If you’re someone who’s super emotional, you probably know all too well how hard it is not to take other people’s attitudes, reactions, feelings, or words personally. While it’s good to know how to read people to understand them (and your relationship with them) better, being too sensitive when it comes to your interactions with them can make you feel miserable — and unnecessarily so.
Here are some signs you might need to chill out a bit.
Your mood hinges on the “good morning” count.
If you start the day counting who did or didn’t say “good morning” to you and let it set the tone for your entire day, you might be on the sensitive side. It’s like letting a single raindrop convince you there’s a storm coming. People have their own stuff going on and it’s not always about you. The sooner you recognize and accept that, the happier you’ll be.
Constructive criticism feels like a roast.
When feedback at work leaves you feeling like you just sat through a Comedy Central special about yourself, you might be taking things too personally. It’s tough, but sometimes ‘this needs work’ just means “this needs work” and not “you’re terrible.” While no one wants to be told they suck or feel attacked, it’s important to be able to recognize where you can improve and accept that some people legitimately want to help you do that.
A “read” message on social media feels like a snub.
If you’re dissecting why someone read your message and didn’t reply immediately, you could be reading too much into it. Remember, they could be in the middle of something and don’t have the time to write back right now. It doesn’t mean they’re ignoring you or that they secretly hate you — it just means they’re not glued to their phones 24/7, which is pretty admirable.
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You’re a master at detecting “that tone.”
If you can pick up on slight changes in tone during a casual conversation and dwell on it for hours, you might be too sensitive. Sometimes “I’ll call you later” is not a cryptic way of saying “I don’t want to talk to you.” Again, people have things to do and a long phone chat might not be something they can fit in right now, for whatever reason. Take people at face value a bit more often.
You have a Ph.D. in overthinking smiles.
Catch yourself analyzing the sincerity of people’s smiles? If you’re trying to decode if Sarah’s grin was genuine or if Tom’s smirk meant something more, you might be putting your emotions through unnecessary gymnastics. Not everyone has ulterior motives — in fact, most people don’t.
Your inner critic is your loudest roommate.
If your self-talk is more critical than a judge on a talent show, you might be amplifying negative thoughts. Everyone has that inner voice that can be a bit of a downer, but it shouldn’t be on megaphone duty. And hey, even if someone was really awful to you, you shouldn’t let other people’s opinions tank your self-esteem or sense of self-worth.
“It’s fine” translates to “It’s not fine.”
If your friend’s casual “it’s fine” when you ask how they are or you apologize for something annoying you did sends you spiraling into a whirlwind of self-analysis and worry, your sensitivity dial might be cranked a bit too high. Sometimes fine actually just means fine, not a coded SOS signal.
A “thumbs up” emoji sends you into a tailspin.
If you get a simple thumbs up in reply and start questioning the entire conversation and your life choices, it’s time to step back. Not every emoji comes with a hidden message. Sure, Gen Z wants you to think the “thumbs up” emoji is hostile, but in reality, most people literally just use it as a shorthand way to acknowledge something you said when they don’t have time to chat more.
You’re the architect of hypothetical arguments.
Find yourself laying out full-blown arguments in your head with someone who made an offhand comment days ago? It’s like building a fortress for an invasion that was never planned. Sure, we all end up having full-blown convos in our head that will likely never come to pass in waking life, but if you find yourself feeling legitimately upset by these fake spats, you’re definitely too sensitive.
You’re a walking apology machine.
If “sorry” is your reflex response to practically everything, including natural phenomena like rain, it might be a sign you’re taking the world’s natural events as personal digs. Don’t apologize when you haven’t done anything wrong — you not only diminish the meaning of the word “sorry,” but you also make yourself a doormat, which is really not necessary.