10 Important Things to Know About Loving a Highly Sensitive Person

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Highly sensitive people love to love. So we tend to attract relationships in our lives with relative ease. And there is a lot of good we bring to those relationships (whether romantic or platonic). But buyer beware…if you have attracted an HSP into your life…you might want to know just what you’re getting into.

1.I feel things deeply. Think OCEAN deep.

It’s not unheard of for a highly sensitive person to be misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder. And there are reasons for that. Highly sensitive people tend to have a wide spectrum of emotions they are open to. Think of it this way. If we were to create a scale from 1 – 10 (1 being extremely depressed and 10 being exuberant) the average person might spend most of their time between a 3 and an 8. Occasionally, perhaps a striking event kicks them into the extremes. A death in the family might trigger a deep melancholy. A promotion at work might provide a jolt of excitement. But after some time, the average person will gravitate back to the center. Highly sensitive people seem to have a wider spectrum. I can’t speak for all HSP, but speaking for myself, I feel as though my emotions are regularly vacillating between a 1 and a 10. A documentary on the holocaust can stir immense pain. A story about a dog running into the fire to save his family member can touch me deeply…triggering immense joy and hope.

The upside to this that those I am with often find me in a place where I am expressing gratitude for all the small things they do for me. I express joy with ease. I have no qualms with being open and vulnerable with you. The downside is that it can be EXHAUSTING. Be prepared for waterworks when an argument has gone down between us. Be ready to see me get overwhelmed easily when I haven’t gotten rest and haven’t had an opportunity to recharge.

2.It can just really suck when I’m tired, angry, hungry or depressed.

I saw a bumper sticker, once, that read “I’m sorry about what I said when I was hungry.” If you know someone who is highly sensitive, you probably know exactly why that bumper sticker exists. If I am hungry and my blood sugar is dropping…look out! Be prepared to face a toddler disguised within a grown-ups body.

3.I need a lot of time to myself to recharge

To keep me from tearing up and throwing food tantrums…one of the best things I can do is recharge. What does that mean? I think it varies from person to person. But for me – it means having time I can spend in nature. It means time spent in movement (so that I can get out of my head). It requires that I retreat from people and events. In the silence, I can hear my own voice. And when I connect to that, I can better communicate with you.

4.But that means I’m pretty good at giving you your space, too.

Because the time I spend alone is so vital to me, I always rejoice when another takes that time for themselves. If you need time to play a computer game, read a book, watch grass grow…whatever…you will almost always have my unconditional support.

5.I need deep connections with the people I have in my life.

One snag with the whole “providing space” thing…I may be willing to give you time alone. But in compensation…during the time we are together…I want deep connection. I need to know you’re not just willing to accept all my quirks and oddities. I need to know that you are going to embrace them. I want to know all about what makes you tick. I want you to be as willing to be vulnerable with me as I am perpetually willing to be with you. And that’s not easy for a lot of people. I may not need a lot of quantity time with you…but I absolutely need quality time with you.

6.I pick up subtle nuances in social situations

Okay…this one is definitely a tricky one. I have a knack for picking up social cues and knowing what different people need and when. I’m far from perfect…but I tend to do a fairly decent job. The only problem with this is that I sometimes read into things that really weren’t there. An odd look on your face might have simply been due to a strange smell…but I might easily think it was because it was something I said.

7.I am good at meeting the needs of others.

Being aware of those subtle nuances helps me to better meet others’ needs. I can tell when you’re tired and need rest. I can tell when you’re feeling sad and need an ear. I really show up for you when you need someone to do so. I can see when your body is tensing and needs to be massaged. And I can tell when YOU are hungry and need something to eat. If I love you, I will go to the ends of the earth for you.

8.I’m just not always good at asking for help meeting mine.

While I might be good at jumping in to help you …I’m not so good at asking for your help. I can’t tell if this is a universal trait, or a trait of those HSP’s that I happen to have befriended. But it’s a thing. I think I just spent so much of my time trying to prove that just because I am sensitive doesn’t mean I am weak that I learned not to ask for help. I wanted to appear strong.  If you see me struggling, one of the best things you can do is stay curious. Ask me “hey…do you need help?” The answer might be “yes.” I just didn’t realize it.

9.If I have had a cup of coffee…look out!

It’s not just coffee. Sugar. Caffeine. Alcohol. I am sensitive to ALL of it. When I drink coffee, I have to limit myself to no more than one SHOT of it. Not a shot of espresso. I mean a shot of coffee. One beer is a party. One cupcake is a sugar rush. Seriously.

  1. My sensitive nature drives me to want to help people. But often the very professions that are designed to help others can be taxing to me.

It’s annoying even for me….I can imagine its gotta be worse for you. HSP tend to be particularly preoccupied with finding work that is meaningful. And when we find it, we pour our all into it. At least, I do. I’m conscientious. I want to help others. I want to do my absolute best. That can make me a bit of a yes-man. So I occasionally fall into the pattern of getting excited about work…and I say yes to ALL of it. Then I get overwhelmed. Then I get tired and weepy. It’s something I’m working on. For example…HSP tend to make great entrepreneurs. We enjoy the flexibility of our schedules. We enjoy working as our own boss. We are conscientious and pay attention to the details. We just sometimes forget to say “no” when we really should and draw boundaries for ourselves. Eventually we get tired and cranky. And as I’ve already mentioned…we really aren’t fun when we are tired and cranky.

At the end of the day, we are a basically loveable bunch. I’d like to think we bring more to the table than we take. But I’ll be the first to admit that we are intense and we do require a bit of maintenance. I will love you fiercely. But I will test your patience. Either way, I can promise you that I’ll be sure to keep things interesting.

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