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What It's Actually Like To Be Really Sensitive

I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying.

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1. Being sensitive means more than just being over-emotional.

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Yeah, emotions have a lot to do with it, but it's also about how we observe and interact with the world.

2. We feel things really deeply, meaning all our emotional reactions are amplified, like, x1000.

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3. Whether that means getting REALLY EXCITED about happy things.

4. Or DEVASTATED by bad things.

5. And yeah, OK, we do cry easily.

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Over lots of things. Happy things, sad things, dumb things, things with dramatic music, car insurance commercials, WHATEVER.

6. But actually, being a Highly Sensitive Person is a thing that exists.

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Roughly 20 percent of people are actually biologically wired to be more sensitive and responsive to the world around them — and that manifests in so many different ways. The trait was originally researched by psychotherapist Elaine Aron, Ph.D., who went on to write The Highly Sensitive Person, which is pretty much the original handbook to HSPs. You can find out more about it here.

7. Both men and women can possess this trait.

It's pretty much half and half actually, according to The Highly Sensitive Person.

8. Being sensitive =/= being weak.

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Plenty of people are (rightfully) super proud of the intuition, empathy, and emotional intelligence that comes with being sensitive, even if those things aren't typically associated with ~strength~. Which, ugh.

9. Please don't tell us that we shouldn't take things so personally. Because we might anyway.

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Unfortunately, that's just a side effect of having all these emotions. (But we do try — it just doesn't always work.)

10. Sometimes we like to check in about how you're feeling about us. Just to make sure.

11. We're not necessarily introverts, but we're definitely comfortable being alone and daydreaming.


Plug us into a good playlist, put us on a moving vehicle, and give us a window to stare out of, and we can be good for hours. Rich inner lives, ftw.

12. You'll probably think we take art, music, and entertainment way too seriously.

What do you mean you don't want to read my 17-page meta about Sansa Stark? WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY'RE FICTIONAL CHARACTERS???

13. We might react with emotions first, because we can't just turn them off.

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That means that sometimes our first reaction to something is a tad irrational. But we'll get around to logic in a moment, don't worry.

14. Your mood will become our mood, because we kind of absorb your energy like emotional chameleons.

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So you'll always have someone to commiserate with!

15. And if something bad happens to you, it feels like it happened to us, too.

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We're not trying to steal your thunder. WE JUST CARE A LOT.

16. Sometimes the world gets a little overwhelming, so we need to withdraw for a bit.

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Don't be worried or offended if you don't hear from us for a few days. We'll just be over here recovering from sensory overload.

17. It might take us a long time to make a decision, because accidentally making a "bad" or "wrong" one is pretty devastating.

18. We tend to startle easily.


So you prooobably don't want to sneak up on us.

19. And no, we don't want to watch that violent TV show with you even if the story is really, really good.

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Just. We don't handle it well, the violence thing.

20. You might think we're chronic complainers because we're super observant.

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Other times though, yeah, we might be complaining. Particularly about loud noises or bright lights.

21. It's hard to hear criticism, but that doesn't mean we can't handle it.

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And we like to think if we provide criticism, it's pretty helpful, because we pay close attention to detail.

22. If we have to do a lot in a short period of time, we can get super frazzled.

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Please excuse our brief freakout. OK, let's do this.

23. And it's distracting and nerve-racking as hell to be watched while we're working.

People who hover are THE WORST.

24. Telling us to ~let it go~ when we're not ready isn't really helpful.

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We fixate and ruminate and we KNOW it's bad, but sometimes we just need to stew without being judged for a bit.

25. Since we have so many feelings of our own, we're also really good at respecting and understanding yours.

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26. We tend to crave deep connections, so don't be freaked out if we skip the small talk and ask you personal questions.

how easy do you think it would be for us to rob a bank right now and are you willing to go in first

do you think of yourself as more of a temperate woodland squirrel or a bushy mountain squirrel

how many goldfish are you personally responsible for murdering

We just want to get to know you.

27. You don't need to coddle us or anything. In fact, please don't.

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Just respect us and our sensitive ways.