Other people (who we don’t like) often paint sensitivity as a negative quality. We disagree—being sensitive can have its downsides but it has a lot of upsides, too! Whether you’re more empathetic than most or have a creative flair, here are 15 behaviors that show you’re more sensitive than you may have originally thought.
1. You need ample alone time
The truth about sensitive people is that they need more time to process their emotions. Sensitive people take in so much information every day—from their surroundings and other people—and that can feel really overwhelming! If you find that you need a good chunk of time to decompress and recharge or you feel drained after being social, you’re probably more sensitive than you realize.
2. You have a hard time making decisions
If you’re the type of person who loses sleep over whether or not you should reach out to an old friend or can never decide what to order, then—you guessed it—you’re sensitive. It’s not because you’re indecisive necessarily, it’s more because you tend to weigh every single option and explore every outcome, which makes you fear that you’ll make the wrong choice. Struggling to make a decision is a huge signifier of a sensitive person.
3. You’re affected by other’s moods
Some people are able to notice other’s moods and then get on with their day. But you? You don’t just notice other people’s emotions, you feel them, too. If your friend feels happy, you feel happy. If your partner is sad about something, you feel sad, too. It can sometimes feel like you share a heart and a brain with other people. On one hand, it’s quite a wonderful thing to be able to experience these feelings. On the other, it can be overwhelming, especially if you’re taking on negative moods.
4. You can’t watch disturbing things
Whether it’s watching violence on the news or a gruesome horror movie, you stay far away from the disturbing things in life. That’s because graphic images can be just too much for you to handle—they leave you feeling distressed, upset, and sometimes physically sick. You deeply feel everything—like how you’re inconsolable when you see other people struggling—and that’s not a bad thing, it just means you’re sensitive.
5. You don’t do small talk
Let’s say you’re at a party with tons of new people. While others can be found chit-chatting about their jobs or the weather, you can be found in a deep one-on-one conversation. Your sensitive nature craves meaningful connections and small talk typically doesn’t lead to that. You feel like small talk lacks a certain sense of authenticity, so you’d much rather share your genuine deep thoughts and feelings about life.
6. You avoid conflict
Conflict has a way of taking a huge emotional toll on people. If you’re sensitive, that emotional toll is tenfold. You’d much rather keep everything status quo and avoid escalation, even if that means quieting down your own needs. We get it, but when you start self-sacrificing in order to please those around you, then you’re more sensitive than you realize.
7. You’re empathetic
It sounds obvious but sensitivity and empathy go hand in hand. If you have the innate ability to put yourself in other people’s shoes and feel their emotions, then you’re a sensitive soul. Now, if you find yourself physically taking on those emotions, like not being able to sleep because you’re worried about another person’s issues, then you’re more sensitive than most.
8. You love nature and animals
Have you noticed that you’re drawn to nature and animals? If your answer is yes, then that means you’re sensitive. It kind of goes along with the whole empathy thing—you have a deep connection with the world and feel strongly about protecting it. Yu also might be a bit of an animal whisperer—all animals are super calm around you because you have an innate understanding of their needs and emotions.
9. You don’t like sudden change
If sudden changes feel like the world is ending for you, then you’re very sensitive. That’s because super-sensitive people thrive on routine and the predictability of all. When you’re faced with a shift, it’s common to feel stressed or anxious (especially when it comes out of nowhere).
10. You’re self-critical
If you’re sensitive, then chances are you have a heightened sense of self-awareness. Because you’re always so conscious of yourself, it causes you to be extremely critical. You may struggle with perfectionism and criticize yourself first before the other people around you get a chance to do it.
11. You’re creative
Whether it’s making art, music, writing, or something else sensitive people love getting lost in creative pursuits. That’s because art in any form can help you process your emotions and create an open dialogue with your inner world. It’s also likely that you have a vivid imagination which enables you to express yourself in ways others can’t. Your sensitive nature gives you a unique perspective on life to draw from.
12. You’re an overthinker
If you find yourself constantly replaying conversations in your head or analyzing situations, then sensitive might as well be your middle name. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course—it just means that sensitive people’s brains are hardwired to process things on a deeper level. Your brain likes to make meaning out of the subtext and different angles of it all, so you skip the surface and go right for the depth.
13. You notice the small things
If you’re more observant than the people around you, it’s a good sign you’re also more sensitive than they are. Sensitive people are more attuned to the subtle shifts in their environments. This allows you to pick up on things that others might miss—like changes in body language or tone of voice. As we discussed, because you process information so deeply, you’re able to take much more in than the average Joe.
14. You get overwhelmed easily
If you become overstimulated by things like loud noises, big crowds, or bright lights, then chances are you’re sensitive. Because you’re more attuned to the subtle shifts in your environment, you can easily feel like you’re drowning. A lot of the time, that means you have to leave places when they become a bit too much. There’s nothing wrong with that, it just means that you know and are firm with your boundaries.
15. You have a strong intuition
If you’re super sensitive, you’ll likely get a strong gut feeling about people and places. That’s because, as a sensitive person, you’re able to pick up on the subtlest of cues—you can immediately sense whether someone is trustworthy or not without even speaking a word to them. TL;DR: if you easily pick up on other people’s vibes then you’re sensitive.
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