Highly Sensitive Refuge
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How to Improve Your Relationship With a Highly Sensitive Person

That HSP in your life needs more than just your love or friendship. They need you to understand them.

Do you have a highly sensitive person (HSP) in your life? And would you like to improve your relationship with them?

Well, you’ve reached the right page. In this article, I will take you through five practical tips to improve your relationship with an HSP. But, first, let’s understand what it means to be a sensitive person and what you should know about them.

What It Means to Be a Highly Sensitive Person

A highly sensitive person is one who takes, and processes, all types of sensory input deeply. HSPs feel everything intensely and can often be misunderstood and thought of as “too emotional.”

You see, they’re physically and emotionally sensitive. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. After all, this makes them highly empathetic and attuned to other people’s emotions.

However, given the continuous absorption of sensory inputs, HSPs can feel overwhelmed — both physically and emotionally. As someone who cares about a highly sensitive person, you need to be cognizant of when they’re hitting their limit — and what things will bring it one — and help them cope. (Or, better yet, avoid the overstimulation in the first place.)

As an HSP myself, here are some ways in which you can build a strong and meaningful relationship with a highly sensitive person.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Relationship With a Highly Sensitive Person

1. Communicate continually instead of making them guess how you’re feeling.

While effective communication is the key to any healthy relationship, it is even more important when you are with a highly sensitive person.

HSPs are more aware of others’ feelings and emotions, but they are not mind-readers and can’t guess why you’re feeling the way you are. This leaves a lot of space for guesswork and them trying to figure out what you’re thinking.

Don’t make them guess and draw their own conclusions. Instead, communicate frequently and let them know what you’re thinking and how that’s making you feel. 

I can tell you that we HSPs appreciate honest and frequent communication. We feel your emotions, so instead of hiding them, just spill the beans and keep us in the loop.

2. Respect their personal space and boundaries.

If you are in a romantic relationship with a highly sensitive person, you need to strike a balance between intimacy and respecting their personal space.

Some HSPs are sensitive to physical touch and can take a long time to adjust to intimacy — sex is different for highly sensitive people. So give them the courtesy of taking their time and getting close to you at their own pace.

You can start with small displays of affection, like holding hands and hugging, to get them comfortable with the physical touch. And if you see any hesitation, the onus is on you to back off since they may not feel comfortable telling you to stop. (Setting boundaries can be tough for HSPs.)

Some sensitive people might feel differently at different times, depending on their energy levels. They might stay in bed cuddling for hours on some days and need alone time on others. (Overall, HSPs value alone time, so remember this has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them and their needs; it helps them calm down after all the overstimulation they experience.) 

So respect their personal space and boundaries. Trust me, they’ll respect you and appreciate you all the more for that. And when they come back, your bond will be stronger.

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3. Focus on the little things and small gestures of love.

A highly sensitive person notices every little thing. This means that they also appreciate every small gesture of love and kindness.

A simple kiss on the forehead, ordering our favorite dessert at the end of a bad day, drawing a warm bath — all these are small things that matter a lot to us. Doing these small things can greatly improve your relationship with a highly sensitive person. 

And that’s not all! We will remember these things and smile about them for days and weeks. It’s actually quite easy to make us happy — just focus on the thoughtful, little things.

4. Never lie to a highly sensitive person — because they’ll know.

People often use white lies to smooth things over, like when someone asks you how you are and you say “I’m fine” even when you’re not. Or when you hide something to stop people from worrying about you or getting hurt.

The intention behind such white lies may be good, and they might work under regular circumstances… but not with a highly sensitive person.

Why? Because we’ll know when you’re lying. HSPs can feel even the slightest shift in emotions, and we’re the best at reading body language, so we will definitely pick up on how you’re actually feeling. (We may not confront you about it, but we’ll know.)

So avoid lies, even the well-intentioned ones, and just be honest. In fact, think of this as the first rule of having a good relationship with a highly sensitive person: Be completely and utterly honest if you’re in a relationship with a highly sensitive person.

5. Don’t assume things, and avoid labels.

HSPs are probably one of the most misunderstood people. As most people are not aware of high sensitivity, they often label HSPs as “too sensitive,” “overly emotional,” or worse.

Please don’t add to their trauma by stereotyping them or assuming the worst. Instead, try to understand their perspective and ask questions to better do so.

Instead of saying, “You’re overreacting”, try saying, “Why is this affecting you?” or “How can I help you feel better?”

Ask them how they’re feeling — and why. Master the art of listening instead of assuming things or labeling them as “emotional” or “dramatic.”

If you want to improve your relationship with a highly sensitive person, you need to be sensitive to their feelings. Give them a safe space to express their emotions without judgment, and you’ll have a strong and long-lasting bond.

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