Sims 3 Thought Bubbles: What Do They Mean?

A few players have noticed that their Sims seem to be psychic.  Is this true, or just a weird coincidence?  If you pay attention to the thought bubbles that occasionally show up for your Sims, you may start to see some interesting patterns.

In the picture above, you can see that my Sim is thinking of a gravestone.  And only an hour later (in game time), someone in her household died!  Coincidence?  I have never seen her thinking of gravestones before, and she hasn't thought about them since.

I have actually seen this happen before, but I always thought it was a coincidence.  Now I'm starting to wonder!

Some thought bubbles are pretty easy to decode, and seem to be related to your Sim's recent activities, skills, and traits.  I have a Sim who has the Tidy trait, and he often has a thought bubble with a bar of yellow soap and some foamy bubbles.  That one makes sense.  Sims with a high Gardening skill will often think about plants, or the "Gardening" logo (a spade and some plants).  

Sims with particular interests will often think about those things.  These interests aren't visible to the player, the way they were in Sims 2, but I'm convinced they still exist.  For example, when telling a "scary story," a Sim will often throw out a speech bubble with a Loch Ness monster (Nessie).  But I had one Sim who would occasionally think the Nessie icon, but with the little yellow smiley face beside it!

Sims who really like something will think about that thing, with a little yellow smiley face.  You will often see this if you max out a Sim's skill in one particular area.  For example, my Sim with a maxed out Writing skill will think of a quill pen and ink - with a yellow smiley face.

That makes sense.  But how to account for Nessie?

There also don't seem to be as many icons available in Sims 3 as there were in Sims 2.  This makes their conversations with each other seem a lot more limited in scope, and their own imaginations limited as well.  And who can forget the way that penguins would always talk to snowmen about crime, burglars, and police handcuffs?

Furthermore, Sims seem to cycle through the same sub-set of thoughts and conversational topics.  Whereas they would think a lot of stuff at random in Sims 2, in Sims 3 they pretty much always seem to think about the same three or four things.  For example, that Writer Sim that I mentioned earlier pretty much only ever talked or thought about writing.  

(I am resisting the thought that this may be more realistic and true-to-life, because it depresses me.)

Given what I will call the "tombstone coincidence," I think we have to ask whether our Sims are psychic.  Do they have precognitive abilities?  Clearly there's only one way to find out, and that's by observing them closely.  I know that I for one will be paying much closer attention to their thought bubbles from now on!


Anonymous's picture


I googled thought/speech bubbles and found your excellent site. I figured The reaper bubble might be you're standing next to an old person, but the gravestone one I have yet to see. They're not just old, they're hoary? 

   I wondered about the unicorn one. In my game most of sunset valley are women, and the bystanders might occasionally think of unicorns looking at them. A visitor just arrived to chat and the first thing my sim thought of was a daisy in a flowerpot.

I wish there were a list. I also very much want to help "very alluring" woohoo become "extremely irresistable" more often. I've found that buying stuff just before woohoo helps but I'm not sure that makes any sense. Extremely irresitstable downgrades to very allouring unless conditions are just right.

  Thanks again for all your thoughts.