What's the most appropriate word for someone that's neither an optimist or a pessimist? Lackadaisical? Disinterested?


What I was going for was someone who is neither optimistic or pessimistic about the future because they basically don't care. This was not so clear earlier.

Lots of good answers below, and in my opinion the ones that fit my intentions best are

  • Ambivalent
  • Apathetic
  • Indifferent
  • Stoic

closed as unclear what you're asking by tchrist, 200_success, Matt Gutting, aedia λ, choster Dec 4 '14 at 18:20

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  • 5
    indifferent: having no particular interest – Renae Lider Dec 4 '14 at 2:34
  • 3
    that could be a normal person – Esha Dec 4 '14 at 6:26
  • That completely depends on what that person is instead. – Deduplicator Dec 4 '14 at 11:09
  • 2
    Asleep, I suspect. – Hot Licks Dec 4 '14 at 13:16
  • @deduplicator, agreed, I was looking for options and appreciated all the good responses. Ambivalent is perfect for what the specific situation. – Samuel Neff Dec 4 '14 at 15:59

Necessarily a neutral point of view? Because Ambivalent is neither optimistic nor pessimistic, but not necessarily neutral. Otherwise Apathetic or Indifferent comes to mind.

  • Thanks all for the good options. Ambivalent is best for the situation I'm thinking of (which I probably didn't describe well enough). – Samuel Neff Dec 4 '14 at 1:23
  • Ambivalent is about being unable to decide between many courses of action, not about caring little about the result, or thinking the result will be middling. – Oldcat Dec 4 '14 at 22:11
  • It can be more than uncertainty, it can also mean adopting contradictory ideas. The end result would be in one way or another an acceptance of this contradiction, perhaps synthesis. – pfff Dec 4 '14 at 22:25

That'd be a realist, wouldn't it?

  • That's a slightly different concept: the OP is talking about a "neutral-point-of-view-ist", and trying to find the closest matching "real" word. – Jon Story Dec 4 '14 at 16:26
  • Personally, I think it's precisely the same concept. Realism is the middle ground between optimism and pessimism. – Carl Smith Dec 4 '14 at 20:44
  • @CarlSmith I'd disagree there. A realist is someone who is pragmatic about their views. For example, an optimist might think it's going to be sunny tomorrow. A pessimist might think it's going to rain. A realist might also think it's going to rain, based on the latest weather forecast. They're not choosing the middle ground. – Chris McKeown Dec 6 '14 at 23:07
  • I don't entirely agree with your analogy. To a realist a weather forecast would not qualify as a something substantial enough to base a decision on. In doing so the realist would not differ from what optimists and pessimists do, which is having unfounded expectations. Relying on a weather forecast makes it less unreasonable to expect a certain weather, but it's still basically just a guess. A pragmatist would listen to a weather forecast and go "It is possible that it's going to rain tommorrow, but there's no way of knowing for sure". – J_LV Dec 6 '14 at 23:28

They are well-balanced or equanimous.

  • +1 Equanimous is the correct word, meaining "Of an even, composed frame of mind; of a steady temper; not easily elated or depressed." – Tulains Córdova Dec 4 '14 at 17:51


comes to one's mind.

  • 1
    You can be even-tempered and be an optimist or pessimist. Even-tempered is someone who isn't prone to losing their temper easily. – Mari-Lou A Dec 4 '14 at 11:26

A neither optimistic nor pessimistic person must be in complete harmony with his/her thoughts.

Why not a stoic.

According to vocabulary.com:

When you're stoic, you don't show what you're feeling and you also accept whatever is happening.



The words optimist and pessimist are about overall outlooks/worldviews. If anyone is lackadaisical, disinterested, apathetic, or indifferent about everything in life, we would be hard pressed not to call them a obvious pessimist.

A glass can hold 250ml of liquid. I currently contains 125ml. An optimist calls it half full. A pessimist calls it half empty. Both those options are true, and there aren't any other options. If there aren't any other options, there isn't a word to describe someone who holds a non-existent view.

You may as well ask what do you call it when a coin doesn't land on either heads or tails. That doesn't happen, so there isn't a word for it.

  • It happens approx. once every 6000 times that a tossed coin lands on edge. I simply can't figure out why you seem to think that this "does not happen". In addition to that, there's a term for it - edge. A coin either lands on heads, tails or edge. Granted, it's pretty unlikely to happen, but there is a word to describe that phenomenon. – J_LV Dec 4 '14 at 17:45
  • The glass isn't half-full or half-empty, I'm half-thirsty. /drinks glass. Now it's all-empty. :) – Brian S Dec 4 '14 at 17:47
  • It is all-full of life-giving air, you pessimist. – Oldcat Dec 4 '14 at 22:12

centrist or perhaps, conflicted

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