I'm looking for a good way to describe a particular personality trait. The subject in question is a very caring and nurturing person, the kind that seems to always know what you need to hear, good or bad. For current purposes, let's call her Susan.

The normal rules for pr/swr questions at ELU.SE is to provide an example sentence, but I'm not sure how that works here since my intended use is simply:

I would describe Susan as ________.

So instead, I will provide some alternatives that should give potential answer-ers a starting point to provide even better alternatives.

I would describe Susan as a person who takes inspiration and motivation from her own emotions, the emotions of others, and especially her ability to recognize and empathize with the emotions of others.

This says everything and lays it out well, but is a tad verbose. There is nothing inherently wrong with the above version, but I'd like to pare it down a bit if possible.

I would describe Susan as emotional.

Technically, this is a correct usage of the word emotional, but in context it is usually interpreted different. If you say "that was an emotional moment for me" or "I really enjoyed the emotional scenes in the play" then this is what the word emotional means. But when describing a person, most people take it as having extreme and wildly vacillating emotions, which is not at all what I want to convey.

I would describe Susan as an anti-Vulcan.

This could work, and I like the humor in it. I'm not sure everyone will get it though, and whether it gives the full idea I'm going for.

I would describe Susan as perceptive.

While again true, this could also describe a person who simply has really good eyesight. It's a start, but there is more to Susan that this doesn't say.


2 Answers 2


emotional maturity

emotionally mature aka emotional intelligent.

emotional maturity is the buzz word for this.

Phd's writing about this topic: subtitle: a path to emotional maturity

Emotional intelligence (EI), also known as Emotional quotient (EQ) and Emotional Intelligence Quotient(EIQ), is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings and label them appropriately, use emotional information to guide thinking and behavior, and manage and/or adjust emotions to adapt to environments or achieve one's goal(s). - wikipedia

  • Is this a reference to Gardner's multiple intelligences? It would probably work with an audience that is familiar with that, I think mine might be.
    – cobaltduck
    Mar 5, 2018 at 20:38
  • I dunno who first wrote about it: emotional maturity and emotional intelligence are buzzwords today. Personally, I think it's mostly bosh...but in the main, those are terms acknowledged rather widely nowadays....
    – Lambie
    Mar 5, 2018 at 20:40
  • Once upon a time we called this adulthood, or described the person as balanced or well-rounded Mar 9, 2018 at 0:01
  • downvoter: sour grapes. Tsk, tsk, tsk.
    – Lambie
    Dec 27, 2021 at 14:51

I would describe Susan as an empath. She seems to always know what you need to hear, whether it is good or bad. Please read the following definitions for reference:

(chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual. [—The Oxford Dictionary of English, Third Edition (©2010)]
One who is highly sensitive to the feelings of others and has a high capacity for empathy: "He was also something of an empath, intuitively alert, it would seem, to what was going on behind those faces" (Roberta Smith). [—The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th edition (©2018)]
  • +1. However, I have a feeling this will fly well only if the audiences are familiar with genre fiction.
    – Tushar Raj
    Mar 6, 2018 at 9:31
  • It would probably work better to use the adjective empathic, since it's more commonly used than empath. (Source: Corpus of Contemporary American English, which gives empathic a frequency rating of 548, compared to empath's rating of just 66.)
    – spoko
    Apr 5, 2018 at 21:12

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