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Imagine there is an oversensitive friend who often easily gets upset in some cases that rarely bother other people or hurt someone's feelings amd that it's strarting to be annoying. Once you decide to advise him in a friendly manner and inform him that he'd better not be such a touchy / softy / irritable person.

OR

Someone is backbiting and speaking about your friends character to his audience and you unwantedly overhear his conversation.

Following the related cases above, I would be thankful if you could let me know whether the sentences bellow would work in a natural and idiomatic way. If not, then how shall one indicate such messages:

  • Don't be such a touchy person / such a softy / such an irritable person.

  • He is so touchy / softy / irritable.

P.S. I've taken a look on the similar thread here and looked up all the dictionaries and cannot define where and why each word should be used!

The only difference I found between them is that the word "irritable" is a formal one while the other two are not!

  • 1
    "Softy" is not used this way in American English that I know of. The Cambridge dictionary doesn't show it, also. It sounds too much like "softie" which is used in a very different way --- someone who can be persuaded. Link – whiskeychief Apr 9 at 10:25
  • How about the other words? – A-friend Apr 9 at 10:40
  • Responded as an answer. Enjoy! – whiskeychief Apr 9 at 10:46
  • short-tempered? – CinCout Apr 9 at 11:25
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These are fine:

  • irritable -- this is more formal
  • touchy -- this is less formal

"Softy" is not used this way in American English that I know of. The Cambridge dictionary doesn't show it, also. It sounds too much like "softie" which is used in a very different way --- someone who can be persuaded. See here for an example..

You can say things like:

  • He is very irritable in the morning.
  • He is very touchy when you point out his mistakes.
  • Don't be so irritable when I show you a better way to do something.
  • Don't be so touchy. I'm only trying to help.

As you know, telling someone they are being "touchy" (oversensitive and irritable) can itself be "touchy" (requiring careful handling; delicate)!

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