Highly sensitive people are easy to love and easy to live with—as long as you understand our unique needs.
They say we can’t help who we fall in love with, which I think is true. So you may very well fall in love with a highly sensitive person (HSP). After all, up to 30 percent of the population is an HSP, so that’s about a 1 in 3 chance of meeting one.
And if you’re not one yourself, there may be a period of adjustment. You may wonder why they’re more emotional than you are. Or why they take on others’ feelings and emotions as their own. Or how they’re so intuitive…
Although I’m not a highly sensitive person, I have a family member who is and have learned a lot about HSPs in the process.
Here are key things you should know if you fall in love with a highly sensitive person. Understanding them better will help you communicate with them more effectively, and strengthen your connection, as well. Of course, these may not all apply in every romantic relationship, but they’re a good blueprint. So let’s get started.
15 Things to Know if You Fall in Love a Highly Sensitive Person
1. They’re naturally empathic (toward you and others).
In my experience, people seem to be drawn to sensitive people — they have an aura of compassion and understanding, and this makes others flock to them. They are naturally caring and also go above and beyond to make others feel comfortable, seen, and heard. (You can even see it in their body language, eyes, and expressions.) You not only appreciate how they’re there for others, but also there for you.
2. They wear their heart on their sleeve and are all-in.
HSPs love hard — they’re so highly attuned with their nervous system that they feel emotions in a very real and complex way. They love differently than others do, putting their heart and soul into every gesture, word, and action — you won’t have to guess how they’re feeling. And this can all take a little getting used to. That being said, they are loyal, notice every little detail, and rarely miss the opportunity to give gifts and celebrate special occasions. No matter what they do, they give 100 percent (or more).
3. They avoid arguments and confrontation.
Sensitive souls know all too well how insults can hurt, so they’re not likely to dole them out. And because they don’t love conflict, give them the time and distance necessary to think things through rather than trying to discuss a contentious topic on the spot.
4. They are easily overstimulated and overwhelmed.
Because highly sensitive people respond to stimuli more intensely than others, they are easily overstimulated and overwhelmed. They prefer low-key environments where the lights aren’t too bright and the ambience isn’t too loud. They usually don’t enjoy going to clubs, house parties, or packed concerts. For a highly sensitive person, a quiet dinner with close friends, a trip to the museum, or a long walk in the forest is more their style.
5. They take on others’ moods (for better or worse).
Although it is admirable how HSPs can easily take on others’ emotions and feelings — if you’re happy, they’ll feel your happiness and joy — it also works the other way around. If they encounter someone in a not-so-great mood, they may take on those emotions, too… and bring them home with them. So before you think you’re responsible for their off mood, talk to them to see who (or what) may have triggered it. (Then again, they may just want to spend some time alone and not talk about it, so assess the situation and proceed accordingly.)
6. They need pockets of downtime and alone time.
Since HSPs get overstimulated more than others, it catches up with them — which is where alone time comes in. They need it to decompress and recharge. And once their emotional battery is charged, they are ready to face the world again.
7. They are creative and purpose-driven.
When it comes to their life passions, highly sensitive people tend to be very driven in pursuing them. They’ll give something their all, whether it’s a personal endeavor or a topic you’re discussing that they’re passionate about. And they’re usually creative, too, whether it’s for work, a personal hobby, or even the way they decorate their home.
8. They sometimes struggle with making decisions.
Making decisions can be a challenge for HSPs. They weigh their choices over and over again to ensure they’re making the best one. While this might seem a bit wishy-washy or indecisive, I think it’s due to their highly analytical mind. They understand that the choices they make have consequences, and they don’t want to make the wrong decision. Time anxiety is a thing for HSPs, too, so it’s best not to rush or pressure them into doing something until they’ve thought it through completely.
9. They can be hard on themselves.
When a sensitive person makes a mistake or realizes they have done something wrong, they are the first ones to call themselves out on it because they truly do feel bad about their actions. Even though they are empathetic toward others, they can be their own worst critic — this is because they aim for perfection in all that they do. Hence, they might be incredibly hard on themselves.
Like what you’re reading? Get our newsletter just for HSPs. One email, every Friday. Click here to subscribe!
10. They are very self-aware and will learn from every situation (good or bad).
Many people think that highly sensitive people take things too personally, but so what? With all the feelings and overstimulation bouncing around in their heads at any given moment, you would, too. That said, if someone betrays them, it can be incredibly hard for an HSP to just shake it off and move on. Although they are gracious enough to forgive others, they also know when to instill boundaries (even if it may be difficult). The plus side is, they learn from every situation, both good and bad, so that they can avoid repeating past mistakes.
11. They have a hard time with criticism.
Constructive criticism can hurt HSPs, even if it’s well-intended. So before you give them feedback on something — whether it’s about a work issue they shared with you or the way they load the dishwasher — be mindful of how you speak. This doesn’t mean that you can never voice your opinions or concerns, especially since relationships are all about communication. But just keep in mind that your partner may be more sensitive or reactive than you’d be in a given situation.
12. They’re great listeners and truly hear what you have to say (instead of politely smiling and nodding).
Loving a highly sensitive person means you have someone who will truly listen — actively listen — and pay attention to every single word you say. You will be amazed when they remember the important things, as well as the little things. However, they do remember everything, so keep that in mind. (Don’t try to pull a fast one!) Think of it like this: When you’re dealing with a sensitive person, you are dealing with a human audio recorder.
13. They’re highly intuitive when it comes to your emotions.
Highly sensitive people are very observant. They not only pick up on verbal cues, but nonverbal ones, as well. So being in a relationship with an HSP means they will be able to intuit your feelings and thoughts (as much as you may try to hide them). You won’t be able to keep secrets from them either — they’ll sense things going on deep beneath the surface. Similarly, they also need transparency and trust in a relationship in order to make it work. Hence, remaining honest and open is key.
14. They often have a hard time falling asleep.
You might say that HSPs are natural insomniacs. Because their minds run thousands of miles a minute, highly sensitive people often have a hard time falling asleep at night. They tend to think, overthink, and worry about things quite a bit, so creating a peaceful environment at night can do wonders for their insomnia. Creating an HSP sanctuary is a good first step. Plus, they need more sleep than non-HSPs, so it’s important for them to find a way to relax their brains, whether it’s meditating, reading a book, or listening to calming music before bed.
15. They don’t give up easily.
Generally, sensitive people don’t like to give up, and this is true when it comes to their relationships, as well. (Remember how I said they’re loyal?) If you break up with an HSP — or think you and your HSP should “talk” (as a precursor to breaking up) — they will probably want to really talk and try to figure out how to salvage whatever issue(s) you two are having. This doesn’t mean they’ll stay in a bad relationship, but just know they won’t give up without a (fair) fight.
HSPs, what would you add to this list? Feel free to share in the comments below!
Want to get one-on-one help from a trained therapist? We’ve personally used and recommend BetterHelp for therapy with real benefits for HSPs. It’s private, affordable, and takes place online. As an HSR reader, you get 10% off your first month. Click here to learn more.
We receive compensation from BetterHelp when you use our referral link. We only recommend products when we believe in them.