A person with whom you will share your sensitive problems

danielsondanielson

Member
Czech
Hi everyone

Do you know any English word or idiom to describe such sort of person? Someone who seems so caring, sympathetic and discreet to others that they will often share with them their own fears, anxieties, bad memories and secrets, including the most intimate and sensitive ones?

The Czech expression for this sort of people is "willow". This comes from the old Slavic legends, in which people, who are variously beleaguered or have a bad conscience, and cannot find any fellow human to share some of their especially burdening, frightening or dark secrets with, whisper such secrets into cavities of willow trees instead, so that to make their lives at least slightly more bearable.

Is there any similar word or idiom in English to describe individuals, who naturally command trust, so that many people will be likely to share with them sensitive things that they would not share with others?
 
  • sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    Hi,

    "bosom friend" is in my mind.

    They are bosom friends who would defend each other to the death.
     

    tepatria

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    An empathetic person is one who understands and sympathizes with your feelings. I cannot think of a word in English that conveys the meaning like willow does for you. Of course many people use a therapist for their willow these days!:rolleyes:
     

    sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    Hi,

    "bosom friend" is in my mind.
    I don't think this quite matches the OP's context. It also sounds a bit dated to me.
    I would probably say "a shoulder to cry on."
    I don't this is quite right, either. It's not really conveying innermost thoughts, it can just be whining and bitching.
    An empathetic person is one who understands and sympathizes with your feelings. I cannot think of a word in English that conveys the meaning like willow does for you. Of course many people use a therapist for their willow these days!:rolleyes:
    :thumbsup:
    You might also try:

    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    confidant /ˌkɒnfɪˈdænt; ˈkɒnfɪˌdænt/n
    • a person, esp a man, to whom private matters are confided

     

    Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I think you should go with confidant(e), as mentioned by sdgraham.

    A confidant is a male with whom you share confidences, a confidante is a woman with whom you share confidences.
     

    morior_invictus

    Senior Member
    Slovak
    ... it can just be whining and bitching.
    :thumbsup: The same applies to a "weeping willow." Your confidant (or confidante) could be used but I see here a little distinction (please correct me if you understand a confidant differently):

    A "weeping willow" was (and metaphorically still is) a willow to which my (at least some say so) ancestors came to get rid of their worries and troubles, "to cry their hearts out" (what worried them, why the world was so cruel to them, why their neighbor’s wife cheated on him - their best friend, etc.). As it was "just" a tree, it couldn't complain about their "whining and bitching" and they could happily "whine and bitch" till dawn. :)

    I understand a confidant / confidante as someone whom I can also tell secrets (e.g. I secretly wear a wig, talk to trees and hug them every Sunday, etc.). Yes, you could probably do the same to a "weeping willow" but that's not their main purpose I think.

    So to a confidant I could happily talk, for instance, like this: "Yesterday, I killed a man and buried him near the Sunset Boulevard right next to the man I'd killed last Saturday. I didn’t tell you about that second man? Oh. I’m sorry. I had to forget. :("
    To a "weeping willow" I would more likely talk this way: "Oh, I can’t stand living with these feelings anymore. I killed the man. I see his face every night before bedtime and also every time I eat French fries. (a weeping willow: :eek:)"
     
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