10 Best Words to Describe a Shy Person

Being shy doesn’t always have to be a negative thing. A lot of people find it endearing or appealing in their own ways. This article will look into some good words that you can use to describe a shy and quiet person without worrying about insulting them for their personality.

Best Words to Describe a Shy Person

The best words to describe a shy person are “reserved,” “modest,” and “unobtrusive.” Each of these words can be a bit more specific, relating to their personality traits, but they’re all solid when showing that someone is quiet. You can use them to be positive about their characteristics.


“Reserved” is a great way of showing that someone is shy. You can use it to show that they tend to keep to themselves. Reserved people also like to hide their private thoughts and feelings, only sharing them with the people they are closest with.

The definition of “reserved,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “tending to keep your feelings or thoughts private rather than showing them.”

  • I know that he’s quite reserved, but I think I like that about him. It shows that he’s always keeping himself to himself.
  • I like being more reserved than most. I’ve never really understood the appeal of parties or gatherings when I don’t want to be there.
  • He is quite reserved, so you might have a difficult time getting him to talk. He’s a lovely guy, though, so make sure you treat him well.


“Modest” is a great way to show that someone likes to keep things to themselves. They will also not celebrate their own achievements much because they worry that it might be construed as cocky (which is the last thing a shy person wants).

The definition of “modest,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not usually talking about or making obvious your own abilities and achievements.”

  • I don’t mean to come across as modest all the time, but I really don’t know how I’m supposed to act in these situations.
  • You’re the most modest person I’ve ever met. I really like that about you because it shows that you’re under no illusions about yourself.
  • You’re too modest for your own good! Sometimes, it would help for you to look at yourself in a slightly more positive light. I swear!


“Unobtrusive” is a good way of showing that someone doesn’t get in the way. Shy people often do things to avoid being the center of attention. They’re much happier just to fit in on the sidelines rather than coming forward.

“Unobtrusive” is a good way of showing that someone is happy to sit back in a group. While they’re still included as part of the group, they will often let other people take the limelight away from them.

The definition of “unobtrusive,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not noticeable; seeming to fit in well with the things around.”

  • I’m unobtrusive at the best of times. I don’t like getting in the way or stepping on anyone’s toes, so I try and avoid doing that.
  • You’re quite unobtrusive, so you’re free to come along as well. We really like having the company, and you never seem to complain.
  • He’s really unobtrusive. I think he’s one of my favorite people to have in the class because he just lets himself get on with the work.


“Subtle” shows that someone isn’t loud. They will often do things quietly or away from prying eyes because they don’t like to be obvious about the things they choose to do. They’re much happier keeping to themselves.

The definition of “subtle,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “not loud, bright, noticeable, or obvious.”

  • As a subtle girl, she’s always keeping herself to herself. I think it’s quite hard to get anything out of her, to be honest.
  • I know you’re quite subtle in how you carry yourself, and I really like that about you. I just wish you’d open up to me a little more, you know?
  • He’s a very subtle guy, but that’s why so many of the girls like him. They think he’s a mystery that they need to solve.


“Unassuming” can work well to refer to shy people. It shows that someone is quiet and doesn’t like to attract attention. Shy people struggle when the attention is on them, which is why it pays for them to be unassuming.

The definition of “unassuming,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “quiet and not attracting attention.”

  • Without coming across as too unassuming, I really don’t feel like joining in with this team project today. Do you mind if I sit it out?
  • You’re quite unassuming, which can be both positive and negative. It really depends on whether we need you to talk and help out.
  • I thought you were more unassuming than that. I’m quite impressed to learn that you do have a voice for yourself.


“Discreet” is another great way to show that someone is keeping the attention away from themselves. This works well to refer to a shy person because it shows that they are doing things in discreet ways to avoid embarrassment or questioning.

The last thing a shy person wants to feel is embarrassment in a social situation. That’s why it works well to use “discreet.”

The definition of “discreet,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “careful not to cause embarrassment or attract too much attention, especially by keeping something secret.”

  • I like being discreet in social situations. I feel much more comfortable when I’m not doing silly things that might draw attention to myself.
  • You don’t have to be so discreet all the time. You do know that most of these people are fond of you, and nobody will laugh at you.
  • I thought you came across as quite discreet. It’s about time that you try and fix that. You’ll make a lot more friends that way.


“Restrained” can be a good way of referring to a shy person. It shows that someone is always acting calm and controlled. Sometimes, this is a deliberate and active choice. Other times, it’s because shy people don’t know how else to act.

You’ll often find that shy people are the most “controlled” in their groups. This is usually because they don’t have the capacity to be loud, spontaneous, or embarrassing. They will always be a good voice of reason.

The definition of “restrained,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “acting in a calm and controlled way.”

  • I’m very restrained because I never feel like I know the right thing to say. I’m always worried that I might say something to offend someone.
  • You’re very restrained, and I like that about you. It shows that you’re careful with your words, and you always think first.
  • He’s a restrained young man, so he can be difficult to talk with. I wish you the best of luck in trying to break through his walls.


“Soft-spoken” shows that someone speaks softly. They might have a quiet voice by nature or by choice. Usually, you’ll find that people who speak quietly like this are the shiest people in their friend groups.

The definition of “soft-spoken,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “having a quiet, pleasant voice.”

  • She’s very soft-spoken, and I think that’s cute. I would really like to get to know her a bit more to see what she’s all about.
  • You’re soft-spoken, and that’s okay. You don’t have to try and compete to be the loudest voice in the room. It’s okay to be quiet.
  • I’m too soft-spoken to be heard most of the time. I understand that other people are louder than me, and I’ve come to terms with that.


“Quiet” is a good way of referring to a shy person. It can be both positive and negative, depending on whether you need them to help you out or whether you’re okay with their quiet demeanor.

The definition of “quiet,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “making very little noise.”

  • Am I quiet? I always thought I was quite confident, but now it appears that I’m one of the quieter people in my circles.
  • You’re a quiet guy, but we don’t mind that. We like it when you tag along because you’re always able to keep us in check.
  • I thought you were quite quiet, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It just takes time to build up some confidence to talk with us.


“Reflective” shows that someone thinks a lot about the things they say. They will often be the quieter people in groups because they’ll be too busy thinking about what to say next.

This trait helps reflective people to say the right thing (most of the time). They’ll only speak when they know they have something good to say or add, which is always an admirable quality.

The definition of “reflective,” according to The Cambridge Dictionary, is “thinking carefully and quietly.”

  • I know you’re a reflective guy, and I really need you to help me out. I think you’ll be able to come up with a good solution to my problem.
  • I’m quite reflective, which is the only reason why I don’t say much. I’m always lost in my own thoughts, I’m afraid.
  • You are reflective, and that’s a really good thing. It shows that you’ll always think before you speak. I admire that.