Describing people is hard, but describing personalities can be its own impossible feat. Sure, you know your adjectives for describing a friend as tall or happy or sad, but that doesn’t really get to the crux of their character or values. Thankfully, it’s never too late to build up your vocabulary to describe your adventurous friends, laid-back teacher, or inconsiderate little brother.
Whether you’re talking about yourself or someone else, it never hurts to err on the side of positivity. Luckily, you have a ton of positive adjectives right at your fingertips to talk about your affable dad, diplomatic teacher, and trustworthy friend. While you’re at it, you can do some self-reflection and think of yourself as empathetic, sensible, and supportive.
|adventurous||willing to take chances or risks; loves to try new things||daring, bold, courageous|
|affable||pleasant, kind; gentle; approachable||friendly, amiable, good-humored|
|assertive||stands up for oneself while remaining respectful of others||confident, self-assured, emphatic|
|active||energetic, involved, ready for anything||determined, busy, diligent|
|cheerful||tendency to be upbeat and in good spirits||happy, chipper, joyous|
|considerate||keeping others’ feelings in mind before acting||accommodating, charitable, thoughtful|
|convivial||always in a good mood; the life of the party||cheerful, festive, sociable|
|diplomatic||fair-minded and able to see both sides of a situation||tactful, strategic, conciliatory|
|empathetic||willing and able to view situations from the perspectives of others||compassionate, sympathetic, understanding|
|encouraging||providing support, guiding others to be hopeful and have a positive outlook||supportive, reassuring, hopeful|
|enthusiastic||positive, upbeat attitude; eager to do a good job||excited, exuberant, rhapsodic|
|gregarious||upbeat and outgoing; loves being around people and making new friends||friendly, sociable, affable|
|hopeful||optimistic: has faith in a good outcome||optimistic, cheerful, confident|
|laid-back||relaxed, easy-going; not prone to worry or stress||mellow, nonchalant, insouciant|
|motivated||puts energy toward a hopeful outcome||driven, influenced, pushed|
|optimistic||expecting the best from people and situations; positive outlook||buoyant, idealistic, sanguine|
|resourceful||Having the ability to overcome difficulties in clever, skillful ways||bright, quick-witted, inventive|
|sincere||straightforward; honest, truthful||earnest, genuine, heartfelt|
|supportive||provides emotional support and encouragement to others||encouraging, reassuring, sympathetic|
|trustworthy||dependable, reliable; will keep confidential information to themselves||honest, honorable, virtuous|
Unfortunately, most people do have negative qualities to balance out all those positive traits. Having the right negative adjectives to describe a personality ensures that you have the words to talk about a cynical stranger, patronizing principal, and unreliable uncle.
|argumentative||stirs up conflicts on purpose or fights unnecessary fights||bickering, quarrelsome, contrary|
|childish||prone to selfishness; tends to throw temper tantrums; lack of maturity||immature, puerile, naïve|
|cynical||suspicious of others’ intentions; always sees the negative side of a situation||pessimistic, derisive, contemptuous|
|disruptive||uses peaceful moments to disturb others or air their own grievances||rowdy, unruly, troublesome|
|hostile||tends to be antagonistic or aggressive in demeanor||belligerent, contentious, unfriendly|
|inconsiderate||ignores or doesn't care about other people's needs and feelings||insensitive, impolite, rude|
|lazy||not willing to put forth effort; does as little work as possible||sluggish, lackadaisical, careless|
|moody||emotionally unpredictable, typically negative||temperamental, crabby, capricious|
|one-sided||chooses a side and refuses to even engage with the others||biased, prejudiced, narrow-minded|
|patronizing||condescending; talks down to others||arrogant, pretentious, highfalutin|
|pessimistic||negative outlook; expects the worst outcomes||bleak, cynical, negative|
|resentful||feeling bitter at having been treated unfairly||indignant, aggrieved, offended|
|selfish||assumes or insists that their needs come first at all times||self-centered, egotistical, ungenerous|
|unreliable||can't be counted on to follow-through or do what is needed||untrustworthy, fickle, inaccurate|
|weak||exhibits a lack of strength; doesn't effectively handle pressure||anemic, powerless, fragile|
Along with positive and negative personality traits, most people have those neutral, middle-of-the-road characteristics. Neutral personality adjectives help you describe your steadfast mom, reflective friend, and focused coworkers.
|analytical||carefully researches and considers options; seeks to do things right the first time||examining, investigative, systematic|
|collaborative||seeks out the thoughts and opinions of others; enjoys working in a team||cooperative, synergistic, shared|
|eager||enthusiastic, energetic, ready to move forward||ambitious, fervent, restless|
|extroverted||outgoing person who enjoys engaging with other people||congenial, sociable, gregarious|
|focused||very goal-directed; doesn't get pulled off course by distractors||immersed, engaged, intent|
|introverted||a reflective person who tends to be quiet and reserved||reserved, introspective, soft-spoken|
|mature||always behaves appropriately, never childish||grown-up, sophisticated, mellowed|
|nervous||anxious and timid in ordinary, everyday situations||worried, edgy, apprehensive|
|passive||unable to make active decisions or assert oneself||yielding, acquiescent, compliant|
|practical||focused on what is sensible, useful||pragmatic, reasonable, sensible|
|precise||detail-oriented and eager to do a good job||meticulous, fastidious, scrupulous|
|reflective||tends to look inwardly and/or reflects on situations thoughtfully||contemplative, meditative, ruminative|
|sensible||careful, wise, prudent, practical||reasonable, practical, shrewd|
|shy||bashful, introverted, tendency to be quiet and reserved||self-conscious, cautious, timid|
|steadfast||reliable; loyal; seeks to maintain harmony in relationships||dedicated, inflexible, resolute|
Whether you’re creating fictional characters or writing a personal bio, keep a list of adjectives that describe personality handy so you always have great options.
Your brain is probably brimming with adjectives to describe a person and personalities, but how do you apply all that vocabulary? The most sensible thing would be to check out some sentence examples. Don’t be shy!
- Our optimistic friend made even the cloudiest days seem full of promise and good things.
- I tried to not be resentful, but that man took the last bagel that I really wanted.
- Her encouraging mom always supported her weirdest hobbies without question.
- Even though everyone thought he was extroverted, he tended to be more introverted and happy to spend time at home.
- Even the most curmudgeonly strangers seemed to get along with our gregarious friend.
- He tended to joke around a lot, but he had his sincere moments once you got to know him.
- She was a highly motivated runner who wanted to get a new personal record at the marathon.
- He normally wasn’t so argumentative, but he seemed to be extra grumpy this morning.
- Her trustworthy nature meant that people were often telling her secrets.
- He tried to be considerate by remembering that her favorite pizza toppings were pepperoni, jalapenos, and mushrooms.
- As a steadfast friend, he always stuck by my side, even through the worst of times.
- The eager campers were ready to set up the tent and get the fire going to roast some hot dogs.
- Our convivial friend was always ready to brighten up the mood and boost the energy in the room.
- We all appreciated her practical thinking, considering we all tended to overcomplicate problems.
- His serious, mature demeanor at work was balanced out by how childish he could be with his friends.
You’re equipped with an unreal amount of adjectives for personalities now, but there are so many other words out there to help you describe people. Building up your personal vocabulary is good for your writing and speaking skills, but it also helps you gain more precision when you talk about the people around you.