15 Things Highly Sensitive People Wish You Knew About Them

15 Things Highly Sensitive People Wish You Knew About Them

Ever met someone who seems to feel everything deeply, or who maybe takes things a bit more personally than you’re used to?

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Chances are, you’ve encountered a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP). It’s not a disorder or a weakness, but rather a personality trait that comes with its own unique set of strengths and challenges, Verywell Mind explains. HSPs experience the world in a more intense way, which can be both a gift and a struggle. If you’re not an HSP, some of their behaviors might seem puzzling. So, let’s shed some light on what it’s really like to be a Highly Sensitive Person.

1. Our emotions run deep, and sometimes it’s overwhelming.

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Imagine feeling everything – joy, sadness, anger, excitement – with an intensity that most people don’t experience. That’s our everyday reality. It’s like having the volume turned up on all our emotions. While this allows us to connect deeply with people and experience the world in a rich and nuanced way, it can also be exhausting and overwhelming at times. We need time to process our feelings and recharge, so don’t be surprised if we sometimes need to retreat to a quiet space.

2. We’re highly sensitive to our surroundings.

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Bright lights, loud noises, strong smells, even scratchy fabrics – these can all be incredibly irritating or even painful for us. It’s not that we’re being dramatic, our nervous systems are simply more sensitive to stimuli. This means we might need to take breaks from busy environments or wear noise-canceling headphones in noisy places. A little understanding goes a long way in helping us feel comfortable.

3. We overthink and analyze everything.

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Our brains are wired to process information deeply, which means we tend to overthink and analyze every situation. This can be helpful in some ways, but it can also lead to anxiety and indecision. We might replay conversations in our heads, worrying about what we said or how we were perceived. Patience and reassurance are key to helping us navigate our thoughts and feelings.

4. We’re deeply affected by other people’s feelings.

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Ever walked into a room and instantly felt the tension or sadness in the air? We’re like emotional sponges, absorbing the moods and feelings of those around us. This makes us compassionate and empathetic friends, but it also means we can easily become overwhelmed by negative emotions. Creating a calm and supportive environment helps us manage this sensitivity.

5. We need plenty of time alone to recharge.

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As Psychology Today notes, socializing, even with loved ones, can be draining for us. We need time alone to process our experiences and recharge our batteries. This doesn’t mean we don’t enjoy spending time with other people, we simply need a balance of social interaction and solitude. Respecting our need for alone time is crucial for our well-being.

6. We notice subtle details that other people miss.

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Our heightened sensitivity allows us to pick up on subtle details that other people might overlook. We might notice a change in someone’s tone of voice, a fleeting expression on their face, or a small detail in a piece of art. This makes us observant and insightful, but it can also lead to feeling overwhelmed by too much information.

7. We’re creative and have a rich inner world.

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Many HSPs are drawn to creative pursuits, using art, music, writing, or other forms of expression to channel their intense emotions and explore their inner world. Our creativity is often fueled by our deep sensitivity and our ability to see the world in unique ways. Encouraging our creative endeavors helps us thrive.

8. We’re passionate and deeply committed to the things we care about.

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When we find something we’re passionate about, we go all in. We invest our time, energy, and emotions into the things we care about, whether it’s a relationship, a cause, or a creative project. This makes us loyal and dedicated, but it can also lead to burnout if we don’t pace ourselves. Supporting our passions helps us feel fulfilled.

9. We’re not just “shy” or “introverted.”

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While many HSPs are introverted, it’s important to understand that these are not the same thing, Well+Good points out. Introversion refers to how we gain energy (from solitude), while high sensitivity is about how we process information and stimuli. We might enjoy social gatherings but need time to decompress afterward. Don’t mistake our sensitivity for shyness or social anxiety, as we can be outgoing and confident in the right settings.

10. We can get overwhelmed easily, but that doesn’t mean we’re weak.

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Our sensitivity can make us more prone to feeling overwhelmed by stressful situations, crowded places, or even too much information. This doesn’t mean we can’t handle challenges, it just means we need to approach them differently. Offering support and understanding when we feel overwhelmed helps us navigate difficult moments.

11. We’re often highly conscientious and detail-oriented.

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Our deep processing of information often translates to a strong work ethic and attention to detail. We take our responsibilities seriously and strive for excellence in everything we do. This makes us valuable employees and reliable friends, but it can also lead to perfectionism and difficulty delegating tasks. Recognizing our strengths and encouraging self-care helps us maintain a healthy balance.

12. We value authenticity and deep connection.

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Superficial small talk and shallow relationships don’t fulfill us. We crave genuine connection with people who understand and appreciate our sensitivity. We’re drawn to deep conversations, meaningful experiences, and authentic relationships. When we feel truly seen and understood, we flourish.

13. We’re intuitive and often have a strong “gut feeling.”

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Our sensitivity allows us to pick up on subtle cues and unspoken emotions, giving us a strong intuition or “gut feeling” about people and situations. This can be a valuable asset in decision-making and navigating relationships. Trusting our intuition and giving it space to guide us often leads to positive outcomes.

14. We’re not always comfortable with conflict or criticism.

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Due to our sensitivity, conflict and criticism can feel deeply personal and hurtful. We might become defensive or withdraw when faced with confrontation. Approaching us with empathy and understanding, focusing on constructive feedback rather than harsh criticism, helps us feel safe and open to communication.

15. We’re more than just our sensitivity.

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While our sensitivity is a core part of who we are, it doesn’t define us entirely. We’re complex individuals with a wide range of interests, talents, and experiences. We’re friends, partners, parents, colleagues, and so much more. Recognizing and appreciating our sensitivity while also valuing our other qualities creates a deeper understanding and stronger connection with us.

Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.