26

I want to convey the idea that such and such person is very easy to talk to.

I know that:

  1. 'talk to-able' is not a word, obviously.

  2. I can always say, "He is very easy to talk to." But I am looking for a single word, not a phrase.

  3. The word 'talkable' changes the meaning. Eg, if I say, "He is very talkable," the meaning tends to become (a) either, he is a topic/subject worthy of talking, (b) or, he can be talked over or shut up easily!

  4. I can get away with words like approachable, accessible, reachable etc but I feel there has got to be a better word.

Is there any?

Thanks much.

EDIT

Sometimes, there are people at work who, officially, can be 'approached' for questions. But their tone and body language, consciously or unconsciously, is such that they make you feel very uncomfortable approaching them next time around especially if there are choices available. So while they are there, 'accessible' etc for you officially, yet they are not all that 'easy to talk to'! Note that, I'm not necessarily looking for 'chatty' people either, but rather those who I can ask even stupid questions fearlessly because... again, they are 'very easy to talk to', with minimal ego, arrogance, and air about them.

EDIT 2

I am also happy with Dave Mulligan's "approachable" and ermanen's very clever "easy-to-talk-to".

  • 3
    We're going to need more explanation about why "approachable" etc won't work. What doesn't work about them? Why not exactly? – 1252748 Dec 23 '14 at 3:59
  • @thomas please see the EDIT. – Harry Dec 23 '14 at 6:32
  • What you describe in your edit @Harry is exactly what I have in my mind when I use the word winsome. Being accessible is not enough. Being approachable is better. Being comfortable is the goal. Winsome people, like Ronald Reagan or Bill Clinton (depending on your party comfort) made everyone feel more comfortable around them. – ScotM Dec 23 '14 at 7:53
  • 1
    Who says talk-to-able is not a word? It’s precise, easily understood, and does not have any undesired meanings or nuances—it fits the bill exactly. The only problem with it is that it is perhaps a bit clumsy. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Dec 23 '14 at 13:18
  • 2
    easy-to-talk-to – ermanen Dec 23 '14 at 14:40

15 Answers 15

39

Affable: (from TFD)

  • Easy and pleasant to speak to; approachable.

From Etymonline we gain insight into the reason "Affable" might work to describe "people who are easy to talk to":

  • late 15c.,
  • from Old French afable (14c.)
  • from Latin affabilis "approachable, courteous, kind,friendly,"
  • literally "who can be (easily) spoken to,"
  • from affari "to speak to,"
  • from ad- "to" + fari "to speak"

NB: Reformatted for clarity. Emphasis by ScotM.

It seems affable people have been easy to talk to for a long time.

  • While I would prefer to use 'approachable' in my conversational English with my non-MBA, very down-to-earth coworkers, 'affable' is probably the word I was looking for, which I should be easily able to use in formal writing. Unfortunately, I cannot mark 2 answers as final, so I am picking this one. Thanks to all who took the time to respond. TIL: affable = approachable = easy-to-talk-to . – Harry Dec 23 '14 at 15:56
  • Looks nice, @cate101! So you got approachable and talk-able through the back door, Harry ;) – ScotM Dec 23 '14 at 16:27
28

I would probably choose "approachable". You almost used it in your "Edit" paragraph, and I think it describes exactly the concept you're describing.

  • 1
    Yes, this word is commonly used in this context (which I know despite not being a native speaker) – Tomas Dec 25 '14 at 22:32
7

While Affable is clearly the most precise match...

Personable is often used as a synonym and is still in general use.

per·son·able adjective \ˈpərs-nə-bəl, ˈpər-sə-nə-bəl\
: friendly or pleasant in manner : easy to get along with

source

  • I have seen people at work who are friendly, pleasant, easy to get along with, well-mannered etc UNTIL you go and try to talk to them! Strange but true. Maybe, they feel threatened sharing helpful info in a highly competetive modern IT workplace. I could write a longer essay on this specific personality type but for now 'affable' and 'approachable' seem to be most apt words to me. +1 – Harry Dec 23 '14 at 22:49
6

The loosely related word congenial comes to mind;

adjective

(of a person) pleasing or liked on account of having qualities or interests that are similar to one's own.

Congenial does of course imply a specificity to oneself rather than a more generalized 'easy-to-talk-to-ness', on account of mutual interests.

Source

5

Conversational could be a generic adjective to describe a person who is easy to talk with.

ADJECTIVE

Consisting of or relating to conversation:

"Her conversational demeanor convinced the boss to promote her."

ORIGIN

from Latin conversationem "act of living with," past participle stem of conversari "to live with, keep company with," literally "turn about with," + al "of, like, related to, pertaining to,"

Engaging would describe a person who connects well during a conversation.

ADJECTIVE

Charming and attractive:

"She has an engaging voice."

ORIGIN

from phrase en gage "under pledge," from en "in" + gage "pledge"

Winsome could describe a person whose conversation you found pleasant and endearing.

ADJECTIVE

Attractive or appealing in a fresh, innocent way:

"His winsome personality helps him win friends and influence people."

ORIGIN

from the Old English word wynn "joy", which seems to be related to the Latin venus "love."

The suffix -some is from the Old English sum "producing; being".

Together, these two phonemes yield the connotation "producing the joy of love". Winsome would be my favorite, but it's your word choice.

(Source: www.oxforddictionaries.com)

  • I guess it can be, but "conversational" is more often used for someone who talks with people a lot. A conversational person is going to try to talk to you, while someone who is easy to talk to may require you to start the conversation. In other words, conversational is more specific. The other two you mention are similarly more specific, but you already explain why. – trlkly Dec 24 '14 at 5:53
4

Half the responses here have included "friendly" in their definitions. I'd propose it as an actual answer.

3

This isn't an adjective, but a very common English expression would call the person in question a good listener. It implies everything you're trying to describe above, about the person being very "talk to-able". Unfortunately, it's not a single word, but it is short, and very common.

  • 1
    I am looking for a 2-way conversation with this person :-) A good listener may never open his mouth even once, and may just keep nodding throughout. – Harry Dec 23 '14 at 6:42
  • Oh, I see. In that case, the only words I can come up with are vague (such as "open", as in "He's a very open person - you can talk to him about anything") or carry a bit too much connotation about their personality than I suspect you'd like (e.g. "personable" or "friendly"). – Mark Thompson Dec 23 '14 at 9:35
  • 1
    @Harry, while a 'good listener' could be silent, it's more likely that they would be an active listener. Someone who does not keep 2-way communication open - at an absolute minimum, using non-verbal communication - would not be a 'good listener'. A 'good listener' does a lot more than just literally listen! – A E Dec 23 '14 at 22:25
3

Empathetic people connect deeply with the folks around them.

ADJECTIVE

Showing an ability to understand and share the feelings of another:

ORIGIN

from Greek empatheia from em- 'in' + pathos 'feeling'

Here is how it might apply at the office:

His empathetic response defused the emotional bomb ticking in the office.

Compassionate is the verbal cousin of empathetic.

ADJECTIVE

Feeling or showing sympathy and concern for others:

ORIGIN

from Latin compati "to sympathize" form com "with" + pati "suffer" from Greek pema "suffering"

"He was compassionate when I explained my hard drive fried over the weekend."

1

Vulnerable 1 comes to mind when you say "they can ask stupid questions fearlessly."

Brené Brown's 2 extensive research has captured a contemporary sense of vulnerability:

"Vulnerability is not weakness, and that myth is profoundly dangerous. Vulnerability is the birthplace of invitation, innovation and change...Vulnerability is our most accurate measurement of courage."

The definition of vulnerable supports her claims:

ADJECTIVE

1 Exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally:

"Johnny is vulnerable to the taunts of the bully, but he is learning to manage his fears."

In the workplace, our superiors encourage us deeply when they take practical and emotional risks to connect with us at a human level that complements our professional relationship. We refer to those practical and emotional risks as vulnerability.

People who are easy to talk to extend small opportunities for us to "harm" them emotionally, because they have a deep inner courage and strength 3 to connect with us no matter what we say.

  1. http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/vulnerable
  2. https://www.ted.com/speakers/brene_brown
  3. https://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability/transcript?language=en
1

A person who is easy to talk to and is approachable is- 'affable'. Affable is an adjective. Source- English Oxford Dictionary and internet search. The word is derived from the latin word-"affābilis".

1

"Sounding board" is a commonly used phrase. For example, "Bob used Jack as a sounding board" means that Bob was comfortable describing problems to Jack. It also means that Bob could safely describe his opinions to Jack, before presenting his opinions to potentially hostile audiences. In other words, Bob finds Jack to be easy-to-talk to, and helps Bob figure out what Bob means to say.

It can be assumed that if "Bob used Jack as a sounding board", then Bob and Jack know each other pretty well already. The phrase says nothing (one way or the other) about whether strangers find Jack to be "easily approachable".

0

Again not an adjective, but you might also say that such a person "invites confidences."

  • Your post would be improved if it included a reference and an explanation of why it answers the question. – andy256 Dec 23 '14 at 10:19
0

Sociable is an alternative, and one that I'd use. Although it doesn't specifically imply that they're easy to talk to, it does connote that they're comfortable in all social situations.

"Have you talked to the new guy yet? He's very sociable."

You could also use social in this way.

"willing to talk and engage in activities with other people; friendly." - Google's definition

-1

I would say he's amiable. This suggests he is approachable and easy to talk to.

protected by tchrist Feb 22 '15 at 4:00

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.