In my professional and personal life I've been trying to listen more and talk less. I tend to offer my thoughts/opinions/judgments where they're not needed and I'd like to stop doing that. It's been bugging me to find a name for a person who isn't so loose with their thoughts/opinions/judgements. The name for a person one might say "Oh yeah, David, he's a very ______ kind of person." Someone beyond reproach keeping gossip and such to themselves...
Slow to reveal emotion or opinions.
"he is a reserved, almost taciturn man"
I believe reticent is exactly the word you're looking for. It means you don't talk about your own thoughts and such readily.
(adj.) Not revealing one's thoughts or feelings readily.
‘she was extremely reticent about her personal affairs’
I like tight-lipped.
: reluctant to speak; taciturn [Webster's]
She was tight-lipped when asked about her last boyfriend.
Taciturn isn't bad either.
I believe 'judicious' is a good word to describe such a person who doesn't offer unsolicited advise, doesn't pass judgement easily.
using or showing judgment as to action or practical expediency; discreet, prudent, or politic: Example: judicious use of one's money.
having, exercising, or characterized by good or discriminating judgment; wise, sensible, or well-advised: a judicious selection of documents.
Considered is sometimes used with the opposite sense to 'hasty / outspoken':
He is a considered and reflective man.
Notice that 'He is considered' sounds weird without the padding.
I think one would need to look in OED for this sense.
I think your question is actually asking for two different words. Someone who listens rather than speaks could be described as reflective as suggested above.
Someone who does not pass on gossip could be described as discreet
Tactful. Addresses beyond reproach, gossip and such elements. Discreet also ticks these boxes, credit to the response by @Christian Palmer.
Reflective. Emphasises the listen more aspect.
If a phrase would suffice consider 'keeping one's (own) counsel'
keep one's counsel
- To keep one's own business private; to be discreet, careful, or circumspect in what one says concerning one's own thoughts, deeds, or situation.
- 1850, William Makepeace Thackeray, The History of Pendennis, ch. 6: As he held his mother to him, he longed to tell her all, but he kept his counsel.
- 1982, "Personal Power, Personal Hate," Time, 26 Jul.: Khomeini's approach to decision making is to keep his counsel at first, allowing the advocates of different options to debate issues openly.
- To keep a secret for someone else; to be discreet, careful, or circumspect in what one says concerning someone else's thoughts, deeds, or situation.
- 1822, Sir Walter Scott, The Fortunes of Nigel, ch. 8: I am sorry this is a matter I cannot aid you in—it goes against my conscience, and it is an affair above my condition, and beyond my management;—but I will keep your counsel.
- 1871–72, George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 49 Standish will keep our counsel, and the news will be old before it's known.
Thoughtful. This works well because it's a combination of someone who thinks things through before acting, and because it also means considerate.
a. Given to careful thought; reflective
Having or showing heed for the well-being or happiness of others and a propensity for anticipating their needs or wishes. (American Heritage)
"Oh yeah, David, he's a very thoughtful sort of person."
I chose this word over the others because this is a description you can feel good about if you overhear it by chance. Whereas the other words suggested so far don't have that warm, fuzzy feeling, feeling good about yourself if you overhear it.
David is a very trustworthy kind of person.
You can depend on him to behave with maturity, consideration and care in his personal and professional interactions.
Capable of being depended upon: dependable, reliable, responsible, solid, sound, trusty.
Worthy of belief, as because of precision or faithfulness to an original: authentic, authoritative, convincing, credible, faithful, true, valid.
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
My answer is more general and speaks to the underlying quality missing when someone gossips, offers unsolicited advice or passes judgment. This behavior causes people to be defensive and feel unsafe. Trustworthiness is the antidote. If you haven't already, go listen to Aaron Burr's advice to Alexander Hamilton in the song, "Aaron Burr, Sir" from the Broadway musical Hamilton. Burr says to Hamilton, "Talk less. Smile more."
The word close may be used as an adjective describing a person, meaning taciturn, guarded, careful in speech. It also shows up in the idiom "he keeps his cards close to his vest", a reference to games of cards, where you do not want others to see your cards.
The word restrained works here.
"Oh yeah, David, he's a very restrained kind of person."
1 Characterized by reserve or moderation; unemotional or dispassionate.
‘he had restrained manners’
‘The count displays the inner calm, the ideal of restrained, and learned manners required of a gentleman.’
Taciturn: "tending not to speak much" (Cambridge English dictionary). "inclined to silence; reserved in speech; reluctant to join in conversation." (dictionary.com)
'Reserved' can apply to manner and behaviour; 'taciturn' applies specifically to speech.
If you mean 'thinks before they speak', perhaps 'measured' might work too.
To offer something different, laconic works here.
Using as few words as possible; pithy and concise.
From Latin Lacōnicus (“Spartan”), from Ancient Greek Λακωνικός (Lakōnikós, “Laconian”). Laconia was the region inhabited and ruled by the Spartans, who were known for their brevity in speech.
Has similar meaning to other suggestions but with less emotional connotation.
Meek: According to the New Testament, this person could be described as meek. James 1:19-21 ESV "...let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak...receive with meekness the implanted word." Of course, in context, it is referring to someone's humility to hear God's Word, but I think the quality could be applied in other contexts as well depending on what one is being meek to?
In common parlance a general term would be to say ' David is a really decent guy' this means that in general we have a high opinion of his character and behaviour. You could say he was ethical if he doesn't gossip. You could say was cool or trustworthy - meaning that you could share information with him without being sorry that you did 😎 however what you're talking about is very specific and words descibing that would really belong better in a sentence that discusses conversation.... Rather than discusses the person himself overall. I agree with 'discreet' if you say you have a problem you want to discuss with someone " try talking to David don't worry he's very discreet" for example.
It tends to be the case that there are a lot more words to describe a negative ! and a negative is more often discussed than a positive . in this case it would be more likely that somebody would say that you were : Indiscreet a Blabbermouth a Chatterbox a Windbag a Gossip that you like the sound of your own voice that you never stop talking that you go on and on ....that you're not a good listener that you're opinionated ... that you love to talk and so on
It sounds to me like the idea of what you're trying to convey is that of self-discipline. As in: "Oh yeah, David, he's very self-disciplined in his speech".
It also seems you might be hinting at intentionality. As in: "Oh yeah, David, he's very intentional in his choice of words".
"equable" seems like a good fit:
adjective (of a person) not easily disturbed or angered; calm and even-tempered. • not varying or fluctuating greatly: an equable climate.
noun: stoic; plural noun: stoics; noun: Stoic; plural noun: Stoics
- person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining.
adjective: stoic; adjective: Stoic
- another term for stoical.
How about guarded?
guarded: Cautious and having possible reservations.
‘he has given a guarded welcome to the idea’
‘Skylar stared at him for a minute, his expression carefully guarded and inscrutable.’
‘The drop in the number of serious firearms offences in West Yorkshire, against the national trend and for the second year running, deserves a guarded welcome.’
‘As for how that future might look, Nick is more guarded than others who've recently talked enthusiastically about what possibilities lie in store.’
‘But when asked to review Brigham City, an independent feature film by and about Mormons, I could only approach the task with guarded curiosity.’
‘In as far as he allows personal sentiment to show, he indicates a guarded, sceptical, knowledgeable and shrewd affection for both in about equal measure.’
‘There was a sort of guarded idealism of the need to promote democratic values, coupled with the tragic acceptance that such sacrifice would always be misinterpreted and caricatured.’
‘The Refugee Council gave a guarded welcome to the proposals, with particular support for the ending of the ‘demeaning’ voucher system.’
‘She gave a slight grin as well, though this one was carefully guarded.’
‘She quickly hid it back again, however, her eyes becoming guarded and wary yet again.’
‘In the light of all this, Paul probably would wonder about the times that we live our faith in guarded or cautious ways.’
‘He tried to entertain Holly the best he could, though she was probably scared senseless by the smell of tobacco and the guarded expression Poppy always wore under all circumstances.’
‘The question took him by surprise, and his eyes grew guarded and cautious, his own grip tightening as well.’
'The British Government gave a guarded welcome to the statement while stressing the need for the Good Friday Agreement to be implemented in full.’
‘At the same time, it is not to be denied that his words, when he answered, were carefully guarded, and that he rose to take his leave.’
‘I watched him carefully through guarded eyes and waited until I thought he had calmed down before I spoke again.’
‘There, though, the problems raised are only touched upon in a guarded fashion, with careful reservations and with a noticeable reluctance to arrive at a positive resolution.’
‘At present, his guarded manner and his reluctance to discuss his previous symptoms or violent behaviour make a detailed examination of his mental state extremely difficult.’
‘When she looks back on her days as a child actor, Follows is generally less careful, less guarded than she would have been at the time.’
‘It's easy to see why MacLeod has to remain guarded and wary of all those he encounters.’
‘Without specific or new intelligence, a guarded and selective response must be better than a blanket one.’
Your example sentence:
"Oh yeah, David, he's a very guarded kind of person."