Highly Sensitive Refuge
a highly sensitive extrovert boy

12 Signs Your Child Is a Highly Sensitive Extrovert

All the kids are backstage, made up and ready to go on. The director announces, “It’s a full house!” All the kids nervously groan — except mine.

My daughter is an extreme extrovert. She loves being on stage. She’s been on it since she was four, and she never gets nervous. In fact, when the director announced that it was a full house, she cheered. According to her, the more people watching, the better. Personally, I generally join the rest of the population who rank public speaking as their number one phobia. This is one of her superpowers.

My daughter is also a highly sensitive person. It’s a common misconception that highly sensitive people are shy or introverts. In her research, Dr. Elaine Aron, author of The Highly Sensitive Person, found that 30 percent of HSPs are actually extroverts.

Could your child be one of them?

Signs Your Child Is a Highly Sensitive Extrovert

Here are 12 signs that your child is a highly sensitive extrovert:

  1. Despite being an “outward” personality, your child is a deep thinker. They have profound thoughts and big ideas, often surprising you with wisdom beyond their years.
  2. Your child is very social. They rarely turn down a chance to be with friends.
  3. They have a kind heart. Adults describe them as “gentle” and “empathetic to others.”
  4. They’re extremely observant. They notice little details about people, art, music, or the world that others may miss.
  5. They always want to go to social events. They seem to get energized while out and about with people.
  6. Nevertheless, similar to introverts, they need solitude to recharge. After a busy day, your child needs alone time or a nap.
  7. However, your child doesn’t prefer to be alone. They become bored, tired, or even feel a bit depressed if alone for long (even if they need that alone time to recharge!).
  8. They’re often engaged in new, interesting, creative activities — especially when they take place outside the home and involve others.
  9. When out, they often spark up conversations with others. They’ll even interact with strangers, and they’re happy, smiling, open, and engaging.
  10. Your child easily makes new friends.
  11. Your child loves working in a group or team.
  12. Your child is emotional. They feel things deeply and care deeply about others and the world at large.

If your child fits a lot of these signs, they’re likely a highly sensitive extrovert.

The Superpowers of the Extroverted HSP

Being a highly sensitive person is a perfectly normal, healthy trait, and one that up to 20 percent of the population shares. Although it can be challenging at times to raise a child who feels and processes things deeply, this trait also comes with a lot of advantages. Here are four superpowers of the extroverted HSP:

Make Friends Easily

Wherever we go, my daughter makes friends in seconds. She makes each new friend feel special, and it’s not hard to see why they enjoy her company. Her bubbly, extroverted personality makes her great to be around, and her HSP awareness of feelings means she’s kind and shows empathy. Extroverted HSPs can build rapport quickly, tuning in to people and getting on with them at their level — easily adjusting the way they interact with others depending on their age, interests, personality, and mood.

And they make great friends too! Their HSP side is reflective and empathetic. And because they feel emotions so deeply, when you’re loved by an HSP, you really are loved! And an extroverted HSP will let you know it!

Talk with your child about their friends, as they will be a very valued part of their lives.

Compassionate Activists

Extroverted HSPs often get very passionate about a particular cause — they will think deeply about human rights or feel strongly about animal cruelty or damage to the environment. News items or documentaries about these types of issues tend to affect HSPs deeply. And with the outgoing nature of an extrovert — people are going to hear about it!

Encourage your child to think about a cause they want to support and help them come up with an action plan of how they can contribute or promote it.

Natural Ability to Perform Creatively

The highly sensitive person’s ability to notice things others don’t makes it easier for them to imitate others or develop characters. Being able to pick up on subtle body language, quirks, and mannerisms makes for effective acting (i.e., my daughter on stage before a packed house). Add to that the highly sensitive person’s extreme awareness of feelings, and you’ve got a powerful combination. HSPs who are introverted can obviously be actors, entertainers, and performers too (and many are), but the added extroversion brings a confidence that makes it very easy for these children to enjoy the stage.

If your child shows an interest, encourage drama classes or any opportunities to act, dance, perform, or sing.

Handle Crowds and Parties With a Little More Ease

In general, HSPs tend not to handle crowded spaces or parties all that well, but the more extroverted they are, the easier it is. Some even thrive on it! They might start planning their own parties and events, and with their tuned-in HSP side, they’re great at thinking about what their guests will enjoy and how to make them comfortable. My daughter started planning her own parties at age 11!

But remember, even if they really want to, planning a party will probably be overwhelming for an HSP at some point, and they’ll need your support to handle this — it’s a good opportunity to learn stress management. After any busy event, even extroverted HSP kids need quite a bit of downtime. But don’t expect them to go to bed easily that night — they might be far too overstimulated to sleep!

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