Dr. Susan Biali

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Home arrow Blog arrow Why itís hard to be a highly sensitive (HSP) introvert
Why itís hard to be a highly sensitive (HSP) introvert Print E-mail

A handful of years ago I was so relieved to discover that there’s a name (Highly Sensitive Person, aka HSP) for what I thought were uniquely weird sensitivities. I also finally understood and now even celebrate the fact that I’m highly introverted. Thanks to these new insights into my personality, I’ve come to appreciate that the traits that make me seem “strange” to some are also the reasons that I’m a good personal coach and a successful writer and author.

Through most of my life I felt that if people knew what I was really like, they’d write me off as strange or  different. What a thrill to discover I’m not alone: 15-20% of the population are thought to be highly sensitive (according to HSP expert Dr. Elaine Aron), and around 20% of all people tend towards introversion. Of the 15-20% who are HSPs, 70% are introverts.

I’ve been enjoying fellow PT blogger Sophia Dembling’s blog about introverts, and it got me thinking of how difficult it can be to live this way in a world of extraverts. Add being highly sensitive to the mixture and you may feel like you want to hide from everything and everybody (partially to avoid trying to explain yourself to others). I’ve found that understanding why I am who I am has helped so much, and has helped me stop trying to fit in.

Here are some of the more challenging aspects I’ve experienced living a highly sensitive introverted life:

1) I don’t want to share a hotel room with you because I want us to stay friends

A few years ago, a well-meaning acquaintance suggested we rent a one-room apartment during an extended stay in Europe, though I was already happily ensconced in a cheap but cute hotel.

“We’ll save so much money,” she urged me, “and it’ll be so much fun!”

At first, I said no. I tried to explain that when I don’t have my own space, I get really stressed out, and often end up damaging the relationship.

She laughed and told me I was being ridiculous. We got along so well and had so much in common, how could this not work? She was so convincing, optimistic and insistent that I caved in. After a few days I started to get a lot less friendly.

As a highly sensitive person who needs to minimize auditory stimuli, I don’t do well when another person likes having TV or loud music on all the time as background noise. I’m extremely sensitive to other people’s moods; when someone is angry, judgmental or irritated, those emotions come through my skin and into my cells, making me even more uncomfortable. Worst of all, if I don’t have my own space to retreat to and recharge, I’ll eventually have a meltdown.

As an introvert, being around other people drains me (as opposed to extraverts, who gain energy being around other people). That doesn’t mean I don’t like being with others, in fact I love it – but I can only do it for so long before I have to go into my cave and refuel.

Not surprisingly, after that ill-fated stint in Europe, our friendship ended. A mutual friend later told me that my ex-roommate had commented that I was “weird”. I felt hurt (and angry) as I had told her that I didn’t do well sharing a small space, but she had talked me into it and was now gossiping about me to others. At the time, I thought that she was right, that I was just a weird, anti-social person. Thankfully, now I know otherwise.

2) Just because I don’t call doesn’t mean I don’t care

Reading Sophia Dembling’s blog, I was thrilled to discover that introverts almost universally don’t like the phone. All my life people have been complaining that I don’t call them, perceiving my behavior as evidence of lack of affection. I used to feel guilty, but finally realized (with Dembling’s help) that it’s simply that I don’t like being on the phone. The only exception is talking to someone else who I’m so similar to that there’s an effortless endless flow of conversation. I dislike awkward silences or pressure to come up with fascinating conversation topics, even with people I know well.

Email and Facebook are completely different, I love to communicate that way - another characteristic, according to Dembling, which is typical of introverts.

As an HSP, I also pick up all kinds of subtleties in people’s voices or comments that make me uncomfortable if they have personal (negative) significance. This intuitive sensitivity works really well when I work as a personal coach over the phone, as I’m able to pick up what’s behind a client’s words and use it to unblock them or help them move forward, but in personal conversations it can be too much information.

3) I don’t want to go to a crowded concert with you, but would love to hang out in a fabulous restaurant where we can hear each other speak and can talk about life, dreams and other meaningful things

One of my worst memories in recent years was a concert in a large plaza in Cabo. If I’m somewhere that really interests me, e.g. a salsa club where there’s great music and lots of room to dance and great dancers to dance with, or a cocktail party filled with friends and people I find highly amusing and interesting, I’ll often be the last person to leave. If we’re just going to an event for the sake of going and there will be tons of strangers and noise, I’d rather stay home and watch a video.

As we pushed through the sardine-packed throng to get near the stage, I started to panic and decided to stay by myself near the periphery. I was still surrounded and pushed against by people I couldn’t see over, and felt overwhelmed by smells of beer and smoke (that’s an HSP thing) as unfamiliar eardrum-shattering country music assaulted me. Too much noise, too many smells, too many people. I was on the verge of tears and if I could have walked home, I would have.

I’m a fun person, really I am (just ask my salsa dance buddies from years back) – if I have space, can hear myself talk, and have reasonably fresh air to breathe. People like me don’t want to leave a party because we want to wreck your fun, we’re just totally overwhelmed. My sister’s the same, and she and her husband have learned to go to parties in separate cars.

Let’s go out for a lovely dinner instead - introverts prefer meaningful one on one conversations to large group experiences, and HSPs yearn to connect deeply, discussing rich complex topics.

If any of this reminds you of you, google the words highly sensitive person (HSP) and introvert. You’ll be reassured by what you read, and can finally explain to the world that you’re not weird, you’re just like a significant proportion of the rest of the population – so there!

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Comments (60)
09-07-2011 12:18
toxic people
Another penetrating analysis! Dr Biali maybe you are like van gogh, "for they could not love you but still your love was true" from Don Mclean Song's Vincent. You just need to know how to avoid toxic people.
Written by peter
09-07-2011 12:18
toxic people
Great article. I totally identify with all of it.
Written by Sam
19-08-2011 10:32
HSP
Dear Dr. Biali, How would you differentiate an HSP from a person who has Asperger's Syndrome?
Written by Jean
19-08-2011 10:38
answering Jean
Hi Jean, 
Thanks so much for your question, it is an excellent one that I had recently asked myself. I didn't know much about the autism spectrum when I started writing about HSP, but the more I read about it, especially with respect to Asperger's, the more I wonder about a link between the two. 
For example, when I read Aspie blogs, especially when they complain about a world full of Neurotypicals, I can absolutely relate. 
 
One main difference that I understand - and I'm not an expert - is that people with Asperger's have challenges understanding social cues, reading facial expressions etc. HSP's on the other hand, as I understand them, are exquisitely sensitive to these kinds of cues. 
 
For example, I'm so sensitive to the slightest nuances of conversation and tone that it can be incredibly uncomfortable - sometimes I'd rather not be able to read what's under the surface! 
 
I believe this is quite a considerable contrast to someone with Asperger's. If you have Asperger's, I'd love to hear your thoughts and about your experience. I have a feeling we're very close neuro-cousins!
Written by Dr. Susan Biali
30-09-2011 09:06
Thank you so much
Your article touched me on so many levels, Reading it made me cry, the emotions I felt was overwhelming. I spend a lot of time alone, the tv is turned off (unplugged). My noise machine is on constantly to drown out the outside noise, as I have made my home a peaceful sanctuary. I knew there were others that felt the same way, but where are they I thought. Thank you again
Written by Dee_
30-09-2011 09:11
Dee - you're so not alone!
Hi Dee and thank you so much for your comment. 
As you now know there are actually millions of people out there just like us! When I posted this on my Facebook page, I was amazed how many people I'd known for years said that this described them perfectly, and I'd had no idea. 
So glad you came along and discovered my site! 
All my best, 
Susan
Written by Dr. Susan Biali
10-01-2012 12:00
Dee - you're so not alone!
Thank you so much for this! I am staying at a friend's place right now, and I was just about in tears earlier. Why? She was playing some music and singing along to it. It was stressing me out, but I felt ridiculous asking her to quiet down because I felt like it wouldn't bother a "normal" person. I felt like there must be something wrong with me, or maybe I am a really selfish person because I couldn't deal with the noise. So thank you. I feel that now that I understand more of what type of person I am, I can take better care of myself.. Do you have any tips for HSP's in the workplace?
Written by Heather
01-03-2012 19:43
HSP parent = so much guilt
Hi Dr Biali, my therapist was the first one to fill me in on being an HSP, and like you have said, just knowing I am not weird, helps deal with life all the time. My biggest struggle however is as a parent. Kids are constantly moving and making noise and are so much stimulation. I am a stay at home mom to a 9 y/o son and 5 y/o daughter. I try so hard to embrace my kids and motherhood. But then I get agitated so quickly and easily! At times just walking in the room with them causes me panic, stress, and anxiety. I love them so very much, but I have so much guilt for telling them I need to be alone so often. They just want my love and attention, and I want to give it to them, but several times a day, that is just impossible. Any advice or resources that could help me stay engaged in my kids lives without feeling like I am on the verge of a breakdown?
Written by Meg
23-04-2012 10:35
Parenthood
I too struggle with being a parent. I have a 3 year old daughter who is so used to me needing a nap in the afternoon she will close the shades and shut the door and say " have a good nap". It makes me feel awful to miss out on this time with her, but if I don't get this time, I get snappy, have no patience and just cannot handle the rest of the day. Then, at bedtime, I break down crying. I am 30 and I would like to have another child, but I feel if I cannot manage this life with one child, how could I possible handle another? Any advice for and HSP parent with a non HSP child? Thanks.
Written by Janis
23-04-2012 10:43
Parenting - to Meg and Janis
Hi Meg and Janis, 
My heart goes out to both of you. At this point I don't have children and I don't know that I would ever choose to. I thrive so much in peace and quiet and being able to control my home environment (which is where I work primarily), that I don't know what I would become , or if I'd be able to cope, if children were added to the environment. That said, I also know that the love one has for ones children is more profound than anything I've probably ever experienced, so most days I'd probably just be thrilled to have them in my life. I'd be at very high risk for being irritable and flying off the handle, though, if I didn't have the down time that I know I need in my life to stay sane. 
My thought for both of you, which I constantly speak about to coaching clients who are mothers, is that it's just so essential to do what you need to do to look after yourself. Your children will generally be ok with that (Janis just see how sweet your child is about your nap), and a mother who may give them slightly less time but is happy and balanced during that time is, in my opinion, a better mother for children to be around. It is so critically important to look after yourself as much as you can. Get enough sleep, eat well, find little pockets of time for yourself, get help from other members of the family (or sitters) to do so if you need to. And be confident knowing that you are setting a great example for your kids, especially if they are girls!
Written by Dr. Susan Biali
03-05-2012 12:59
parenting idea
Hey- I'm HSP and I have 3 boys:6, 3, 1...It gets pretty crazy around our small house- especially during rainy season, lol. I try to just block it out as best as I can and love them, remembering that it is only for a season. I also try to keep one area of my house clutter free and soothing- no one really understands my need for this, but it has such a positive effect on me. I recently discovered that while I do need breaks from the kids, it isn't always helpful to be out of the home to get my break...I still haven't found that perfect cafe or park to hide out at in this town, but if my husband takes the boys to the playground or the grocery store for an hour or so and I can just putter around the house by myself....this is amazing!  
I have been able to occasionally have some deep conversations with friends I've met online (usually after the kids go to bed) and that has helped tremendously too. 
One problem I've come across is that while I'm sensitve to my kids, if I try to discuss things with other parents they might just think I'm crazy because they don't pick up on things like I do. Its tricky. 
Oh, and we homeschool, so that gives us lots of freedom in when we do what. I understand that does not work for every family but it is such a lifesaver not to have to be bustling out of the house every morning:)
Written by Amy f;)
12-05-2012 19:37
parenting idea
Hi,  
I am a HSP and an introvert. Thanks for writing about your experiences. It is good to know I am not alone.  
Do you know of any statistics on what percentage of HSP/Introverts are male/female? 
Thanks, 
~R
Written by Ray
05-08-2012 22:29
Thank you
For years I thought I was weird; I love helping others but majority of the time it's draining.  
It is such a relief to finally see this after years of beating myself up, and I finally feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  
 
Thank you for writing this... I'd love to know, what do we do now that we know? 
 
Thanks again,  
-Natalie
Written by Natalie
09-10-2012 16:35
HSP and Asperger's
Is it possible to be a HSP and to have Asperger's Syndrome?
Written by Ariana
24-11-2012 21:16
I care for my HSP and introverted friend
My friend is HSP and introverted and in his words, irritated by life and totally detached from people. We got to be friends when this wasn't as much the case. At times he says I am his only friend. Now it is 4 1/2 years later, we share a dog and I am at my wits end. So is he. I am an introverted extravert that does everything I can to understand his need for space. When I do, he says my face showed disappointment or my voice did so he feels guilty. I guess I am tried of being the one who has to understand he doesn't have it in him. And, understand his every need. The last straw was last week-it was my birthday-and an anniversary of our dog's death. He said I didn't allow him the privilege of being alone that day so he just worked. In my mind we had worked out that he would take our current dogs, spend the day alone and we would hook up later for sometime together. He said that would be ok-to me it was understanding his need to be alone even though the day was very painful for me as well. I felt that I compromised and put his needs on the forefront and it was fine. And although he said that would work, it really made him so angry-he said I made the day stressful and more awful and that I didn't understand at all. He just wanted to be alone. Then for my birthday he said he didn't think about it. I was hurt because he couldn't make an effort. Not even for a nice card. Am I supposed to understand that my birthday came at a time he just didn't have it in him to make an effort? This is just indicative of where we have come to. He thinks I am a bull in his china shop. I should mention that he only does well with people that he keeps at arms length. He is not understood at work or in places I take him to. When I introduce him to people they all think he is weird and strange. I looked past that 4 1/2 years ago and have been beating my head up against the wall for the past year as our friendship has progressed. You sound like a lovely person that knows your boundaries and try not to cross them. Is there a way that two very different people can handle this condition with love and respect? Right now I feel like I am supposed to understand his needs and that he is HSP and introverted, but he understands my needs but doesn't agree with them. And, I certainly don't feel loved and respected. Is this just his HSP and introversion or is this more his detachment and anger. He wants us to see a counselor, but I don't think he would really make the effort. Thank you for your help!
Written by Anonymous
03-01-2013 11:51
HSP
Finally, a name for what I've know I had for years...HSP. My doc told me years ago that I have a very strange physiology, this is all so very interesting..Dr Biali, what you have described as HSP fits me to a tee. As I age, now 70 years old, I need my quiet time even more than I did when I was younger. I love to be around those close to me, family, very close friends, having meaningful conversations...but I also love to kick up my heels and have fun and dancing and music are definitely a passion. Thanks so much for your blog.
Written by Judy
14-01-2013 10:07
HSP and depression
Hi, Im a clinically depressed person who takes medicine and apparently, have been highly sensitive as well, all my life. Having just found and read this because I have felt so upset with the way my relationship has been going with one of my grown children, this has been a relief. I googled my feelings in desperation and came upon your blog. In saying that, the grown child does not have HSP and is accusing me of being judgemental, threatening and unsupportive. I truly dont fell I am and certainly dont mean to be but...how do I handle the way I feel? I want to be supportive, non-judgemental, and non threatening but dont know how to change the way I'm perseved. Any help would be appreciated. I feel this is why I want to introvert myself from the world and people but I want to be a part of their lives.  
Thank you, About to give up!
Written by Carol K
14-01-2013 10:06
new mom
When I read your article, I felt a light come on and a tremendous weight off my shoulders! For a long time, I've identified myself as being weird, antisocial on the phone, and struggled with this sensitivity. Even a coworker humming to a song across the room was enough to trigger a migraine for me! Now that I have a 3 month old daughter, I've become more focused on being the best mom possible and, as they say on the airplanes, "to don my own mask first" without the guilt.
Written by Nina
30-01-2013 10:10
Lifesaver!!
I was literally in tears this morning wondering what was wrong with me. I'm a stay at home mom of 3 and i struggle to find time for myself. I often wondered why i coldnt just snap out of the need for solitude.  
Thank u so much for this, i feel validated.
Written by marsha
13-02-2013 18:50
Help for HSP Moms
I'm reading the book "The Highly Sensitive Child" by Elaine Aron, PhD. Amazing book that explained so much about my childhood, my difficulties as a mother, and now my need for peace and quiet as I start my second journey. Great book for parents of HSP children, or if you are an HSP parent, and how to deal with HSP or non-HSP children. Highly recommend it. Thank you for this post, as it's great to know I'm not weird, and that there are so many others out there who are part of this amazing "club".
Written by Linda D
22-02-2013 18:39
You are wonderful...
Thank you so much for this article. It describes me down to the ground. I feel like I can relax and that I'm ok not a 'weirdo'... And not so alone! 
 
Thank you!!!
Written by Pauliina Muller
27-02-2013 23:33
HSP
It is wonderful to know that I am not alone as HSPs. For years people at work have told me that I am "too sensitive",and I would think..."What, should I be a person with no feelings at all?" Now I recognize and appreciate that I am sensitive, and I try to guard my sensitive spirit against rude and toxic people. I try to minimize my time with them., if I cannot totally avoid them. I am so affected by even the moods and nuances of others. I have always hated the telephone (and I hate the vaccuum cleaner--I prefer the robocleaner), but never really knew why. Emails and bloggers are preferable.It's good to know that HSp represent 15-20% of the population. We are not alone.I do like to spend time with friends, but I always treasure my time alone. Moirra Laurennull
Written by Moira Lauren
01-05-2013 01:14
Being a Mom with HSP and an Extrovert hu
Thank you. 
This article was in front of me just when I needed it. 
It is difficult in this extroverted world with an extrovert husband and daughter. I think my son has more of my temperment but too young to tell. HSP is me. It is a blessing and a curse.
Written by Michelle
10-05-2013 01:40
Ms
What a curse. I really wish I wasn't a HSP. I find you can't be caring, or you are too sensitive. I envy people who have a good collection of my friends. Me being a HSP makes me run to the hills when too many people are around. I cannot relate to those with narcissistic personalities. Wish there were local groups for HSPs, that would be weird since people see us as weird. Are we here for a reason?
Written by Karen
10-05-2013 20:25
An Introverted HSP with EXTREMELY extrov
I have known I was different for a very long time, found Dr. Aron's book well into my 30s and was relieved to find I was not alone in the sensitivity thing - very relieved. Not in the majority, but not a completely incorrect person, either. I have learned to keep my life even and steady, get the sleep and other basics that I need to be pretty darned content in my day to day. However, I still struggle (after 25 years of marriage) with any contact at all with my husband's extremely extroverted family. The amount of dread I feel when an event is coming up (and one is coming up now - two of them fairly close together) is amazing. I am like a cornered animal looking for a way out of a trap, hoping for some act of nature or God to cancel the thing - thinking I'd rather be sick or some other thing so I have a good reason not to go. These people are VERY loud, very talkative, very opinionated, and so on. They love to tell you what you should do about everything. They also have money, which makes them even more controlling. They are not unkind people, but are the kind who I cringe at being around. It's been one overwhelming get-together after the next for years and years and I guess I have suffered long-term effects. Every visit is too long (they all live out of state), just plain too much, too noisy, too many hours, dinner is too long and too late, what they want to do lasts too many days (once we had to go on a week-long cruise!), costs too much money (ex. the cruise!), and I end up being my worst possible self. Meltdown? Oh yeah. In tears, every single time. Over the years I have come up with coping strategies to minimize these events, (over time a lot of avoidance, which is a strain on my marriage) using all of the coping strategies you list in your articles. But I guess nothing will ever work because I am definitely introverted and do not enjoy these kinds of gatherings at all. Not even when it is my own family. Enough is enough, and that usually means a few hours and then I want to go home. I definitely prefer one-on-one, quiet communication. If i am with a like-minded soul, I can talk and talk and talk. Small talk is grueling. Pretending to be having fun when I'm not - painful. I know it is hard for my husband because I dislike these things so much and have so many special needs when we are in them. I need a hotel room, can't stay at someone's house. I need to leave when I need to leave, can't stay even one more minute. I'm hungry NOW and need something to eat and I mean something good. He is thinking; why can't I just get along, just put up with it for one weekend? We hardly ever see them, it's "only" - whatever it is. Can't I just suck it up and be a good Christian person and be nice? He even gives me scripts of things to say to them - totally not 'me' things to say. Obviously these tactics haven't worked, put strain on our relationship, make me feel like he is not 'on my side' - put my bad feelings on the in-laws, etc. It seems there is no solution. I have to put up with things a couple times a year and I suffer and am no fun, have no fun, and get to feel all kinds of dread before hand for weeks. Or I get to feel guilty if I skip something. 
 
I was grateful to read your statement about introverts disliking the phone. I HATE the phone! Especially those ramblings small-talk talks. Love email and other writing type communication!  
 
Speaking of rambling, this was a very rambling message! 
 
I am hosting my mother and father-in-law next weekend - only from Friday evening to Sunday noon. It sounds like not much, but I am going to be so relieved when it's over. Then, in July, there is a family gathering for their 50th anniversary, and the whole noisy bunch will be there - squeeing with joy about being together - and there'll be me - in misery - trying to escape. I wish I knew how to make it better. All I can think of is escape, minimize, grit my teeth, hang out with my daughter (15) who is as like-minded as anyone in the world. But that is not acceptable because they want a piece of her - and she is 'supposed to' hang around with her totally unlike-her noisy insensitive cousins. 
 
Thanks for listening and for putting out articles about HSP.
Written by Lisa
26-06-2013 16:32
I am an HSP male
Years ago after reading Elaine Aron's book, I realized that I was highly sensitive. I cried the first time I read her book because it described everything I had felt throughout my life. It changed my life, yet I am constantly dealing with being a male and having this rare, genetic trait. It is a daily challenge to hide this part of me, which I have to do often. I can't say that I feel confident about myself knowing I am this way. However, I have learned to accept the positives and live with the limitations of being highly sensitive. It has been a big relief to find out that I was highly sensitive and have tailored my life around it. Finding the right people has been the biggest challenge though. It's good to see so many others recognizing high sensitivity. Thank you for spreading the word on this unique trait so that more people, including non-hsp's, can learn about it.
Written by Jai
26-06-2013 16:11
Wow I''m not weird
:? How about that... All my life, I've thought I was being weird, antisocial or socialphobic and it turns out, I'm probably just a highly sensitive introverted person. I've been doing some research and this article confirms what i've been suspecting. I can stop feeling guilty about how I am, always feeling a need to be different. Also don't need to feel particularly guilty about not always thinking it's the best to be around my husband and child, needing my own space. Now if I could only get him to understand it. He is the exact opposite of me, and I somewhat suspect he thinks I'm an alien, or a bad person who needs to pull myself together and BE DIFFERENT! Any advice as to make him understand?
Written by Shiba
26-06-2013 16:16
to Shiba
I can relate to what you're saying about your husband...I believe that many sensitive introverts end up with extraverts. Opposites do attract, and I think this is a good thing! I know my extraverted husband helps me be more social and get out and enjoy activities when I might be tempted to just hide at home... 
I've found it really helps to explain that I'm an introvert (this is easier to explain and more understood than HSP). Introverts get drained by people and like quiet and space. It's a well-known personality phenomenon. I often point out that my personality differences (and need for quiet etc.) are because I'm an introvert. I find it helps! And I don't apologize who I am and I don't feel bad about it. It's how you're made - you're not wrong, or bad, just different. And neither is he!
Written by Dr. Susan Biali
29-06-2013 23:46
I realize I am not alone
I came from a family of ten children, and grew up as a JW. It has been so terrible for me. I was always called, evil, mean, nasty, and www before the www existed, weird, white (I am African American) and wrong. Everything I felt, everything I said was never right, any and everything bothers me; the smell of just about anything, including my own body odor. My husband continues to tell me he doesnít smell anything, he feels like I have a nose like a dog. The sensitivities to smells are so bad, that it triggers these depressed feelings. Since I lost my job, I have secluded myself in my house, in my room, which is where I stayed as a kid; it was the most comfortable place in the world, as it is today. I have what were once friends but little by little I disconnected myself from them; I found that much of the conversations were people telling me what I needed to do when I never asked what I should do. I find that those that were my friends were never listening to what I was trying to say. I have actually come out and explained that I am a introvert, that I donít likeÖ I would get specific but again; they think I should do this, do that, be this and be that. I have never read anything regarding this thing (that I realized about a week ago), I have had therapist give me all types of medication but nothing seems to help what I am. I do realize, I was born this way, no donít like it, but I have to learn to come to terms with it and step back out into the world. I am sacred, angry, upset, frustrated, itís so much. Right now I feel like a mouse that has been backed into a corner and when anyone comes never me to help, I reach out with a huge claw and try to themÖ Iím actually stuck; I canít have anyone who doesnít understand come near me, and believe me with those sensitive antenna pick up very quickly when a person expresses any type of negativity and if they try to pretend to be anything other than real with their feelings, I pick that up as well. I hate all of this, itís like hearing, feeling, tasting, smelling, seeing, everything through waves that my mind picks up. I want so bad to shut is off but I canít seem to control. It hurts and it wonít go away.
Written by Rosalyn
01-07-2013 17:04
I realize I am not alone
Thank you so much! So now I know I'm not weird for not talking on the phone, even though people insist otherwise rsrsr It's so damn awkward
Written by Adelante
04-07-2013 20:42
I realize I am not alone
Hello 
 
I am a HSP and do find relief it finally understanding that there are other people like me. I need my own space and quiet time or I have a meltdown. I can only take so much socializing (I am talking about 1 to 2 hours) and then okay that is enough, quiet please. I now understand why as a teenager I would get irritated with my girlfriend if we spent the weekend at each other's houses. It was too overwhelming for me. I also cannot take listening to tv playing or music playing. It distracts my brain from my peaceful being and pulls me into chaos. That makes it difficult for others to understand.  
Also, extremely fragrance sensitive.
Written by Debbie
05-07-2013 05:55
Introvert with extrovert husband and inl
I became more of an introvert after I married an extrovert man and extremely extrovert family. They are CONSTANTLY on the run and planning get togethers. I am made to feel bad for not going with and get extremely stressed out when I know I can\'t avoid a gathering. It causes alot of strain between my husband and me and his family must think I don\'t like them. I have tried to explain how I am and if anyone would like to do some one on one things great but never happens always has to be a group and always overnight crap. They live 20 min away and think they need to spend the night. I hate overnight deals I can do a few hrs thing but evenings r MY time and I need it quiet. I feel bad I have a 6yr old that I don\'t know if I have made like me or not. He loves to go do things but gets over stimulated and has a hard time and i see this in school to. What 6 yr old asks to be homeschooled? I have never mentioned this to him. I\'m tired of been drained and stressed out by husband and inlaws.
Written by Sandy
11-07-2013 18:16
Im not weird!
I've always wondered why I was so sensitive to things now I'm so happy that I'm not the only one like this that there's actually a reason for it and a name :eek
Written by Carmen
15-07-2013 13:06
Thank You!
At first I thought maybe I was weird like how I can't stand to use the phone or go to crowded places! I can't even stand my own family (they are very loud and overwhelming) and as a 14 year old there's no way out! Along with that I have to go to school and at first I'm exited, you know the quiet classrooms and if I'm lucky I can sit in the back and not feel overrun my the other students, but then there's the forced social aspect which I can't handle and then when I finally get home I have to deal with my family's mixed up emotions (I'm an empath too)! So my moms always stressed and I feel that and then there's the loud tv when my step dads home and I've got nowhere to go and reboot ever!!! if I'm lucky I get an hour of alone time per day but its not enough!! I get so angry and overwhelmed I can't do anything! I can't breath or enjoy what I used too! But i feel alone too i have none to talk to n haven't my entire life!! i mean you'd expect at least one person in your family to share a common interest but NOBODY does!!Can someone give me some advice cuz I can't ask my family to tone down or give me space cuz they won't care! They won't even go around my odd inability to eat pork without getting sick! Anyhow help please!
Written by Zoey
24-07-2013 17:56
Wow - a huge penny has dropped
I am so relieved to find this information. Beyond words. I googled "I am so sensitive to others" in a bid to try to understand how I've been feeling. I thought something was wrong with me!  
I find the 'noise' of the world, or rather people too much and even recently scaled back my work to 3days/wk to allow me quiet time away from the workplace and people.  
I too have this super-sentitive antenna that can feel people's negativity etc. I find it overwhelming and just love being at home in my quiet sanctuary. Others wouldn't know that and would probably see me as very outgoing but it can be too much 'blah blah blah'. I won't go on because having read your articles I see - you get it. I think I've found 'my people'. Thank you javascript:ac_smilie('8)') 
8) 8) 8)
Written by Adrienne
29-07-2013 03:15
Wow - a huge penny has dropped
Thank you, I had always thought that depression was the reason for so many things, and though I do have a chemical imbalance and am depressed it is so nice to read this and to understand more of my personality. I can understand now why with my experiences in life why I cloister myself away, do not go to huge events, and always prefer one on one conversation plus a host of other things. Thank you so very much I now know there are others like me and I am not weird
Written by Jeanne
08-08-2013 14:40
HSP & Introverted
So nice to have read this article and not feel so alone. But I do feel alone in my feelings when I'm around other people. It seems like everyone else that I come across are not HSP & introverted like I am. 
 
I am 56 years old and felt like I've been introverted all of my life. I've also felt sensitive, but I feel a lot more sensitive these days. Especially about health issues. I have been in great health all of my life, but lately there are some possible issues that are upsetting me. 
 
If I hear of someone having a health problem, or read about one, I get very upset. It's like a sick feeling in my stomach. It would be that way even if it happened to someone I didn't like too much. 
 
I guess I can handle the part of me being introverted. So many times I've wanted to change but never did. But it's nice that these days, there's so much being published about introverts. In the US the culture encourages being extroverted while it discourages introversion.  
 
As far as being a HSP is concerned, I wish that I can turn that off. Because I really hate it. I didn't used to be highly sensitive. But, on the other hand, I have become more sympathetic towards others than I used to be. In the past I used to think that if someone were going through a hard time, it was all of their fault. 
I don't think that way anymore because I have seen bad things happen to good people. Of course, we are all not perfect.
Written by Tom
23-09-2013 08:25
Thank All of you for commenting
This was a fantastic article as I am the complete opposite of you. I am an extrovert and thrive off of stimulation. However I married an HSP and we have kids. We struggle with family events, but these comments were awesome as it it not only helps me protect her, but also ways that can help her thrive and for my family to love her. This stuff is so hard to understand when it's not you and all of these snippets of life found in these comments were extremely helpful
Written by Husband of an HSP
23-09-2013 18:28
HSP/Aspergers
Thanks for this. I definitely relate. I moved to Chicago two years ago and bah. All the noise and smells. I'm going crazy and hope to move in the summer. I've also sabotaged many relationships with roommates. Thank god for the resilient friends. Based in my readings of women with Aspergers, who can be highly sensitive to a person's energy and the ways in which girls with aspergers learn to function in the NT world, I don't know if I'm just a HSP introvert or have aspergers. But there's def something going on. (Help4aspergers is a great website to find out how aspergers develops in women under the different social expectations of women to boys.) the real question is - it's my birthday tomorrow and I don't know how to celebrate. I'm miserable at the moment because after two masters degrees I can't find work and won't be able to pay rent. The only job I've found is a 15 hour a week job at a restaurant that - well - you can imagine makes my head explode. So part of me doesn't want to celebrate for fear that I bring the whole crowd down. then I think that'll only make me more miserable. So I start to think of cheap, free things that I'd like to do, but start thinking the few friends I have here won't all want to do what I want to do whatever that is. And then I realize I spend too much time accommodating others. And go back to wanting to be alone. So basically I'm a miserable mess at the moment. Not generally. But now.  
 
So how do other introverts spend their birthdays?
Written by Libby Walkup
25-09-2013 19:27
So glad there are others who can relate!
I sometimes worry about myself. Going out into public is so rough for me. I am so happy being at home with my cats, listening to soothing music in the background, etc. It seems like everything and everyone annoys me. I avoid most social gatherings and turn down invitations and barely communicate with most people unless I have to. And, I've even turned my best friend into a phone friend instead of hanging out. I'm not married and don't date. And, as of recently I've also been spending A lot less time at my computer, and I never watch TV. I'll watch a movie off Netflix most nights before going to bed. I'm self-employed and work from home and wouldn't have it any other way. And, instead of handling the phones myself I've hired someone else to deal with the customers, as I just can't stand dealing with them. LOL. Wow, I sound pathetic and crazy, but that's the way it is...
Written by Leigh LaRue
28-09-2013 13:41
Earplugs are the best invention
:p I find it hard even to have a relationship, let alone entertain the idea of kids. I never felt comfortable at school, in jobs or any place where there was enforced jollity and people tried to push me to "join in". I make my own fun, generally by creating my own music and performing it - I am a compelling performer onstage but a computer geekoffstage, who sits in a darkened room mixing backing tracks. I was married for 7 years and I don't know how I did it. Whilst part of me wants a committed relationship, the other half shudders at the thought.
Written by Good
29-09-2013 00:29
HSP extrovert
Well I'm the minority minority... The extravert highly sensitive person... Only now am I starting to recognise and accept the sensitive traits without trying to hide from the world and fix myself, while I appear so social and confident on the surface... It's hard with a foot in each world / I love working with people and helping them but after time with my clients and absolutely drained... Previously I formed unhealthy food and alcohol coping skills to allow for time out and escape from a deeply processing mind and a very active dream life.... 
I've now moved to a quiet creek location where home is my quiet haven... I go fishing and meditate and much prefer ALOT of time to myself and NEED it. Least now instead of feeling neurotic by needing quiet and dim lights... I can embrace it, learn to manage my agitation with unchosrn sensory input... And enjoy being sensitive and also needing outgoing fun at times.... Trying to focus more on the positives... When I feel joy I feel it heightened, my appreciation and connection in nature is amazing and I can embrace all my intuition and de ja vu.
Written by Janelle
04-10-2013 13:00
HSP extrovert
Not to be a wet blanket but little comfort comes from knowing many are similar. Three decades of being the man, the leader, the executive, the manager, the provider all while there has been no room for telling the truth. Can't tell a colleague or subordinate the REAL reason why I'm tearing up inexplicably in a one-on-one meeting, or why I flew off the handle another day, or why I needed to ask if it was ok to have curtains installed on my office window-wall, or why I need to 'detox' alone from the sounds and smells of events I have to attend. I needed to know about HSP 30 years ago so I could have chosen to become a writer. Thanks anyway.
Written by Joel
04-10-2013 13:01
Sure, but...
Not to be a wet blanket but little comfort comes from knowing many are similar. Three decades of being the man, the leader, the executive, the manager, the provider all while there has been no room for telling the truth. Can't tell a colleague or subordinate the REAL reason why I'm tearing up inexplicably in a one-on-one meeting, or why I flew off the handle another day, or why I needed to ask if it was ok to have curtains installed on my office window-wall, or why I need to 'detox' alone from the sounds and smells of events I have to attend. I needed to know about HSP 30 years ago so I could have chosen to become a writer. Thanks anyway.
Written by Joel
06-10-2013 03:22
Please some advice here
This describes me so well, I would love to have a little advice from you, since we share similarities. 
I just realized I am HSP introvert, I already knew I was an introvert. I am having such a hard time in my new job. All my coworkers are extroverts it's a nightmare and I seat besides the most extrovert woman of them all. I am getting acne and feel drained, I don't do so much work but just knowing all those people never keep quiet makes me so stressed out. Now even more since I do writing projects too. I am thinking of telling my boss if I can seat elsewhere but I need to find a valid excuse. They don't understand the concept of introversion they just think introverts are weird. They even say it and ridicule anything there is to exist, including introversion, since those are the type of conversations they have, out loud in the fabulous open plan office lol and small number of employees, so it's quite informal. Please give me some advice to reduce my social anxiety, I try to talk but it's so hard and working from home is not an option for me right now I just started working there. I use earphones, will start using earplugs. I am in my 20s and single, I have only dated introverts but lately all I meet is extroverts, I can't stand them. I would rather be alone than with an extrovert. I don't want to have kids, since they irritate me. I can go out and socialize with friends, I have periods of extroversion but I end up drained for months so I don't attempt to utilize my energy long periods of time, trying to be an extrovert. I hate being like this but I can't help it. At work they might think I'm weird, good thing I don't care. I go there to work not to talk nonsense. Please help, I need to stop this stress :cry
Written by Steph
09-10-2013 09:32
neglected
Is there a forum for spouses of HSP people? It can be a very lonely life. Very.
Written by HSP spouse
11-10-2013 09:02
Thank You
Thank you so much for this , am really learning to accept me. People think am wierd and they feel awkward around me, so they dont visit me often. Even if they do, they don't stay long. They feel i can't do some things, they underestimate my worth and capability. Also, i've got very few friends,am shy, indecisive. It can be depressing sometimes. I don't get much respect that i deserve because i can be too nice and not stand up for myself. I'm really trying to improve . 
I will be getting married by the end of the year. It was so funny when People tell me that they were surprised and could not believe i could get married to a very tall, handsome, responsible guy and a Doctor for that matter. He loves and understand me. 
 
Help me Lord to be the best I can be!
Written by Elizabeth
20-10-2013 23:42
people so clueless
just sad that it is life including the one's that write about it! :cry
Written by 1 INTJ WOMAN
21-10-2013 12:56
Daughter of an HSP introvert
This was very interesting as i would class myself as quite extravert with an introvert side. My mother is definitetly HSP introvert but she's becoming more and more extreme. I understand her somewhat so I never pressure her into anything but it was pretty difficult growing up with her 'rules' ... no noise, having to leave her alone, generally being loving but then turning for no apparent reason ... if you are an HSP mother, I can only suggest you discuss this with your children in age appropriate ways because it is quite disorientating for children ... I'm only just discovering and understanding my mother but I'm 45 and she's 72 ... so we've wasted a lot of time and had a lot of heartache along the way ....
Written by Lucy
01-11-2013 17:49
MissKimberlyJoy
Great article and very informative. 
 
I feel like I'm half and half (half introvert, half extrovert) depending on my mood. For example, back in high school, I was the super loud-hyper-comedian in the hallways at recess or lunch time with the other students. I would talk to almost anyone and it didn't bother me if they were part of the "popular" crowd or the "nerd" crowd. I believe that was my extrovert side. But if I had Anxiety about something, I would worry and over-think E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. and I wouldn't want to be around people. And of course, being loud one day and then super quiet the next, people, teachers, etc would always think something terrible has happened to me. I finally "learned" to just say, "I'm okay, I'm just tired." I only learned (through a psychologist) that I have medium to high Anxiety at age 24 when I would start crying at work and it wasn't even lunch time yet : / I'm not completely sure what triggers my Anxiety, but now if I have negative thoughts, I just have to find my headphones and listen to music or sing. Recently a friend on Facebook told me that she hummed a tune to feel better and that helps too. Anyway, I'm on this never-ending journey on keeping myself on a positive track through eating healthy, exercising, reading books and hanging out with loved ones. It's a process, but once we are aware of it, nothing can stop us :D
Written by Kimberly Joy
08-11-2013 01:18
HSP
I feel so relief when i read this.. So happy, that I know that I'm not weird.. I know that i'm an introvert person, and now, i know i'm hyper sensitive too.. It's not really hard now that i know what is happening to me.. But it's still hard when your friends know that you are an introvert but still treat you as an extrovert.. And you know that was a mistakes, and made me stress easier.. One of them studied psychology and the other had a very vast knowledge about human behaviors, why they still treat me like that? Like i was one of them? (They're extrovert, btw) I love them very much, but i don't know what to do, because i feel like they started to leave me. And i know they think that i have such a low self esteem and can't stand for myself, even when they didn't mean to, but i can feel it. It's really hard for me.. Thank you.. Sorry if my English is bad.. It's not my primary language..
Written by Nids
08-11-2013 02:09
thnanks
I feel so relief when i read this.. So happy, that I know that I'm not weird.. I know that i'm an introvert person, and now, i know i'm hyper sensitive too.. It's not really hard now that i know what is happening to me.. But it's still hard when your friends know that you are an introvert but still treat you as an extrovert.. And you know that was a mistakes, and made me stress easier.. One of them studied psychology and the other had a very vast knowledge about human behaviors, why they still treat me like that? Like i was one of them? (They're extrovert, btw) I love them very much, but i don't know what to do, because i feel like they started to leave me. And i know they think that i have such a low self esteem and can't stand for myself, even when they didn't mean to, but i can feel it. It's really hard for me.. Thank you.. Sorry if my English is bad.. It's not my primary language..
Written by nids
11-11-2013 02:55
Thank you
I have known I was an introvert, but it wasn\'t until today that I learnt of the \"energy\" thing associated with that.  
I have been beating myself up for years over my \"symptoms\" because I didn\'t understand them. Thank you for sharing. It really bridges a gap (well, more like a massive chasm) I have felt between myself and other people. Knowledge is power!
Written by Kate
25-11-2013 20:57
life as an HSP
For me, knowing is not comforting enough. Life still continues to go on and all you get told is that your too sensitive.... its too much to deal with. I honestly dont even wnt to be me anymore. Its too painful.
Written by Aubrey
04-12-2013 06:45
wonder
:)
Written by guddu
20-12-2013 13:54
A new problem I face as an HSP
From my childhood I knew that I\'m very introvert an highly sensitive person. On top of it, my personality is very timid and dull. My way of talking is , what people consider to be \"sweet\" , but not \"smart\". I am too much soft spoken and generally my speech sounds like lack of confidence. My nature is \"conflict avoiding\" and I generally avoid confrontations and argument until I find the issue extremely important to me. I feel uncomfortable even if someone else in my apartment fights or argue even if I am not involved in those fights! However, this kind of nature gave me an impression of a weak person. I have been bullied by many of my roommates and colleagues. People just love to make fun of me on my face or even insult me because they know that I am not going to insult them back nor I can be rude. What they call as \"sense of humor\" to make fun of me, if same words someone else tells them, I bet they can not tolerate them. It\'s not that I don\'t have self respect but I feel very -VERY uncomfortable to speak rudely or even little loudly. I gradually hated my personality and tried to change it badly. Now I somewhat ACT as being confident, smart, try to speak loudly and answer people on their face. But in deep down I feel so uncomfortable, my heartbeats and breathing increase like anything, and I can\'t tell you how much stress I experience in my mind when I have to tell someone that I feel offensive when they insults me and when I have to argue back when people try to bully me. The world will be a really better place to live when people understand that an introvert who doesn\'t like to talk and argue much is not a weak person and it\'s not OKAY to bully him/her just because he/she will not answer back in the same rude way.
Written by Florina
28-12-2013 07:32
Christmas was Hell!
I am an introvert and have been for as long as I can remember. Spending hours upon hours as a child in my room alone. My father being concerned about it once came and asked me, if I would not join them all watching tv, but long story short, I was not only needing the time to be alone but also hiding from my mother who in many words told me on many occasions that I was stupid, ugly and wished me dead! :sigh I remember after he left feeling so worried that I may have hurt his feelings but I just couldn't force myself out of the room my younger sister and I shared ( which was trying as well since she was my mother's favorite! )  
I find it odd that I LOVE Christmas, but the thought of having to go to family functions petrify me! Of course I was trying to convince myself I didn't have to go this year if I didn't want to but duty called! Not wanting my family to think I wanted nothing to do with them I felt I must go! So I did! It was pure hell. Sitting between an aunt and cousin who would not look at me directly , but chose to talk around me ( if there is such a thing ) made me feel ..........I have no way of describing how I felt because there are no words that could explain it. I've always had the feeling that my family endured my presence but if it were possible would not have me there at all. I found it hard to speak, and when I did, I came off sounding like a fool. It was the worst time of my life. Three days of socializing , today ,has me hiding in my home, phone disconnected, blinds drawn, should anyone knock I will not answer! I didn't go last year to the Family Christmas because my mother keeps inviting distant relatives whom we haven't seen or heard from in years. It use to be just the immediate family, My siblings and I and our off spring, but since my fathers passing she has taken this journey of asking every single relative she can think of to join in our once a year get together, which I use to like ( until the children started reaching adult hood and then a whole new crop of problems arose for me ) but not dread!  
I like facebook because I can take the time to express how I feel properly. Words do not fall from my lips ( or type ) without proper contemplation., which cannot be offered on a one on one conversation! But find that I also can be hurt easily by what others say or just totally ignore me.
Written by Maggie
13-01-2014 06:59
Agree except the one-on-one part
"introverts prefer meaningful one on one conversations to large group experiences", this is the one part I disagree with in your post, but the remainder describes me extremely well. I get more stressed out in one-on-one situations than I do in groups, because then there is so much pressure on me to keep the conversation going. It makes me draw blanks, not knowing what to say next, and it's highly embarrassing. In a group, at least I can "switch off" from time to time and just watch everyone else interact. Not a big, loud, partying group, but at a coffee shop or restaurant, I'd much rather be there with 3-4 other people than just one.
Written by HM
19-01-2014 22:20
introverts
I have been learning alot in this subject area in last few years...as far as factual information.. from birth I always knew I was different than most... I presume the 15% & the 70% of introverts.. There is HSP, there are Highly Creatives and there are some that have one of these traits... and there are even fewer that have both. I can tell you.. I am highly creative, I am an introvert, I can deal with an occasional gathering here and there. When i was younger I just hid behind my extroverted friends.... As I have gotten older... I don't have tolerance for any of the drama.... In fact the post about how introverts love FB and whatever else that was......... well i disagree... I hate social media displaying your life etc... So I have to say in my opionion if you like facebook with a few friends then that is one thing... but an Introvert is not going to become friends with 100 + strangers on Fb to play farmsville or share their life..........lol this is hilarious......extroverts play farmsville, and possibly a bored introvert........ that is clearly not me........ happy blogging..... happy 2014 all 
peace all... :zzz
Written by Eccentric
25-01-2014 08:36
I don't think these items classify some
I love people, and am not shy when it comes to talking with strangers, co workers, executives, etc. But I don't think any of these items classifies anyone as being strange. 
 
But why do people think you want to share a hotel room. Unless you are one of my sisters, or my husband, I do not want to share with you. There's nothing wrong with some away time from other people. I had slumber parties as a kid. I'm an adult. I want my own room. Sometimes I feel it's just the other person wanting to save money. 
 
As far as number 2 goes, communication means different things to different people. It's good to know how people like to communicate. I too would rather email or text, and I'm from the baby boomer generation. But I know my Aunt loves phone calls and cards. I will make an effort for her to do both of these items. My sisters have always hated the phone as I also hate the phone. I finally brought both of them into the tech age by doing a family share plan with smartphones. One sister is not technical at all, but she loves it. And to my surprise will text me all the time when in the past, would almost never call. So, it's fair to say I like to do it one way or another, but it doesn't hurt to try another method once in awhile. Get out of your comfort zone. 
 
To me, my idea of people not caring is when they never make an effort for any type of communication and expect me to do all the communication legwork. I've dropped friend do to this. They never call, write, stop by. Oh, I'll try for awhile, but when it's always me, I reevaluate and then just drop them. I figure if they give a crap, they'll reach out. 
 
I can't relate to number 3. I'm not a huge fan of crowds, but it's more of an annoyance than anything. I'm not afraid of being in one. I just like them less as I get older.
Written by Laura Smith

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