Being a highly sensitive extrovert often means living a life of opposites.
Highly sensitive extroverts are caring, kind, and generous. Like all highly sensitive people, they’re born with the superpower of noticing subtleties and processing information deeply. But, while some highly sensitive people (HSPs) appear quiet or reserved, a highly sensitive extrovert thrives on socializing and actually gains energy from being in an exciting social environment.
The challenge? Walking the razor-thin tightrope between getting the social time they crave but also avoiding overwhelm.
Research suggests that only 30 percent of highly sensitive people are extroverts. That puts this unique group at 6 percent (or less) of the entire population! As a minority, it’s no surprise that they’re often misunderstood.
Do you ever question whether you’re an introvert or extrovert — or crave social time but then find yourself exhausted? If you relate to these signs, chances are you’re an extroverted HSP.
Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Extrovert
1. You get both overstimulated and lonely.
How many people have sat at home, desperately craving both quiet time and someone to talk to? You!
Being a highly sensitive person who’s also an extrovert means living a life of opposites: the desire for stimulation, and the overwhelm of getting too much of it. Your HSP wiring needs that quiet time, but sometimes, every hour spent alone feels like a lost opportunity… and a lack of the social connection you desperately crave.
2. You notice the little things — and you use them to make people smile.
Every HSP is blessed with the ability to notice tiny details that others miss. This can come in handy in a lot of ways, but your preferred use of this gift is remembering personal details like someone’s favorite treat or color, or introducing them to others who have the same vibe as them. People describe you as both “thoughtful” and “a good gift-giver.”
3. You’ve questioned whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.
Some people just “know.” Others decide they must be an ambivert because they identify with a little of both. For you, it’s always been somewhat of a mystery. You love people and new experiences, but you seem to have a low limit compared to other extroverts — or you need a lot of “me” time.
You’re not crazy! This is completely normal for a highly sensitive extrovert. You get the same feeling of fulfillment from the external world as any extrovert does, but since your brain and nervous system process much more information about it, it can quickly wear you out.
4. You actually love working in a group.
While introverts can be team players, most of them do their best work when they can focus on it alone. You, however, are the opposite — you relish the engagement and collaboration of working in a group (even if you can only do it in short doses).
5. You have a small but super-close group of friends.
Often, having a small circle of friends is taken as the hallmark of an introvert. But for you, it’s not just about preferring “depth” over “breadth.”
You’re extremely sensitive to the emotions and attitudes people bring, and you know that your caring, generous nature can easily be taken advantage of by toxic individuals. The people who are closest to you are the ones who’ve proven again and again that they’re there for you just as much as you are there for them. So, even if you end up with a large friend network, you often spend lots of time with just the same few people — the ones who actually “get” you.
6. There’s such a thing as “too much” time in your inner world.
As much as you love alone time, you can’t take too much of it. Spending too long in your inner world leaves you feeling tired, restless, or even depressed — and disconnected from the things you care about. There’s a good reason why: Extroverts feel rewarded by the external world, and not getting enough of it will leave you feeling unmotivated and lost.
7. You crave novel experiences.
Many HSPs benefit from routine, but for you, you need regular doses of things that are new and different. Sure, big changes can still be hard for you, but you also enjoy the sense of discovery of a new place, acquaintance, or experience. Going out to the same venue with the same people every week probably won’t do it for you.
8. You enjoy going out on your own.
A lot of people think there’s no point in going to a restaurant or show if you’re on your own. You couldn’t disagree more. For you, even walking around a neighborhood on your own is fun because of the sense of exploration and new surroundings; heading to the movies or a new cafe is just as much fun or more.
In fact, these solo outings can be ideal, because you’re in total control of how much stimulation you deal with and what the plan is. And you actually like talking to strangers — however, it has to be on your own terms, and you’re just as likely to absorb people’s emotions as any other HSP (which can be exhausting).
9. Other people describe you as wise.
Perceptive and intuitive, HSPs often become the go-to therapists and advice-givers of their office, family, or friend group. This is perhaps even more true of highly sensitive extroverts, who connect easily with others. Yes, all that reflection, noticing of subtleties, and feeling things deeply — coupled with your extroverted desire to meet others and try new things — pays off in wisdom beyond your years.
10. You have a “loading bar” when you arrive somewhere new.
Extrovert or not, arriving at a new space can bring a flood of sensations for any HSP. You’re taking in the colors, the sounds, the echoey size of the room, the music — and above all, the feelings that are swirling around that place. Your desire to explore and interact almost seems to have a “loading bar” when you first walk in.
11. You switch suddenly from “outgoing” to “crashed.”
When you feel comfortable with a group of people, you may seem like a social butterfly or even the star of the show, moving from person to person and activity to activity. But the whole time, your nervous system is processing far more information than a less sensitive extrovert — even if you don’t know it. In stimulating environments, you hit a point where you go suddenly from “this is fun” to a complete power-down.
You’ve learned to prevent this by not overdoing things, but sometimes you get caught up in the moment. And when you start to crash, you know you need to leave immediately — or find somewhere quiet and safe to relax.
12. You’re the “bright star” of your family or friend group.
You shine brightly because you easily connect with almost anyone. Caring and kind, you read people well, and intuitively grasp others’ moods and mental states — and even the things that go unsaid. You can handle yourself in almost any social situation, and people like being around you, because you’re empathetic, understanding, and open. Unlike some other extroverts, who dominate the conversation or make things all about them, you know when to push forward and when to pull back, because you see what’s going on for others.
13. It’s hard for you to predict which plans will make you happy.
When you look forward to going out, you might find that you’re already too overwhelmed that day. When you look forward to saying in, you may find that you regret passing up an invite. Since your extroversion is constant, but your energy level depends on how overstimulated you currently are, it’s hard for you to say whether you’re up for something a week in the future.
Are You a Highly Sensitive Extrovert?
If you’re a highly sensitive extrovert, you know that it can be both a blessing and a curse. But rest assured that you’re not alone, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you. The world needs your kindness, your wisdom, and most of all, your caring spirit.
You might like:
- 13 Signs That You’re an Empath
- Why HSPs Get Mentally and Emotionally ‘Flooded’
- How Unhealed Trauma Affects Highly Sensitive People
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