As highly sensitive introverts we’re programmed in a way that makes people and social encounters overstimulating and energy draining – usually during prolonged periods, but some may feel it in general.
Why Highly Sensitive Introverts Need Personal Space
Highly Sensitive Introvert's energy is drained from being around people, mainly larger groups, and require time alone in peace and quiet to recharge.
This is the opposite of an extrovert who gains energy from people and social situations.
Let me just point out that there is nothing wrong with either one, but the problem lies when one person doesn’t get or understand the other’s need for, or lack of, personal space. It’s important to remember that personal space means something different to everyone.
While an extroverts personal space may involve time hanging out with friends and others, an introvert usually prefers being home alone doing something that relaxes them and allows them to unwind like reading, writing, taking a nap, or watching TV.
Introverts and highly sensitive people think and deal with things internally; Our brains process things so deeply that it’s exhausting and that means we need breaks. This doesn’t necessarily mean we’re withdrawing, we just need a little space to go over and let something marinate before we react or make decisions.
It’s more productive to out some time and energy into making this known to others, or they will not get it or understand it.
Highly Sensitive People and Relationships
When we’re in close relationships with others–whether with friends, family, or significant others–communication needs to be made so there’s a mutual understanding that we each process things very differently and that may require and need to retreat for a bit to recharge.
Up until I realized I was an HSI I just thought I was very sensitive, got offended easily and was a loner (who enjoyed it for the most part). I thought there was something wrong with me and I needed to be fixed. People would tell me I was being too shy, too dramatic, too sensitive, and I needed to get over it and be more social.
No one understood, especially me.
I finally made the connection and began to understand more and more about my personality type and that it was OK to feel and be the way that I am. But, I also realized that most people have no idea what an HSP is or even what an introvert it, so I take the time to explain to the people in my life I have relationships with what my needs are–instead of trying to hide it, be something I’m not or just pray they’ll wind up figuring it out (this never happens).
Co-Existing with Others as a Highly Sensitive Introvert
Both sides need to make an effort to honor and accept each other’s individual needs, instead of making the other person feel bad for the way they are or trying to change them. There are ways to co-exist and maintain healthy relationships without forcing change on another person (which will never end well).
Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and place for compromise and reaching a common ground when you’re in a relationship with someone who has the opposite personality type than you do, but there’s no need to make a loved one (or them make you) feel bad for wanting some space to rejuvenate.
Communication is key. Giving yourself space to open up and help other's understand your needs is not selfish, it's the most effective way to create a common ground between each other. This way you both have a clearer understanding of each other and are better able to out in the effort to make each other comfortable and happy.
Introverts need personal space and alone time and extroverts usually don't. Discuss ways you both can cater to each other's needs without making the other feel excluded, neglected or wrong for how they feel or what they need.
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