Did you know that 30% of Highly Sensitive People are extroverts?
Up to this point, I have neglected to write much about extroverted HSPs, and the main reason for this omission is because I am not an extrovert. (btw, it can also be spelled extravert). I didn’t feel right writing about a topic with which I wasn’t that familiar.
So, I surveyed several self-identified extroverted HSPs to better understand their trait. Here is what I found.
It seems that extroverted HSPs walk a tightrope between desiring/requiring social interactions and becoming overwhelmed.
(Introverts, conversely, don’t feel like our lives are missing something without lots of social interaction.)
As Wendy, an extroverted highly sensitive person, explains: “I receive energy from other people – and being an HSP, I fully feel it and take it in! But, also, being HSP, I tire faster; after a long period socializing, I’m totally ready to be alone and peaceful.”
Anne-Leena seems to agree: “It’s challenging to balance the ‘kicks’ you get from social situations/travel/learning new things and the tiredness afterwards.”
A main difference between introverts and extroverts is that introverts feel drained by social interactions, whereas extroverts are energized by those interactions. As extroverted HSP Shalini says, “If I go for more than 2-3 days without interpersonal contact, I feel like I’m missing something.”
Whereas an introvert like me–I’m perfectly fine with not being around people for a while.
Wendy writes: “It seems that introverted HSPs are naturally shielding themselves from things that would bother or hurt them – crowds, dominant people, noise, too much socializing, chaos. Whereas extroverted HSPs are perhaps willing and able to take some of that in – tolerate it a bit more? – draw some excitement from it.”
I totally get what Wendy is saying. I think I avoid some loud, busy, social events because I fear how it will make me feel. I anticipate that it will suck out my energy. Conversely, the extroverted Highly Sensitive Person craves the social activity—but in a certain amount, not above their desired threshold.
Dr. Elaine Aron playfully refers to extroverted HSPs as such: “Those pesky 30% of sensitive people who were describing themselves as talking a lot, liking to meet new people, having a lot of friends, and enjoying large parties. Yet otherwise they were like the other 70%—sensitive to pain, caffeine, and loud noise; not liking pressure; being easily overstimulated; and so forth. So they also needed plenty of down time away from others, unlike most extraverts.” (source: psychologytoday.com)
I asked the extroverted HSPs: What is your biggest challenge? More than one respondent said that other people don’t believe they aren’t 100% extroverts—that they need breaks from social activity.
Allen explains it like this: “My work colleagues couldn’t understand…’Here’s Allen, the life and soul of the office, but he doesn’t want to go out on Friday night.’ ”
Margie says, “People assume that I am tougher emotionally. I appear confident, and I am, however, I cry easily when I feel deeply about something that is important to me or if a situation has affected me emotionally.”
And how about the social aspect? How do extroverts deal with enjoying social interactions while being highly sensitive?
Shalini writes, “On one hand, I crave a lot of people time–and diverse people time. I’m never content to just have one group of friends; I have many groups of friends and I absolutely love that. Also, I’m more likely to be a leader–in fact, I am a high-ranking director who supervises 30+ people, and I love it. Well, I love it when my staff are happy and working well together, but when I have the occasional day when things don’t go so well (which is inevitable), I get exhausted and want to be by myself.”
The picture of highly sensitive extroverts has become clearer to me now.
For those of you who are extroverted Highly Sensitive People, I thank you for bearing with me on this blog. I know I almost always focus on the introverted point of view, since that is just how I think. I always appreciate hearing your thoughts so I can better understand how others feel.
Thank you to Shalini, Wendy, Allen, Margie, Ali, and Anne-Leena for sharing and helping with this story. You can listen to the podcast episode about this topic here.
photo credit: chrisinplymouth via photopin cc
THANK YOU!! It’s hard finding information useful to the extroverted HSP, for as you know, much of it is geared to the introvert. As much as I can relate, I never completely relate because the recognition of my need to be social is not included.
To give a great example: I spend alot of time alone at home, but I go out for coffee to be amongst people and the world, but I have to be selective. I can’t go to the Dunkin Donuts with all the drunk street people unless I’m happy enough to handle the chaos. Verbal abuse has been known to take place there. I can’t go to the Liberal do-gooder non-profit owned cafe unless I’m prepared to be around a bunch of dreamy idealists who don’t see the real truth as I see it. I have gotten into debates there, just cause one of them started talking to me and I can’t stand their ignorance. The best choice is the Dunkin D on the main strip, that has a parking lot. They get a lot of commuters and delivery people, or folks walking their dogs or heading to work. It’s the most simple place to get my coffee. I even sit down and relax and I can chit-chat with customers there because they are all calm and polite and have No Agenda.
Yes, it´s hard to find anything about this subject, because HSP is mostly described from introverts point of view. There´s always many aspects that make all cases different. Imagine how challenging it is to be HSP with lifelong social phobia AND an extravert. With chronic fatique too. It´s like constant inner conflict, because I want to socialise, I´m happy in crowded places, I like big crowds of people – concerts, parties, gatherings, big events. But direct communication with most people make me anxious and owerstimulated, so my brain shuts down. I thought about it a lot, how strange it is that my anxiety mostly expresses itself as extreme tiredness. When I found out about HSP it was like all pieces of puzzle finally came together :). Like coming home. I hope that I can go on from here to better directions.
Thanks for the comment, Mary. I am not an extroverted HSP so I cannot truly understand what it’s like, but I can empathize the same way I hope non-HSPs can empathize with me. 🙂 Maybe someone should start an HSP blog for extroverts! 🙂
“It’s like coming home”
That was precise! Thank you so much for sharing what you feel…How I wanted to know if people like me exist or not..It is so difficult to balance between being an HSP sensitive to any verbal attack and wanting to make new friends..It becomes more problematic when you’re an ambitious person who wants to be at the top of everything yet can’t take ignorance…picture is finally clear but still got a lot of learning on the way
Hi Natasha, just to reassure you again – they do exist! I totally understand your comment about ignorance. I get so exhausted sometimes by people who are not able to understand my amount of information processing. I’m an extrovert HSP, i.e. I’m a good listener but also talk a lot, and more often than not, people cannot follow my reasoning because I’m very quick at making connections and seeing the bigger picture. Non-HSPs and some introvert HSPs cannot understand this urge to participate and to be understood. The problem is that we often overwhelm our interlocutors with our in-depth analyses but are likewishe overwhelmed by what other people don’t process at all.
Wow, I was thinking I was going to have to be the person, the only person, to describe this (I’m just so used to trying to describe something in words that nobody gets no matter how hard I try). I appreciate Kelly stepping outside of her element and area of familiarity to write about this!
What I have noticed to my own great pain is that for a highly sensitive extrovert like myself (I’m an ENFP on the MBTI, as I’d be willing to bet most HSP extroverts are as this type has a very strong introverted feeling tendency, meaning, we’re probably the most introverted of extroverts), we tend to be magnets for what one can justifiably call abuse (and I hate to think of myself as a victim, so I hate, hate, hate saying that. I also hate that people would DO that.). When I read about the e/i function purely as getting energy or feeling tired after a social exchange, I feel like the description falls flat. If you want energy, eat something and take a nap. How can something as simple as whether you’re with others or not make you tired? What if you’re with others taking a nap or lying around watching a movie? What I’ve learned is that it’s not about how much you’re with others, it’s about who the others are and how they are, how they manage their own energy and how they treat yours.
I seek/crave/need an exchange of energy that’s like a beautiful, harmonious dance, with small bits of positive energy flowing back and forth from one person to the other, a situation in which neither person is only giving or only taking that energy in. As a sensitive, I am highly positively responsive to positive energy and poisoned by negative energy. The problem with this is that most people carry both and we understand this; sometimes, in an attempt to force ourselves into being less sensitive so we won’t be isolated by our own gentility, we accommodate this natural human tendency. We learn to accept that no person will only carry one type of energy so we strive to tolerate when what we’re getting back is dark in places, and sometimes, we find we’ve accommodated our way into a tortuous situation in which we attract psychic vampire/narcissist types. These are types that excel at giving nothing back while seeming to be giving you something of real value to you.
We don’t have an option to avoid that by avoiding people. We become very depressed and lonely if we’re not allowed to live as the pack animals we are. Yet we have to be very, very careful with whom we trust our very delicate and sensitive energy, and that’s a very scary thing. It’s not like people come at you wearing a sign. I am trying to learn to use my sensitivity and my empathy to my own benefit by learning to stand back and read energy and not assume the best and respond to people as if they’ve earned trust they haven’t earned from me yet. I like to assume the very best in everyone.
Sadly, everyone doesn’t have that coming.
So in my experience, the greatest risk we face is being fed off of…we have a loving energy and a willingness to share it. For us, losing that willingness because we’ve been abused by narcissists is basically like being the walking dead. We have boundary issues.
Thank you Jennifer. I have never been able to put this into words.
Kelly and Jennifer, I think you guys just tossed me the missing piece to my life puzzle. Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough, but I’m a little preoccupied right now with all these light bulbs going off in my head. You guys rock!
Thank you for finally putting a voice to my unexplained energy dance!! I’m so happy I’m not alone!! I am a survivor of a Narcissistic relationship. I will never aagain apologize for who I am and how I feel just because others can not understand it!!
i am currently going through a narcissistic friendship and its so emotionally and physically draining for me. i am constantly thinking about it and my thoughts overwhelm me. and i always have to apologise for something that is her fault just because i felt certain emotions for what she did to me. i dont know how to get through this.
Yeah, it must be very likely that most extroverted HSPs are ENFPs. I see so much of myself in all of these posts. I don’t fit in with my family in this way. They’re all pretty intuitive, but I seem to have some sort of extra strong sensitivity. It’s actually caused a lot of problems, because they don’t seem to understand my mind. They understand other people and each other quite well, but I seem to be at some level that’s un-reachable for their minds.
I wish I could write how I feel about it all as well as you have, but my mind tends to jump around too much. I was often treated as if my opinions were invalid because I didn’t like to subscribe to life’s narrative, so I would try to not feel certain of my thoughts in order to avoid conflict. When I was younger, I was convinced that I was actually incorrect about things. But when I got older I realized that I was the most authentic! Unfortunately, the damage was done and while it was only a year ago that it all hit me, I’m having a tough time allowing my thoughts to pour out in their own natural way.
In case anyone is wondering, yes, this is an attempt to practice letting my thoughts out.
Hi Zander, thanks for your post. It sounds like you enjoy writing and letting out your thoughts but you are hesitant. Could I suggest trying something like Morning Pages? First thing in the morning, you just write 3 pages of your thoughts. http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/
I haven’t tried it yet but it sounds great.
Yes! All of this, yes!!! I find that narcissists seem to seek me out and glomb on like a parasite! I also tend to get taken advantage of and to attract bullies. But, like you I can’t stand that victim mentality! Being selective of interpersonal relationships is key! Bravo to you!
Wow you really hit the nail on the head there Jennifer, that is exactly how I feel too! Especially the part about seeing good in everyone, that beautiful fallacy has led me and many of my suspected fellow ENFP HSPs into some pretty darn toxic (quote unquote) ‘friendships’.
I feel like I have a tidbit to give for your standing back and reading energy comment: I have started using a “3 strikes you’re out” rule. It started as a way to see if a prospective girl was actually worth pursuing, but it has evolved into a general “friend or not-quite-friend” rule of thumb. Basically, if the person does something insensitive such as stand me up or talk shit behind my back, I cross off a strike. Do it again, cross off another strike. And, if they haven’t done something noticeably redeeming such as apologize for snubbing me or something, that 3rd strike crosses them off my list and I no longer expend energy trying to forge a connection.
So far my technique has most notably helped me back out of a bad business deal with a would-be art collaborator/suspected narcissist, and has brought me the courage to leave a toxic roommate situation with a guy who brings home drunk girls at like 3AM and berates us for complaining (a guy who is also unfortunately my best friend 🙁 ).
Hopefully this technique can be useful for you guys too! 🙂
Beautifully written Jennifer! Well said, and excellent reminder as I heal from toxic relationships with Narcissists. So tired of that old pattern.
Jennifer, Thanks! That is exactly how I view myself, and seeing someone sharing the same ideas is truly reassuring!
So very well put. I’ve read a lot on Hsp – but all Introverted HSPs – that’s not me.
I identify with this article. I’m definitely an HSP, but have always been a bizarre combination of extrovert and introvert. I love moments when I can simply be by myself doing whatever I want for my own enjoyment. When I’m among people, I enjoy those interactions a great deal. I can be the “life of the party”. I can be the friendliest person in the room. I can be the friend who will listen. I can be a “class clown”. I enjoy doing all of those things and enjoy getting to know people and being with my close friends. But it gets tiring. It can drain me and bring on anxiety and then depression.
I find that in my case, environment has a lot to do with it. I have no problem being extroverted in a comfortable situation where I know people well….usually one-on-one or in a small group. By contrast, I’m very introverted in large groups or around people I don’t know. Sometimes I find myself scoping out different situations to determine if it’s “safe” to open up. It also has a lot to do with being on the same page with others on any given topic. Should I disagree with someone else’s viewpoint, especially on a passionate subject, I get quiet in a hurry, and I tend to refrain from those “hot button” issues until I know who I’m talking with and where they stand (so don’t expect me to be a chatterbox when it comes to religion, politics or the Great Pumpkin).
Part of it is still hearing my grandma say “in my day, children were to be SEEN and not HEARD”. Even at 50, the child in me still hears it and fears being rebuked for daring express an opinion. That’s where the practice of cognitive thought has helped me identify a lot of those emotional childhood memes, analyze them and determine whether they are truly valid.
(Hey Dan, I tried to send you a message through your website’s contact form but got an error!)
Yikes! I’ll look into that. Email is email@example.com. Thanks Kelly!
Fixed! It was a bad setting in my WP panel. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. Guess I should test those things myself, huh? 🙂
So often helpful, thank you as an extrovert who has become very tired of life. I really like that I know this information now. I have learnt so much to move forward with. I am learning how to keep away from Narcissist personalities. :O)
Thank you! It’s not easy to find information on this topic. Though I’ve known and understood the “fine line” I’ve always walked of getting energy by interacting with others vs. being overwhelmed, I only started to learn about this a few months ago when I started seeking information to help my 4 year old son.
He is definitely a HSP, but he seems to be quite introverted. Before this, I never knew that HSP was a thing! I am one though, through and through, and especially as a child. I have always felt like he and I were on the same wavelength and that I understood him in a way that no one else does. (He also has a 2 year old sister. I absolutely adore her, but I never felt the “wavelength” similarity with her. It’s just different.)
I think that for a long time, I was able to unknowingly create an environment that was always pretty comfortable to him because he and I think so much alike. I never felt like I spoiled him at all, just that I knew what made sense to him. People would always remark what a happy baby and toddler he was, and how mature and what an “old soul”. As he’s gotten older though, he is naturally in more situations that he seems to find overwhelming, and as an extravert, I guess I had a hard time seeing why for a time. We’ve struggled a lot with tantrums and defiance this year. He’s even articulated feelings of low self worth (alarming for a parent, and I had no idea where it was coming from). I sought medical advice after learning a little about HSP and Sensory Processing Disorder. We’ve since worked with a wonderful occupational therapist and it has made such a difference. I’ve learned to view all sensory input as a somewhat delicate balance. Now that I can view things through this lens, I am able to plan and predict again in ways that can give him tools to deal with the frustrations he’s encountered. It’s the most wonderful feeling as a mother. It’s also helped me be more aware of balance in my own life.
Thanks so much for your comment! If anyone is curious, here is more on HSP vs. Sensory Processing Disorder: http://highlysensitiveperson.net/sensory-processing-disorder/
I identify with what Dan says re; the vacillating between intro & extrovert ,
I am not trying to make anyone feel uncomfortable in their introversion.
However human nature is constantly trying to understand & be understood.
This requires some risk taking.
If we can evolve to the point where we admit we are neither better or worse than anyone else, just different, it seems to be easier to understand another’s perspective, and continue on our path to individualization, accepting ourselves for who we are, imperfect yet good willed.
As a former HSP introvert i seem at this point in my journey to be morphing into more extrovert behaviors, being more willing to risk interaction, even mild conflict for the sake of progress and understanding. Perhaps I am weird because I found my total introversion becoming morbid and destructive. Can anyone connect with this?
Thanks, Ted! You mention “total introversion” and “destructive”. Introversion is not inherently destructive; it is not dangerous or anti-social. But of course, people can also develop those behaviors, too. Introversion means that being around others expends energy (whereas extroverts gain energy around other people). Introverts may enjoy being around friends and even going to parties, for example, but may wear out quickly and need a break.
I beleive i know someone like this. He is a teen and up to a couple of years ago was a very angry, lonely person always in his room not going out etc. i have been helping him to beleive in himself and he is now quite extraverted but still with social anxiety.
Okay..this is big for me, WOW….It was not until just 3 days ago i finally stumbled into an article that i wish i had when first being proposed….HSPs…because it has changed my beliefs of myself in such a grand manner….I am 44 years old and my whole life i have heard the exact statements and words over and over again to the point that i have been obsessed with figuring out what is wrong with me…But 3 days ago it shifted to What Is Right With Me?? Its a huge relief and i thank you all involved…The words i heard my whole life….’You over-analysis everything’, ‘You are way to sensitive..’, ‘you are so emotional’…ect… on and on…. Being the knowledge junkie in seek of the truth I have read most of what i could find so far and taking all the quizzes and its almost scary, hair stand up, to hear me being described almost to a tee…This is where my quest lead me this morning because i was trying to find out why i was every single thing but i am no where near an introvert at all….For example, every sense i was young i have always been the first to go out on the dance floor like in junior high at those dances, i was the one that went out there and started dancing and got the rest going….I am left-handed and assume that many hsp are as well being right brained. I read all the time and people around me always say WOW you sure own the characters emotions because i laugh and cry and actually get the fictional characters anxiety to point the making upset and sick to my stomach. I almost was beginning to believe that i was an empath or something because it seems i speak things into existence. People find after they know me for a year or so that it seems i do somehow know things i should not…For example…one day 6 or 8 months ago, i was home that day and my other half was as well but i was highly agitated and all consumed with the fact that terminally ill people and old people living like babies should have the right to chose to die with some dignity and that they complain about population and people living longer and blah, blah, blah but they will not let people in those positions chose to die and escape the pain for themselves and loved ones…Okay now please understand this came out of nowhere, i am not ill, no one i know is but i woke up that morning completely and totally obsessed with it rambled to Scott, my other half, all day and of course i start looking up online and find that the young women that day had died on her own decision by moving to Oregon…It was all over the media that day about this issue and explaining there were a few states allowing this option to die assisted and this women moved there and had to wait 6 months as a resident of the state and that day she had made a video and ended her pain with dignity. That is a small example so many in my life. In the past few months i have become filled with something so powerful and am trying to solve this puzzle I find the world really is. I have taking in so much information, and I am talking the paradigm shift kind that its draining me and i always say over and over I cannot find my passion and desires and just want to sleep, it is to much process I now know. So if i understand this correctly I am receiving things on a cellular level and everything puts out signals and vibrations and i am like a finely tuned antenna. Well right now i have every cell in my body screaming to me that we are in very big danger and that the world is going to change for all of us in an immense way and it is coming. Puzzle pieces are almost fitting together to easy which also i sense as …I will stop there and thank you for helping me understand that just because i cannot stand going to lunch and talking with the girls about nothing does not mean there is something wrong with me… it is what is right with me because i see a whole bigger picture than most anyone around me, living here in this small mountain town….I am good with it now and working on learning to control these overwhelming passions and emotions but wish to find more on the extrovert HSP….PS i never ever post or speak online so this, in itself is HUGE…..
Elonda, thank you so much for your comment. I’m so happy to hear that learning about extroverted HSPs helped you. I love what you said about stopping thinking about what is WRONG with us and think about what is RIGHT!! 🙂
Wow. I cannot relate more.
Oh, I so know what they talk about. I’m an extrovert. Ok, maybe an ambivert, but more of an extravert though. I get overwhelmed by social activities, yes. But I get depressed, apathatic without them. That doesn’t happen with them.
But it can be too much and then I need peace and calmness. I HATE loud noises. I can’t stand them. That’s hard when you enjoy being around people.
For example I just moved to a new town – and I’d love to go out and meet more people. But since everything is new to me I just don’t have the energy yet to do so. So I’m a bit forced to stay at home more often or spend more alone time than I’d usually do. As soon as my life is “normal” again – I’m sure I’ll be out of the house more often. But not yet.
My perfect week has 3 or 4 active, social evenings and 3 or 4 quiet evenings at home. Although I often wouldn’t mind having someone around me – someone not talking non-stop – on these quiet evenings, too.
This is me also. I dont live in my native country which is quite a social place i have been away for over 20 years. Where i am i dont find i have alot in common with others. Would love 3-4 nights of activities but there is just nothing around really. Unless i end up doing something which really does not interest me.
Thank you Kelly! I’ve been trying to get this straight in my mind for a long time. I just had an AHA moment as I was reading this…thank you again!
Thank you for covering this! I just found out about HSP and I feel like my life finally makes sense now. I was conflicted about how I could be both HSP and extroverted, but it totally makes sense. Are there Facebook groups or other online communities for extroverted HSPs? If not, I’d love to get one going. I have the need to talk to others like me.
Hello!!! Just found out yesterday that I’m an extroverted HSP. The dance, THAT dance, between aching to be with people, and getting hurt with a word, a glance…its been really tricky to navigate life. Until now.
I’m a professional actor, writer, & producer, and always getting hurt almost equally as much as not. My blog, Truth Spoken Here (www.dawnajoywightman.wordpress.com), is my response to a world that has as much pain as miracles, and I began writing it when I felt so much I was going to burst. Thank you for being ‘like me’, HSP extroverts. May we all shine bright, and live to tell the tale.
I just learned about HSP last week and am finding it SO surreal to read all about the inner-workings of my mind. Thank you so so much for this site. And for this page, specifically, as I definitely feel the strong pull of extroversion (I even founded a conference once, but had to sell it because I got totally blindsided by exhaustion) and this acknowledgement of that sub-trait of the trait is very helpful.
Thanks Kim, I’m glad this is helpful to you! 🙂
ok. I have been doing my research on this topic. If I look at it, what is most appealing for me in this approach, is being done with criticism and labelling. Something that I have encountered and experience in my life repeatedly. No doubt, childhood. No doubt, oppressive schooling systems, no doubt culture and social norms etc. However, I started noticing very early that these influences were so clear, so evident to me, (frustrating since i was too young to express myself, or defend myself, or even put into words since these can be complex topics) were not so for others, i would say the great majority of others. The intensity of my feelings, sensations and emotions seemed exaggerated when I compared myself to others. How could I be seeing-feeling so much suffering or injustice and feel overwhelmed by it, furious, frustrated, scared, sad, and observing no reaction from others. I started noticing that there was something different, and not something very desirable. Whether that is nature or nurture, a condition in my nervous system, an imbalance in my brain chemistry… all needs to be considered. What I find refreshing and beautiful and nurturing and respectful from this work is the understanding and the honouring of the difference. I cannot be anyone else. Although sometimes I wish I was, that by definition would be cruel and goes against my also elevated feelings of love, worthiness and justice. My piece of thought.
I just stumbled on this post. it explains a lot for me. I’ve known for a few years now that I’m an HSP. But I’ve also been calling myself an introvert, based on how I feel after I attend a gathering. I’ll talk freely with friends, acquaintances and strangers, I’ll get people laughing and talking with each other. Then I’ll go home and I’ll be so exhausted I won’t want to leave the house or even talk to my husband. Now I understand why.
I never knew what to call it but I’m sure I’m an extroverted HSP. My husband would always laugh when I told him I was an introvert with good people skills. It was kind of confusing because I have always been super sensitive and like a lot of down time alone, and yet I really enjoy being social too. Through the years I learned strategies to help with feeling overwhelmed at social events or on trips with other people. Sometimes I would just find an empty room at a party, go in and sit by myself to collect my thoughts, and then I’d be ready to go out again. I found that telling people I was an introvert and needed to recharge my battery really helped. They, like my husband would usually laugh and say, “You? An introvert?” But then they would back off and give me some time and space.
I do have a hard time with idle chit chat. The social interactions I crave are with people who want to talk about history, or the meaning of life, not what color fingernail polish to wear next. I know that sounds arrogant and I don’t feel “superior” to people who love a good manicure, I’m just different from them. I love comedy, but it has to be really clever comedy. I love movies and music and art and crave talking about it with good friends. Travel? Give me a few minutes to pack my bag, but don’t just suggest the beach and alcohol. I don’t mind a little of that but I was to learn some things too. And I need to schedule time to be alone. When we go on road trips I always spend some time finding a good audio book that complements where we are traveling. People often tell me, “Wow, you make things interesting.” But some people think I’m a pain in the ass! So being an extroverted HSP means choosing friends wisely.
Several people have mentioned getting feelings hurt easily and getting greatly upset over some of the absurdities of the human condition. I can really relate to that! Somebody suggested doing “Morning Pages” a three page, stream of consciousness writing exercise first thing in the morning. Then you shred the pages. The shredding is super important because that frees me to not hold back anything out of concern that someone might find what I’ve written. I never want to hurt anyone and this gives me a chance to be totally honest in black and white. I am often surprised at the insights that come bubbling up from my unconscious and intuitive self. And after I wrestle with an issue I often come up with a good path forward. Sometimes I have joyful epiphanies too. Those I don’t shred : )
I also recommend spending some time with a good therapist. I did that a long time ago and I’m sure it set me on a quicker path to a healthy emotional life. I used to thank my therapist all the time and he would always say, “You are the kind of person that would have found your way to these insights at some point.” He must have been referring to the traits of an HSP!
Anyway, “Hello” to all the HSPs finding their way to acceptance and understanding of how valuable and special we are! Oh, and buy a good shredder ; p
I am an ENFP and I relate to quite a number of all these comments, but I still am not sure whether I am an HSP.
I know that I am an extrovert, but it really depends on who I am with at the moment. With my group of close friends, I am always the life of the group, and I usually hang out with introverts (I don’t know why, but extroverts overwhelm me sometimes). But when I am with a bigger group of new people, I automatically shut myself out, I observe everyone in the room with my guard up. Occasionally I do muster the courage to socialise because I fear of being left out. But in general I just behave like an introvert with big groups of strangers.
And then there are parties or social events I always get so excited to go to. Whenever there are events like these, I reaaaally get excited all day waiting to go for it, but when I am physically THERE, I become overwhelmed by the situation and after a while I just want to go home. I can never really understand why. I am not sure whether I am just an ambivert or an extroverted HSP.
Thanks so much for writing about this!
I have always been highly sensitive – for as long as I can remember and I remember feeling very different to my older brother and sister in that way. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me, like I wasn’t as strong as I should be.
I noticed from a very young age that I actually physically hurt in my tummy, when I saw other people/animals being upset in any way. I found trucks passing by, terrifying and would block my ears and start crying. I couldn’t understand why the rest of my family did not feel that way. I heard sounds which they did not or at least were not bothered by.
I felt lonely even though, being an extrovert,I’ve always had many friends. I am quite social and love meeting new people but then there is a point where I really need to retreat and many of my friends just cannot understand this. As I’ve got older I’ve become better at saying “no” to people and really looking after myself but sadly, there are some who take this personally and I have lost a few friends because of this, over the last year or so.
I recently started reading about HSPs but whenever I saw the introversion traits being listed I would feel confused and unable to relate so again – I say, thank you! Really reassuring to read your article.
A friend, an introverted HSP, sugguested this article to me. Over the holiday weekend I took the time through the article and comments. Step by step because it was too much for me to process all at once. So hard to believe that there is so many other people who feel like me. Impossible to realise that immediatly.
Specially during my life as a student many people told me that I’m really open, friendly and laugh a lot. That usually feels a bit strange to me. Some of them only know me from social events. I don’t feel too comfortable there. I feel a craving to go to places where there is a lot of new people. But when I’m there I’m observing the other people finding it hard to focus on my self and enjoy myself. That’s better when I have a close friend to talk to all the time. Most of the time after leaving a party I regret that didn’t talk to more people I thought were interesting. This is what most others don’t understand. I have the talking skills, good mood, etc. but overthink whether anonther person wants to talk to me or not.
Most of the few very good friends I’ve had are introverted HSPs. They understand what’s going on with me and we enjoy taking about similar topics. They even join me for activities they’ve avoided before. Anyhow, sometimes I wish I had an extraverted friend, too. Someone who can understand that side, as well. I wonder if the difficulty is that two extraverted HSPs overwhelm each other with their ideas.
Another tendency of mine I particularly noticed with my ex girlfriend. I would give her a lot of feedback on how I observe her. She felt it was too much to constantly be judged.
I’m currently seeing a therapist to deal with my self-esteem issues. It’s really good to know that my sensitivity isn’t the problem itself. Since I was born my mom always described me as sensitve. She arranged everything accordingly but she is not a HSP. I never felt fully understood. It took me a long time to realise that it was neither my or her fault. It’s good to know you guys feel similar 🙂
I agree with most of this. However, I am an extroverted HSP, and I wouldn’t say I’m sensitive to physical pain or things like caffeine as you mentioned. I think my body is likely in a continual state of fight or flight, but I sense and feel things strongly and deeply.
I’m a High Sensitive Extrovert. The world is just amazing, but more amazing my inner world. As I child I dreamed so much, an as an adult still doing it. It has benefits and disadvantages.
I try to take it on the positive way and enjoy the music, art, movies, conversations and reading as much as possible. It’s true you feel the pain deeper and the criticism is a cornerstone in our lives, but, once you find the balance, is great to be around with everyone.
Nothing like a good bath, and classical music to go to bed.
Dream a lot!
It doesn’t hurt anyone…
I’m glad to find people like me.
Greetings to everyone!
I’ve just found this podcast today and am pouring my way through every episode. I am an Extrovert HSP (I think) and very new to all this but keep nodding along and feel like I can finally start to understand my amazing quirks.
Thank you so much!!
So glad you like it! thank you! 🙂
Thank you very much, Kelly. During my youth I strongly lived my extroverted site, did a lot of party, drinking and meeting people. However, it felt that I had not really access to my feelings and emotions. It took me several years to find out when I need to for myself and not to run away from what I feel. I am still working on it, though. I am glad that it becomes more and more easier to accept myself. All the best to all of you!
Yes!!! I didn’t realize that there is FINALLY a place where us unicorns can gather and celebrate our highly sensitive extroversion! When others (HSPs and non-HSPs) learn that I’m highly sensitive, they’re shocked to say the least. Outgoing, social butterfly, life of the party and center of attention; witty, charming, hilarious, outrageous – these are some of the descriptions that come to others’ minds when they describe me. I’m sure many of you can relate.(PS – really, I’m not making this up. Like Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you can do it.”) But after the parties, networking/social events, heck even after business meetings, I need to be alone and restore. My energy level SOARS when I’m engaging with others. I have my limits, however, and then I need to tuck away by myself and fill the positive emotional tank. Strangers and acquaintances tell me their problems like they’re old friends – and I listen empathetically, then I have to go and meditate or find a tree to stand near in order to get my vibrations in order. I’m so glad to have found this website and hopefully become part of this tribe – thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! <3
Wow, I am so happy to have found this! I am 51 yrs old and NOW know I am an extroverted HSP. The sense of relief to know that I am not flawed or need to deep counseling to fix my over sensitivity is like a ton of bricks being lifted off my shoulders.
I can truly related to everything you discuss (or at least what I have read and listened to so far. I am social and love meeting new people but then I need to retreat home and spend a day alone – I would call it a recharge.
I recently had a fight with my boyfriend, am getting ready to move, learned of two friends dying unexpectedly and one more friend being diagnosed with a brain tumor. I spent days crying and couldn’t understand why everything was affecting me sooooo heavily. Now I know.
I am soooo happy to know there are others out there like me! And I am left handed to boot!
Hello to my people!
Firstly thank you so much for writing about this. Like others, I seem to fluctuate between being introverted and being extroverted. I do feel a degree of feeling energised by being with the right people (close friends usually) but really drained by the wrong people or by being in anything other than a small group of people who I know and trust.
After any form of socialising, especially the type where I don’t know people well (but have to interact) or where I have felt a socially anxious, I almost always need a full day to recover. I usually feel so fatigued during the recovery day that I can do little else than drink tea and watch Netflix in bed.
Fatigue seems to be the high price of any form of socialising other than with very close friends, my partner and our cats! But if I spend too long on my own I start to feel lonely and rejected and that my life is slipping away. I worry I’ll be forgotten about and left alone by everyone. I feel guilty about not spending more time with people but usually just don’t have the energy left after working 5 days a week as a Nurse.
thank you so much for writing this!! I just discovered I am likely HSP. I always said I was either an introverted extrovert OR an extroverted introvert. reading this blog helped me understand where my extrovert self fits in with the HSP!! it’s so me!!! i love talking to different people and making friends wherever I go except when I don’t and am not in the mood and people bother me. for me, it is heightened with Perimenopausal symptoms. so I believe my hormones play a role in my sensitivities. This is just a theory, but something i have been tracking. again, thanks for the blog!