Do you suspect that you’re a highly sensitive person but you haven’t really been able to get your head around the idea that apparently you need to be an introvert?
Have you always thought of yourself as an extrovert that’s too sensitive?
You might be a highly sensitive extrovert and today I want to help you identify if that is indeed the case.
It’s an important distinction to make.
When you understand that the conflict that you are experiencing is as a result of your high sensitivity and your extroversion you can begin to manage it.
You can kind of marry the two and then find a way to make it work for you.
What is a Highly Sensitive Person
Let’s talk a bit about what it means if you’re a highly sensitive person (HSP).
I’m only going to cover it briefly, I’ve created several videos about this topic which you can view on my Youtube channel.
Really, highly sensitive people have a super sensitive nervous system
- We tend to process information deeply so we think deeply about things,
- We are quite sensitive to the information around us and the subtleties in our environment. So, we’re quite aware of things that other people might not pick up,
- We are very empathetic which means that we cry easily,
- And finally, because we process information so deeply and we absorb so much from our environment, we can get overwhelmed quickly by novel things.
The brains of highly sensitive people work differently from the brains of non-sensitive people. It is not a disorder and there is nothing wrong with you that needs to be fixed!
High sensitivity is an innate trait which means that we are born like this. We don’t become like this through our life experiences.
Regarding the numbers, highly sensitive people are by far in the minority as we make up only 15%-20% of the population. That’s about 1 in 5 people.
It could explain why it happens that we are so misunderstood and why our sensitivity is often criticized or judged.
Researching this trait of high sensitivity is a relatively new field.
I for one, am very happy that people are starting to learn more about sensitivity and it’s becoming more mainstream.
Introvert or Extrovert
The best definition that I know of is:
- an introvert gets energized by spending time with themselves, and
- an extrovert gets energized by spending time with other people.
You can probably see the challenge here: as a highly sensitive person you need that alone time but as an extrovert, you need to spend time with people.
Highly sensitive extroverts make up only about 30% of the highly sensitive population.
That’s a teeny tiny percentage of us that are extroverts!
I think that’s maybe why we’ve been overlooked a little bit.
If you look at social media and at all of the things that are written and spoken about high sensitivity, I feel like a lot of it is aimed and targeted at the introverted highly sensitive person.
So, those of us that are definitely a lot more extroverted don’t always know if we can be highly sensitive too because there are things there that just don’t seem to fit!
5 Signs that You’re a Highly Sensitive Person
1. You become restless when you’re alone for too long
You enjoy being on your own and you feel recharged when you spend time in contemplation or thinking about things.
However, you are alone for too long a period of time, then you begin to feel restless. You can begin to feel unmotivated and lethargic, and you might even feel a little bit depressed if you spend too much time on your own.
But then when you go find some engagement and social activities, you soon can start feeling overstimulated.
The main difference here between the introverted highly sensitive person and the extroverted highly sensitive person is that introverts really love spending time on their own, where for the extroverted highly sensitive person it’s more of a necessity.
That’s not typical for extroverted people, but if the highly sensitive extrovert doesn’t create that it can begin to affect them negatively in how they process the things happening in their world.
2. You’re always the first person to leave an event
You enjoy going to events, but you are the person who always leaves early!
This was definitely the case for me when my kids were younger and I used to participate in these mommy-toddler groups.
I used to enjoy being there but I could only be there for a little while and then I was always the first one to leave.
I remember feeling conflicted because I didn’t want to miss out on the fun, but I had a really hard time staying there as long as some of the other moms!
When I began to learn about my high sensitivity it started making sense that I wasn’t anti-social, it was just that I reached a level of overstimulation and it was then time for me to retreat.
3. You find relief in talking about your feelings
Usually what you read about highly sensitive people seems to infer that we prefer writing in a journal to talking about our feelings.
A sign that you’re a highly sensitive extrovert is if you prefer to talk about your problems and verbally express the things going on in your mind as opposed to writing them out.
You might jot down a couple of things and make a few notes to order what’s going on in your mind.
But, you definitely feel a lot more relief and get more insight when you talk about what’s going on for you as opposed to just simply writing it down in a journal and expressing it in that way.
4. You want novel experiences but you avoid taking risks
You crave new experiences and you want to experience novel, exciting things but you don’t want to risk yourself doing it.
People might even see you as a spoilsport because there are many things you won’t participate in even though it’s something you want to do.
That’s why it’s so important for you to learn not only about your trait of being a highly sensitive person but also to identify if you are an extroverted or an introverted highly sensitive person.
If you’re not aware that you are actually an extrovert even though you’re HSP you can experience all of this inner conflict when you want to try new things and participate in activities that will honour that extroverted part of you but the highly sensitive part of you goes No ways!
5. You crash and burn quickly, often without warning
It works like this: You’re the soul of the party and then all of a sudden you crash and burn.
Typically, you enjoy being in the company of other people and spending time in social activities. You’re also good with people, a good listener and you are engaging.
Until you suddenly hit a brick wall of overstimulation.
This is because while we’re engaging with people and having fun, our nervous systems are processing so much information until it is too much all of a sudden.
When you know this about yourself, you will be able to pull back before you hit that wall.
If we want to live healthy, balanced, and satisfying lives as HSPs we need to understand how to manage our own energy.
It is our responsibility to figure out how can we best fit into what is already existing in the world in a way that allows us to thrive.