Sensitive individuals sometimes get a bad reputation for wearing their emotions on their sleeves.
However, there’s more to the personality type than just a bucket full of tears. Being a highly sensitive person also means having higher levels of intuition and empathy. Nearly 20 percent of people have the trait, according to experts.
Like most personality characteristics, knowledge of a highly sensitive person’s quirks makes them easier to understand ― and that includes their eccentricities and dislikes. Some modes of behavior and personal preferences just don’t sit well with them.
Below are a few things that just don’t make sense to a sensitive person:
1. Holding it together when you’re emotional.
Highly sensitive individuals are prone to frequent crying, but not because they’re fragile. It doesn’t matter if they’re happy, sad, angry or moved ― if they feel an emotion, they’re likely shedding tears over it. This trait is something they’re often shamed for but it’s actually a habit that’s rarely in their control: HSPs feel more deeply, according to research, and then react accordingly.
2. Pen clicking.
Loud or repetitive noises are the worst. Highly sensitive individuals are easily overstimulated by their environments, making those sounds extra frustrating, HSP researcher Elaine Aron previously told HuffPost.
HSPs typically rank high in conscientiousness, according to Aron. But that means more than doling out a few “pleases” and “thank yous.” Sensitive individuals are more in-tune to when they may be inconveniencing someone ( so you’ll rarely see a HSP get on the subway before everyone has a chance to exit.) They also are more likely to notice when someone isn’t exhibiting good manners.
4. Seeing a horror movie “for fun.”
Want to see a slasher film this weekend? Hard pass from a HSP. Sensitive people are also incredibly empathetic, which means they can often envision themselves in the shoes of a another human being, according to Aron and her research. Because of that, flicks with violence may not be their favorite thing.
5. That whole “constructive criticism” thing.
A sensitive person may reflect on a critique or stern email from their boss longer than most. HSPs find criticism incredibly distressing and internalize it more frequently than their less-sensitive counterparts.
6. Easily making a decision.
It doesn’t matter if it’s choosing a restaurant or making a career change. Every choice feels like it comes with the weight of the world. HSPs have a tendency to stress over making a decision because they’re fearful that they’ll make the wrong one, Aron said.
7. Group workout classes.
Sensitive individuals generally favor exercising solo, according to Ted Zeff, author of The Highly Sensitive Person’s Survival Guide. Zumba classes are not a HSP’s a cup of tea because they fear that their every move may be scrutinized.
8. Saying a tattoo “didn’t hurt at all.”
A shot at the doctor’s office may as well be a form of torture. Or a stubbed toe, for that matter. Aron’s research shows that highly sensitive people are more affected by pain than others.
9. Having to be told that someone’s upset.
Sensitive folks are observant to change, whether it’s a person’s mood or a new accoutrement in their best friend’s living room. This is because they’re more likely to pick up subtle shifts in their environment and they’re more affected by other people’s emotions. (In other words, if you switch to using a period instead of an exclamation point in your texts, they’ll notice.)
10. Saying “sensitive” like it’s a bad quality.
HSPs are called a lot of things: Too intense. Too weak. Too, well, sensitive. But research shows they can’t help themselves. Studies show highly sensitive people are actually biologically wired to be the way that they are. And honestly? They wouldn’t change it for anything.