Today’s post is the latest in a thread devoted to describing people’s characters. In the previous two posts, we looked at ways of talking about people who are hard-working, ambitious, and lazy, among other traits. As usual, we start on a positive note, looking at words and phrases that describe people who are relaxed.
A common, informal adjective for someone who has a relaxed manner and doesn’t tend to worry about things is laid-back: I can’t imagine Tom getting stressed about anything. He’s so laid-back. Someone who rarely gets angry or upset with other people may be described admiringly as easy-going: Alice is great to work with – she’s very easy-going. If someone doesn’t get stressed or upset in stressful and difficult circumstances, you might say they are unflappable: Susannah is great when things get tricky. She’s completely unflappable.
And what about the opposite words that describe a person who is often stressed? We sometimes use the informal adjective stressy for this: My boss, unfortunately, is super stressy. Another useful adjective is uptight, which describes someone who is easily annoyed by other people because they are stressed: I didn’t find her easy to work with. She was a bit uptight.
Thinking now about happy people, two adjectives that describe both a happy mood and the characteristic of generally being happy are cheerful or cheery: Lucy was her usual cheerful self. / He gave us a cheery wave from the bus. Someone who is usually cheerful and positive may be also said to be sunny: She was a very sunny child. / He has a sunny disposition (= a happy character).
To emphasize that a happy person never seems worried about problems or responsibilities, you might use the adjective carefree: For a father of five, he always seems remarkably carefree. The sort of happy person who enjoys the present and doesn’t worry about the future is sometimes described as happy-go-lucky: In the film, she plays a happy-go-lucky character who always sees the best in everyone.
An informal adjective meaning ‘happy’ but with the additional sense of ‘full of energy’ is bubbly: She’s a very bubbly character – she’s fun to be around. A slightly old-fashioned synonym that you sometimes hear British speakers of English use is jolly: He’s a very jolly sort of a person. Someone who usually expects good things to happen is optimistic: I’m generally fairly optimistic, I’d say. (The opposite is pessimistic.)
In the next of these ‘character’ posts, we’ll look at words around being sociable and shy.