16 Habits Of Highly Sensitive People

I want to hear: “Sorry you’re feeling that way.”
I get: “Get over it!”

sensitiveI saw this article in the Huffington Post a while back. “Do you feel like you reflect on things more than everyone else?” To quote one commenter: “Yep….. I feel like they asked me about my life before they wrote this article.” Lots of confirmation of that sentiment as well.

1. They feel more deeply.
“They’re very intuitive, and go very deep inside to try to figure things out.”

This is me, in a nutshell. Or in the words of a Paul Simon song, maybe I think too much. Suggesting that I feel more deeply feels arrogant, and I’m uncomfortable with that, too. If someone ELSE said it, it’d be OK.

2. They’re more emotionally reactive.
They may have more concern about how another person may be reacting in the face of a negative event.

I have a huge amount of empathy. Any story in which a person going through a terrible ordeal and is not “heard” feels as though the “not being heard” part is happening to me personally. This story is a good example. It’s bad enough that she was raped, but the “blame the victim” really undid me.

Injustice particularly ticks me off. I find the current economic disequilibrium disheartening, but to be fair, don’t most thinking people?

3. They’re probably used to hearing, “Don’t take things so personally” and “Why are you so sensitive?”
Highly sensitive men .. from other countries — such as Thailand and India — were rarely or never teased, while highly sensitive men he interviewed from North America were frequently or always teased.”

BINGO. Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. I get brave enough to tell some people how I feel about something, and I get, let’s say, less than satisfactory responses.
I want to hear: “Sorry you’re feeling that way.”
I get: “Get over it!” Or “You’re overreacting.” Or “It’s not that big a deal.”
That will shut me down. Afterwards, I realize they THINK I’ve taken their “sage” advice, when I’ve just closed off, emotionally, and on occasion, physically.
I have the sense far too often that people just don’t GET me. I find it odd that people I’ve never met in person seem to grok what I’m saying better than most of my terrestrial acquaintances.

4. They prefer to exercise solo.

Not necessarily so. While I used to run alone, I had my greatest joy in the 30 years playing racquetball. I liked volleyball at the time. I used to play softball and baseball, though that was more fun by college, when I actually learned to play better.

5. It takes longer for them to make decisions.
Highly sensitive people are more aware of subtleties and details that could make decisions harder to make.

Depends. I’m actually quite good at deciding at restaurants relatively quickly, e.g. I like to shop when I can go in and just buy it, such as when I’d get CDs. But purchases of items I don’t feel I understand – cellphone service, in particular, and technology in general – is agonizing. Also, anything involving trying it on, such as clothes shopping, so someone else can see “how it looks” on me is tantamount to torture.

6 . And on that note, they are more upset if they make a “bad” or “wrong” decision.
You know that uncomfortable feeling you get after you realize you’ve made a bad decision? For highly sensitive people, “that emotion is amplified because the emotional reactivity is higher.”

That’s the truth. I would never have purchased a house on my own, even if I had had the means, because the inevitable buyer’s remorse would have been too great.

7. They’re extremely detail-oriented.

Depends. I’ve noticed changes in lengths of traffic light patterns, but not my wife’s new hairdo. I remember numbers, but not people’s names. And by “remembers numbers,” I could tell you that Can’t Buy Me Love by the Beatles went from #27 to #1 in one week on the Billboard charts, without looking.

Still, I have a lot of stuff floating around in my head.

8. Not all highly sensitive people are introverts.
In fact, about 30 percent of highly sensitive people are extroverts.

I have fooled many people who think I’m an extrovert. Alone in a crowd happens rather often.

9. They work well in team environments.
Because highly sensitive people are such deep thinkers, they make valuable workers and members of teams.

Very true. Working alone, I’d get in my own way. I like to bounce ideas off others. The librarians I work with often share information; that’s why I’m a librarian in the first place, that collegiality of the profession.

Still, on most tasks, I like to know what is expected of me, and then left alone, unless I need help. Constant supervision – and I’ve had jobs like that – irks me.

My, this is going on too long. More next time.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. i hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

4 thoughts on “16 Habits Of Highly Sensitive People”

  1. Women get picked on as well for being sensitive. I internalize most of my sensitive comments. Then people wonder why I totally disappear.

    I asked them nicely and calmly that I can’t put up with their [insensitivity / really judgmental comments about myself or others / abusive behaviors]. I assume that getting upset about it will only make it worse.

  2. I think I’m a decent mix. Myer’s Briggs says I’m an ENFP (Extraverted iNtuitive Feeling Perceiving | Extraverted Intuition with Introverted Feeling), and supposedly around 7% of the population is ENFP.

  3. Roger, PULL YOURSELF UP BY YOUR BOOTSTRAPS!! How many times have you heard that? Well, they say it to women, too. Drives me bats. I tell them as nicely as possible, “A lot of us were born without bootstraps. Never take your own for granted.”

    We are all sensitive in this artistic community. If the world wants us all to “grow up,” “be a man,” (and I really feel for men on that one, since tears are a gift from God), “get over it,” or “stop dwelling on it/navel gazing”… in other words, if the world wants all us sensitive types to be more like “them,” they must hate art, music, poetry, dance, lively conversation, and spirited political discourse.

    In other words, “normal” is a big fat bore.

    And if they’re racist or homophobic, well… you know where to find that stuff on my blog, LOL. In fact, you last comment was quite clear on the subject!! amy

  4. I have never seen myself as especially sensitive. (Overly emotional, yes; but that’s a different house on the same block.) I do, however, qualify as detail-oriented. (I am very nearly a textbook Myers-Briggs INTJ.)

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