So, you think you might be a highly sensitive introvert?
You’re not alone.
So many people have discovered and come to terms with their innate way of being.
It’s not a flaw or defect. It’s how you are and there’s nothing wrong with it.
In a world that bases everything off of extroverted personalities and behaviors, us HSI’s need to embrace and educate ourselves about our unique traits so we can better coexist in a world that believes we should be people we’re not, or will never be.
What is a Highly Sensitive Introvert (HSI)?
A highly sensitive introvert or HSI, is someone who possesses traits of both an introvert and a highly sensitive person.
An introvert, a personality type discovered by psychologist Carl Jung in 1920, is someone who is focused mainly on internal thoughts, feelings, and moods instead of seeking stimulation externally.
They feel drained by surroundings and other stimuli like being in social, fast-paced, or noisy environments and need to spend time alone in solitude to recharge and feel like their best self; The opposite of an extrovert who gains energy from being around people and high-volumed social situations.
Introverts don’t like too much going on at once because this is too much to analyze, which is why they usually feel overwhelmed and anxious in crowds.
A highly sensitive person (or HSP) is defined by Elaine Aron in her book “The Highly Sensitive Person” as having "increased sensitivity to stimulation" and who "are more aware of subtleties and process information in a deeper, more reflective way."
They tend to get overwhelmed easily, pick up on other’s emotions and moods, daydream often, and startle easily.
Not all introverts are HSP and not all HSP’s are introverts
All introverts and HSPs are shy or have social anxiety
We’re socially awkward
We’re rude or hate people
We don’t like talking
We’re weirdos or difficult to talk to
We don’t have fun or don’t know how to have fun
We’re over-dramatic, cry-babies, or too sensitive
All of these are purely misunderstandings of our ingrained qualities and personality traits as an introvert and highly sensitive person.
Here are 10 signs You Might be a Highly Sensitive Introvert
#1 - People think you’re just shy or quiet
Most people don’t know what being highly sensitive or introverted is so they just assume you’re shy, quiet, not friendly, or socially awkward. People that are highly sensitive are more in tune with what’s going on around them and their feelings and emotions. HSI’s are more observers than anything else and like to sit back and take in the scene and conversations going on around them. They need less stimulation than most and are drained by socializing for long periods of time. They also don’t much care for small talk, so they rarely partake unless it’s a deep, meaningful conversation.
#2 - Too much going on at once leaves you frazzled and unfocused
When you have a lot going on at once you become overwhelmed, especially if you’re pressed for time. It feels like you might jump out of your skin or that it's the end of the world if you don’t get something done or make it to an appointment or commitment on time. Even instances when there’s a lot of commotion and chaos going on around you make you want to lose it.
#3 - Being around a lot of people zaps all of your energy
You may enjoy being around people for a duration of time or you may not enjoy it at all, but either way, it totally drains you of your energy and all you want is some time away to hide from everyone and everything to recharge your batteries. Most HSI’s don’t particularly like being around large groups of people, they usually prefer one-on-one meaningful conversations and interactions because too much interaction and things going on are overstimulating and overwhelming.
#4 - You enjoy (and need) peace and quiet
As mentioned in the previous sign, you need your peace and quiet to recharge. In fact, you NEED it to rejuvenate and feel like you’re “back to normal”. Sometimes we just need a break from everything and everyone, even our loved ones. Life and people are draining for HSI’s and it’s natural for you to want to shut off the world for some solitude to be silent, watch TV, read, or just go for a walk to calm your overstimulated system. It’s not always crazy, chaotic environments that make you want to retreat and refresh, it’s how you’re programmed and it’s essential for keeping your sanity and being able to be your best self regularly.
#5 - You get overly anxious and emotional often
Emotions, good and bad, come easily and naturally for you. You can go from 0 to 60 with a blink of an eye. It can be really difficult to calm yourself down if you’re feeling anxiety, fear, or anger. You can be totally happy and elated and then you can turn right around and want to heave a glass across the room if someone says the wrong thing or makes you mad.
#6 - Have trouble communicating and expressing themselves
A common struggle with HSI’s is being able to express your thoughts into words, especially when you feel you’re under pressure. The technical term is called “word retrieval” and has to do with your long-term memory. HSI’s tend to have trouble accessing that information, drawing a blank, or feeling like the word or what you want to say is on the tip of your tongue and usually need an association or “key” to unlock it.
Writing is usually easier for HSI’s to express themselves and have some time to process and get their thoughts out more effectively.
#7 - Can’t socialize for long periods of time
You have an expiration date for social interactions. If you’re more comfortable going out and hanging with people you’ll reach your limit before most people do and know it’s time to go home and recharge. If you’re not as comfortable you’re probably on E before you even get there and are completely and utterly wiped by the time you leave – a hardcore social hangover if you will.
#8 - You’re affected by other people’s moods
When you sense someone is upset or in a bad mood you can pick up on it immediately and it’s hard to let it not make you feel uncomfortable or get you down as well, especially those you’re closest to. As HSI’s we feel other people’s vibes and we can easily empathize with others. We can almost totally put ourselves in another person’s shoes and even feel their pain, fear, or anxiety – even people we don’t know personally and see on the news, TV shows, or movies.
#9 - Get easily offended and take things personally
What happens is you can internalize things that happen as something that is about you, that usually isn’t about you at all. HSI’s process things very deeply, even the most innocent of ones. A common thing is to play out scenarios in your head (which is usually worst case scenario) about someone talking about you, insulting you, or making fun of you and you begin to believe the entire thing happened and begin to get defensive and even annoyed and have found you worked yourself up into a tizzy. Even something like a friend not texting you back can send you into wondering what you said wrong or that they no longer want to be your friend and can’t stand you.
#10 - You feel like you need to be an extrovert with low-key feelings to be accepted
In a world that links extroverted traits to being “normal”, it can be hard to feel like you fit in or there’s not something wrong with you that needs to be fixed. Most people don’t relate to or understand qualities of introverts and highly sensitive people, and like most things in this world, if it’s foreign or not understood it’s wrong or weird. It’s true that some people will never get or understand it, and that’s fine because in reality you won’t understand the ways of some people either. You may always feel like an outcast ( I hope you don’t), but it’s important to remember that you are, in fact, not alone and there are many other’s who are just like you and feel the same way you do.
If you can nod your head and say YES to the majority of these traits listed, then you are most likely a highly sensitive introvert. Welcome!
So, are you ready to gain some clarity, let go of the baggage, embrace the special qualities that make you YOU and feel awesome about yourself in the process?
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