Life is full of difficulties, that’s for sure. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from; it won’t always be a smooth journey. However, when you have different qualities, that people don’t always understand, it can be so much more difficult.
I am defined as a “Highly Sensitive Extrovert,” which can make the way I act, how I behave, and my emotions seem pretty strange to other people. The idea of being highly sensitive and an extrovert often is seen as being mutually exclusive qualities. There are so many misconceptions revolving around that I wish that you could know a lot more about it. So here are the things I wish everybody knew about being a highly sensitive extrovert.
What is a highly sensitive extrovert?
I understand, it isn’t talked about much so just what is a highly sensitive extrovert? How do you spot one? How do you know if you are one, too? Highly sensitive people are often associated with people who are shy and introverted. But this assumption isn’t the case for everybody.
It is believed that around 30% of all highly sensitive people are in fact extroverts. Make no mistake, this doesn’t just mean that you talk a lot, and make friends quickly, it actually revolves around how we gain our energy, and how we choose to use it. For example, introverts like to spend time alone, they recharge in solitude and enjoy to spend their time and energy on solitude projects and activities.
Extroverts are the opposite, they loved spending time with other people, and gain their energy from interacting with people and being involved in numerous events. The truth is, everybody is a mix of an introvert and an extrovert, some are just a bit more extreme than others.
Being highly sensitive can cause issues for both introverts and extroverts. For an extrovert, like myself, it can be tough not to feel overwhelmed with social activities. Especially since I feel everything so deeply. I’ve very often been accused of being too sensitive, and get told I overreact countless times. It’s almost like, I brought this upon myself by wanting to be around people 24/7, so I shouldn’t take things too seriously? I wish it was that easy.
Social events can exhaust me
Yes, I always want to be invited, I like to mingle, and make memories. However, feeling every single bit of sensory information, and other people’s emotions can totally drain me. I need time to recover from the social stimulation, I need to regain my balance after an inspiring event, and I shouldn’t be questioned about doing this.
One way that I have dealt with this is by scheduling downtime, between the hecticness of the social activities. Truth be told, I don’t get enough sleep a lot of the time, and to avoid being wholly saturated with stimulation, I need to take naps, walk alone, and meditate. Please, don’t question these coping mechanisms.
I actually lack a bit of confidence
As an extroverted person, many people will just assume that I’m swimming around with tons of confidence. Honestly, this is another misconception of extroverts in general. However, as a highly sensitive extrovert, the idea that I’m confident couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’m sensitive about everything, which means that my confidence can dip at times when I’m feeling really sensitive. This is definitely something that I have to work on myself, for myself. A little thing you can do is not assume that I will want to walk into somewhere first, or that I’ll be fine in every situation. This just isn’t the case.
Being hangry is a real thing
I get so incredibly irritable when I’m hungry, and people often assume that I’m being childish or spoilt. Honestly, I can get so irate, when I haven’t eaten much. It’s tough for me to tolerate. As an extrovert, this can be even harder for me to deal with. My need to hang around with people, but my sudden mood drop when I’m hungry means that most people assume that I’m being unnecessarily grumpy. I wish people knew that my bad mood has nothing to do with them, it’s entirely out of my control.
I still need alone time
When you identify someone as an extrovert, you might find it strange when they stop answering messages or miss an event. This might make you worry, or it might make you believe you did something wrong. I can’t fault you checking up on your friends. Always make sure they’re okay. However, if you result in shaming somebody for missing a party, or forcing them to attend, that could do a little bit more damage. Personally, I just need a little bit of a break, and then I’ll be completely fine.
My emotions aren’t a sign of weakness
I tear up in museums. I find it hard to concentrate. I avoid horror films. I have insanely deep thoughts about life. That is me. Many people associate these traits with some kind of weakness. Like, I can’t do a job as well as others, or I can’t handle situations as well. This ultimately isn’t true. Yes, I might cry at a commercial. Yes, I might get overwhelmed when clothing is uncomfortable. Yes, if you show me a video of violence, I will become really unsettled. This doesn’t make me weak; this just makes me sensitive. I’m strong willed and incredibly stable. Never overlook that.
I’m constantly learning
If you think I’m overthinking something, it’s usually because I am. As a highly sensitive person, I am continually learning new things, looking for ways to better understand situations, and please other people. This can seem a little strange to others, but it’s definitely how I cope with the overwhelming surroundings. This is something that can really conflict with my extroverted personality. As I’m constantly doing things, meeting new people, and attending new events, my brain can put in overtime shifts quite a lot. Again, this stresses the importance of my need to be alone, so I can recharge and soak up all the information.
I really hate being alone, though
As much as I need downtime, being alone for too long is something I really can’t stand. There have been work and study situations, which have forced me to spend too much time alone which felt so unnatural to me. I love being around people, and I get terrible FOMO (fear of missing out) a lot. I often get asked about why I’m always busy, why I never do things alone, why I’ve never solo traveled, etc…. My honest answer to this is because I really hate being alone.
Just like introverts would rather sit inside, on their own. I would much rather be with my friends or family. Even things like reading books transforms into a book club, watching a movie turns into a cinema trip, and a quiet night in leads to a night of partying.
I’m my own worst critic
I’m prone to self-doubt, rumination, and giving myself critical comments. I hold onto embarrassing moments for far longer than I should, I hate being evaluated, and I get embarrassed super easily.
If I’m trying out something new and challenging, I hate to be watched or asked about it. This is out of fear that I’ll make a fool of myself, or fail. It’s quite strange; I support all my friends on new conquers, and give them nothing but support if things don’t go their way. I can’t give myself this same kind of treatment, though. This has turned me into a perfectionist. I’m sorry if this is a little bit annoying at times.
Creativity is an escapism
I really love being creative. It keeps me grounded, helps me work off a bit of my extra energy, and adds a positive experience to my schedule. I like to paint, write, and design. Many of my highly sensitive extroverts enjoy performing, or script writing. It’s almost like a coping mechanism for us. It’s a way we can put all our feelings out into the world, without just screaming into a pillow. As extroverts, it has to be something a little be extra, doesn’t it?
I hope this helps you come to terms with your own highly sensitive extroverted personality or can help you understand how to deal with the HSP extroverts in your life. Our entire behavior can seem like a juxtaposition in itself, making it that much harder to express how we feel, why we act in certain ways, and why we aren’t understood that easily. Of course, I won’t apologize for being the way I am; being highly sensitive and an extrovert also has its upsides, and I would never change.
Daniela McVicker is a psychologist and family counselor. She is also a freelance writer and a contributor to TopWritersReview. Her passion is writing about leading a healthy family life and helping people enjoy their lives to the fullest.