressed out easily. They have a “go with the flow” mentality and are able to roll with the punches. Even when difficulties arise, easygoing folks take challenges in stride.
For example, if an easygoing person gets stuck in terrible traffic, they accept the situation and make the best of it. They don’t sit there fuming or complaining. Instead, they might call a loved one to catch up or listen to an audiobook to pass the time productively. Easygoing people understand getting upset won’t change the circumstances, so they adapt and make the most of the situation.
Another way to characterize someone not easily bothered is to say they are “thick-skinned.” This idiom implies a person has a tough outer layer that protects them from hurt or offense. Criticism, insults, and negative comments don’t penetrate their armor to wound them. Thick-skinned individuals are able to shrug off what others say or do.
For instance, if a thick-skinned employee presents an idea at a meeting and a coworker shoots it down harshly, the thick-skinned employee takes it in stride. They don’t take the criticism personally or get upset. They are able to separate their self-worth from their ideas. The coworker’s disparaging remarks roll off their back because of their emotional resilience.
People who are impossible to faze or perturb are often described as “unfazed.” This word denotes someone who remains steady and composed, even in chaotic or stressful circumstances. They don’t get flustered, frazzled, or frustrated when things don’t go according to plan. Adaptable and unflappable, unfazed people take unpredictability and turbulence in stride.
For example, imagine an unfazed project manager whose team encounters multiple setbacks. While other managers might panic or worry, the unfazed leader tackles problems with poise and perspective. They don’t exhibit any signs of anxiety or alarm. Instead of being fazed, they confidently lead their team through challenges. Their calm presence steadies the team during rocky times.
“Unruffled” is another descriptor for those who don’t rattle easily. It signifies a tranquil and peaceful demeanor, even when things get hairy. Unruffled people maintain their composure regardless of what comes their way. They exhibit an unshakable calm, never appearing nervous, irritated, or upset.
For instance, picture an unruffled educator facing a classroom of rambunctious children. As the kids act out and make noise, the teacher remains patient and relaxed. She handles disruptive behavior without raising her voice or becoming visibly annoyed. Her smooth equanimity keeps her classroom on a calm, even keel during hectic times. Her cool disposition cannot be ruffled.
People who give off an air of carefree unconcern are often called “laidback.” This relaxed attitude conveys an ability to take life as it comes without getting worked up over hassles or hiccups. Laidback folks don’t sweat the small stuff. They prioritize keeping perspective over minor bothers and hangups.
For example, a laidback person stuck in a three-hour long line registers only mild annoyance. They accept long queues as part of life and wait without complaint. They might strike up a friendly chat with others nearby or listen to music to pass time pleasantly. Getting visibly irritated or impatient never crosses their mind. Going with the flow comes naturally to laidback personalities.
Cool as a cucumber
The idiom “cool as a cucumber” captures the essence of keeping composure under pressure. Cucumbers are always cool to the touch, retaining moisture inside during hot weather. People who are cool as cucumbers demonstrate unflappable composure and grace under fire. Challenges don’t cause them to wilt or sweat. They keep their chill even when circumstances heat up.
For instance, an emergency room doctor has to show sangfroid in crisis situations. With patients’ lives on the line, losing one’s cool can be fatal. The doctor must act cool as cucumber as they swiftly treat injuries and ailments. Their relaxed confidence inspires the team and reassures patients during tense moments. They don’t let stress or urgency unravel their steely nerves.
Go with the flow
Individuals who “go with the flow” adapt seamlessly to unexpected changes in plans. Rather than rail against forces outside their control, they accept new realities and adjust accordingly. They maintain emotional equanimity by avoiding rigid expectations and rolling with life’s ups and downs.
Imagine a bride whose wedding venue suddenly becomes unavailable due to a flood. An bride fixated on her “dream wedding” would have a meltdown. But a bride who goes with the flow quickly pivots to a backup option without missing a beat. She understands snags happen and adapts in stride. Her flexibity and resilience allow her wedding day to be joyful against the odds.
Water off a duck’s back
The metaphor “water off a duck’s back” captures how some people let frustrations, criticisms, and annoyances roll right off them without being absorbed. Like water beads up and slides off a duck’s oily feathers, people’s negativity fails to penetrate or stick to even-keeled individuals. Bothers and frustrations pass right over them, leaving them unscathed.
For example, a passive aggressive coworker might try to goad a even-tempered colleague into an argument. But instead of taking the bait, the balanced worker lets the rude remarks glide off them like water off a duck’s back. Their non-reaction doesn’t give the goader the satisfaction of getting a rise out of them. Maintaining unflappable poise diffuses tense situations.
What enables such equanimity?
What allows some people to remain unruffled and unfazed by life’s curveballs? Several psychological and emotional traits contribute to developing a thick skin and cool disposition. Understanding what makes unflappable people tick can help anyone become more even-keeled.
Self-assured individuals don’t need constant validation or praise from others. Their belief in themselves remains steady, regardless of criticism, disapproval, or failure. This firm foundation of confidence allows them to weather challenges without crumbling. They don’t take rejections or insults personally because their self-worth isn’t tied to external factors. Self-belief strengthens their resilience.
For example, a self-confident employee will take constructive feedback from their manager in stride. Because they trust in their fundamental abilities, they don’t perceive critiques as personal attacks. They can separate their performance from their value as a person. With an abiding belief in themselves, they have no reason to get defensive or upset.
Emotionally intelligent people demonstrate self-awareness and self-control. They understand their emotions and how to manage them effectively. Rather than being ruled by their feelings, they direct their emotions in service of their goals. Staying grounded in reason helps them roll with life’s ups and downs.
For instance, an emotionally intelligent child may feel disappointed about not being invited to a party. But they can examine that sadness objectively and take steps to process it in a healthy way. Their self-awareness and self-regulation prevents sadness from spiraling into despair. They talk over their feelings with a parent and soon feel better, rather than fixating on rejection.
Individuals with an optimistic outlook emphasize the positive and play down the negative when assessing situations. They focus on what they can control and look for the silver lining in setbacks. By zeroing in on the good while putting problems into perspective, they avoid overthinking worries. This upbeat attitude inoculates them against discouragement.
For example, an optimistic sportscaster might highlight the accomplishments of a team, even in defeat. Rather than harping on what went wrong, they underscore the team’s bright spots and potential to improve. They read setbacks as temporary challenges to overcome, not permanent failures. This glass-half-full mentality prevents them from getting too down.
Flexible people are willing and able to adapt to changing circumstances. They don’t rigidly cling to one plan or way of doing things. When situations shift, they adjust and find new solutions rather than resisting change. Going with the flow allows them to navigate bumps in the road smoothly.
For instance, an inflexible employee may be thrown off course by an unexpected change in office policies. But a flexible worker takes shifting priorities and procedures in stride. Instead of fixating on how things “should” be, they focus on making the best of how things are. Their adaptability enables them to thrive when the ground moves beneath their feet.
Patient individuals demonstrate forbearance in trying situations and the ability to wait calmly without complaint or frustration. They don’t demand immediate results or instant action. Accepting that things take time allows them to withstand delays or inconveniences without being disturbed.
A patient commuter stuck in gridlock, for example, tolerates stop-and-go traffic without honking or swearing. Instead of railing against forces out of their control, they listen to soothing music and tell themselves the logjam will eventually resolve. Exercising patience and perspective prevents them from overreacting in the moment.
Mindful people live in the present moment. They don’t fixate on rehashing the past or worrying about the future. Staying grounded in the here and now allows them to focus on responding to whatever comes their way. Dwelling on what they can’t control only breeds anxiety and stress.
For instance, before a big performance, a mindful musician takes deep breaths rather than obsessing over past mistakes or fretting about possible slip-ups. Centering themselves in the present eases nerves and sharpens focus. Mindfulness empowers them to deliver their best performance regardless of what came before or what lies ahead.
Stoicism is a philosophical approach emphasizing clear judgment and emotional control in the face of adversity. Stoics train themselves to withstand misfortune and disappointment through reason, wisdom, and perspective. Rather than being slaves to their feelings, they assert control over their inner lives.
A stoic athlete, for example, views injuries as temporary setbacks to overcome through discipline and determination. They don’t spiral into panic or despair when sidelined. By keeping emotions in check and focusing on their recovery process, they can make the best of the situation. Stoic tranquility provides stability.
Some people subscribe to existential philosophical beliefs about finding purpose and meaning within existence’s uncertainties. Existentialists focus on taking responsibility for their choices and living authentically in the face of life’s chaos. This emphasis on freedom and self-determination fosters unflappability.
For instance, an existentialist might lose their job as an opportunity to forge a new path truer to their values. While others might wallow in uncertainty, existentialists take life’s curveballs as a chance to exercise their agency. Their convictions provide ballast amid the tumult.
What are the benefits?
Why should anyone strive to become unbothered and unflappable? Developing equanimity and a thick skin has many advantages:
People who don’t sweat the small stuff endure less stress. Minor annoyances, inconveniences, criticisms and the like roll off their backs rather than prompting frustration and angst. By not sweating the small stuff, they reduce unnecessary strain on their nervous system. Their chill attitude wards off hypertension and anxiety.
Resilient individuals bounce back quicker from major setbacks and trauma. They exhibit a higher threshold for life’s painful moments because they keep emotions in check. Staying even-keeled helps prevent depression, resentment, and other negative spirals during and after difficulties. Thick skin leads to great buoyancy.
Nothing deteriorates relationships faster than taking everything personally. Those who let sensitivities and annoyances build up tend to overreact to others and hold grudges. Unflappable people forgive more readily and avoid driving away loved ones over trivial matters. Their ability to let things slide improves their personal connections.
People who don’t depend on constant validation feel more secure in themselves. They don’t need approval or praise from others to prop up their self-assurance. By providing their own foundation of confidence, they gain freedom to take risks and tackle new challenges without fear of failure or criticism. Their belief in themselves persists.
When people are not distracted by trivial matters, their minds become less cluttered. Avoiding preoccupation with petty problems allows greater concentration, attentiveness, and motivation. Keeping priorities in balance and perspective maximizes mental clarity and performance.
Less judgmental outlook
Individuals prone to righteous indignation often get worked up over minor moral infractions. The unflappable adopt a more live-and-let-live attitude. They pick their battles when it comes to judging and condemning others’ behaviors. Taking a walk in someone else’s shoes increases empathy and patience.
Over time, dealing with challenges breeds wisdom. Those who have navigated life’s ups and downs develop deeper understanding, foresight, and discernment. Exposure to difficulties combined with resilience lays the foundation for maturity, perceptivity, and insight.
While high-strung people often wear out their welcome, unflappable levelheadedness draws others in. Calm, cool, and collected individuals come across as grounded and in command of themselves. Their chill presence exerts a magnetic pull, winning friends and followers.Few things attract admiration more than grace under pressure.
How can you develop greater equanimity?
Becoming more even-keeled takes time and conscious effort for most people. Very few are born with an innately unflappable disposition. But developing composure in the face of stress is a skill anyone can hone. Here are some tips for cultivating greater equanimity:
Learning to be fully present in the moment without getting hijacked by unhelpful thoughts is pivotal. Mindfulness meditation helps train focus and awareness. Pausing during stressful situations to be fully aware of one’s body, emotions, and the environment can short-circuit knee-jerk reactions.
Reframe situations more positively
Looking for the silver lining and reminding yourself “this too shall pass” can neutralize anger and anxiety about circumstances. Leveraging optimism, humor, and perspective counterbalances automatic negative thoughts. Reframing things in a more constructive light prevents overblown emotional responses.
Set reasonable standards
Perfectionistic tendencies drive many to lash out when results don’t meet unrealistic expectations. Developing flexible yet high standards helps avoid disappointment when life falls short of impossible ideals. Striving for progress rather perfection boosts equanimity.
Learn to assert boundaries
Part of resilience involves deciding what you will and won’t accept from others. Setting clear boundaries around behaviors and values you won’t compromise promotes self-respect. Knowing when to walk away protects your calm by refusing to tolerate the intolerable.
Manage expectations proactively
Get ahead of situations that may test your equanimity by preparing for a range of possible outcomes. Foreseeing different scenarios allows you to mentally walk through various reactions. Having a plan ready provides a sense of control when curveballs come.
Reflecting on your emotional patterns and triggers helps you recognize situations that typically cause upset. Understanding these friction points helps you be mindful of arousal cues and exercise self-discipline to pause before losing composure. Awareness precedes control.
Beating yourself up after losing your cool only fuels shame and distress. Instead, treat yourself kindly following mistakes and forgive yourself. Self-compassion provides an emotional reset that makes it easier to get back on the equanimity wagon next time.
Exercise and eat well
Physical health impacts mood and ability to manage emotions. Regular exercise relieves muscle tension while healthy foods stabilize blood sugar and energy levels. Caring for your body and releasing pent-up stress hormone boosts overall chillness.
Surrounding yourself with even-tempered people you admire rubs off on you slowly but surely. Observing how grounded folks stay unflappable in various situations teaches you by example how to develop unshakeable poise. Their grace infiltrates your psyche.
While no one can be unfazed 100% of the time, developing greater equanimity has real rewards. By not sweating the small stuff and exercising wisdom and perspective when faced with larger trials, unflappable individuals live with less turmoil. They navigate life’s twists and turns with grace, flexibility, and cool confidence. With patience and practice, anyone willing can cultivate more chill. The peace and resilience gained is well worth the journey.