Introversion and high sensitivity often get lumped together. It’s estimated that 70% of HSPs are introverts (source), so I can see how it is easy to get them confused. If you aren’t sure of the difference, hopefully this post will help make things a bit clearer.
Introversion in a nutshell
Introversion is all about energy. When introverts are around people, they expend energy. Extroverts, on the other hand, gain energy from being around people. That doesn’t mean introverts dislike social settings–just that it takes energy from them, and they will likely need to limit their social time or seek recuperation later on.
HSP in a nutshell
High sensitivity means you are more sensitive to the world around you–emotions as well as physical surroundings. You can see how this is not the same as gaining/losing energy in social settings, which is what introversion is about.
Common Myths about Introverts and HSPs
Myth: They are shy and socially awkward.
Myth: They want to stay inside all day and not talk to people.
Myth: They dislike public speaking.
Truth: While these things are sometimes true, they are not indicative of introverts or HSPs. The first two sound more like social anxiety. The last one–being a bad public speaker–has nothing to do with either.
Which of the following sounds like HSP vs. introversion?
1. There is a humming background noise in my office that drives me bonkers!
2. I saw a homeless person yesterday and haven’t been able to stop thinking about them.
3. I have been at this party for hours; I feel worn out and want to go home!
4. I don’t like people!
1. HSP 2. HSP 3. Introversion
4. Neither–trick question! This sounds more like social anxiety…or something else.
So there you have it–a very basic (and some might say, oversimplified) description of the difference between HSP and introversion.