What is a word or phrase that describes "a person who is having difficulty speaking with girls?"

  • 4
    Is it specifically girls or is it the opposite sex (a girl who has difficulty speaking with boys)? Is the difficulty related to a specific mode, like flirting?
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 12:50
  • 18
    computer programmer ;)
    – gbutters
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 12:56
  • 6
    @gbutters I resemble that remark!
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 13:20
  • 3
    Until I got married, "Jeff" would have been a good fit.
    – JeffSahol
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 14:21
  • 3
    For girls who have difficulty speaking to boys "wallflower" would do the job.
    – Christi
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 14:59

9 Answers 9


"Shy" would be a description of someone who has difficulty speaking with people. You could describe someone as "Shy around girls", but knowing more about why they were shy might lead us to a better phrase.

  • 7
    Bashful is close to shy as well.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 13:53
  • Excellent point, and much more associated with being shy around girls too.
    – user1579
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 15:10
  • 1
    Also, an oddly popular name among dwarves.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 15:13
  • Great. I created an account here just so I could upvote this. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 4:21

I've seen in various old books (Vanity Fair, if I rightly recall) such a person described as a hobbledehoy, meaning an awkward, tongue-tied young man.

  • Neat word, and seems terribly obscure.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 19:03


In psychology, Parthenophobia refers to an abnormal and persistent fear of virgins or young girls.

Psychology Wiki

  • Is that derived from Parthenon - a place where virgins are found?
    – pavium
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 13:52
  • 2
    +1 Not exactly common usage, but I love that there's a word that mean "fear of virgins." It's going on my bulletin board right now.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 13:54
  • Heh. I don't think that's quite what he was going for, but I love the word.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 16:06
  • @pavium: the Parthenon is the temple of Athene Parthene, Athena the Virgin. So yes, in a way. Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 9:52
  • Except that doesn't seem to be a real condition, just a coined word. It's a neat word, and it means what it sounds like, but it's well, made up and not in common use. Wikis aren't always the best source for this kind of thing. Commented Jun 29, 2012 at 13:42

Someone who has difficulty speaking in stressful situations (such as the computer programmer and the girl) may be described as "tongue-tied".

  • Upvote for subtle Red Dwarf reference.
    – user3065
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 5:03

A geek or a computer geek could work for this kind of person.


How about "selective mutist", a selective mutist is someone who cannot talk in certain conditions, but is quite chatty in others. For instance, a boy at school having difficulty chatting with other girls, but when he gets home, jokes around a lot with his sister.


If that wasn't clear enough, how about "parthenophobic selective mutist"....

  • I don't think mutist is a word. I think you want mute here.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 23:16
  • @Kit, not really sure myself, but it is taken from selective mutism. So someone who has selective mutism could be selective mutist, who is selectively mute in certain situations...
    – Thursagen
    Commented Jun 2, 2011 at 0:57
  • @Kit, I was doubtful about the term, but I saw a television program only a few days ago which described 'selective mutism' in various people. They didn't use the term selective mute, preferring the slightly more euphemistic selective mutist.
    – pavium
    Commented Jun 13, 2011 at 13:16
  • Upvote for subtle Big Bang Theory reference.
    – user3065
    Commented Jan 7, 2016 at 5:04

"Painfully bashful" implies the person has a hard time talking or interacting with other people. "He was painfully bashful when in the presence of girls."


I would say Coy is related especially to Bashful/Shy - by not necessarily when talking to girls

  • 3
    "Coy" is more like not speaking for strategic purposes, rather than not being emotionally able to speak.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 16:08


This would be someone who chooses not to speak to women. Not out of fear or shyness but out of dislike. It has more of a negative connotation though.

  • 2
    I think misogynist is really extreme for this context, considering it implies hatred and mistrust of women and carries a very negative connotation. And though a misogynist might choose not to speak to a woman, I don't think that's a typical trait associated with misogynists.
    – Kit Z. Fox
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 17:36
  • @Kit - My answer was based of a real life scenario. A professor where I went to school refused to speak to any female coworkers after he was accused of sexual harassment.
    – MVCylon
    Commented Jun 1, 2011 at 17:41

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