Ever met someone who seems to feel everything more than the rest of us?
They might be what’s known as a Highly Sensitive Person. That’s an HSP for short. About 20% of people are HSPs. But, we often don’t recognize what that really means.
Wondering how to spot a highly sensitive person? You’re in the right place.
It’s not always clear, but there are signs you can look out for.
Today, we’re going to share 13 of these signs with you. So get comfy and keep reading.
You might just discover something new about those around you!
1) They feel deeply
Highly sensitive people are known for their deep feelings. Something that might not phase you could trigger a strong emotional response in them.
From joy to sorrow, HSPs experience emotions in a way that can seem intense to others. It’s not drama – it’s just how they’re wired.
2) Sensory overload is a real thing for them
You know that feeling when everything is just too much? The lights are too bright, the noise level too high, the room too crowded?
For highly sensitive people, this can be a daily reality. They often become overwhelmed when their senses are overloaded.
If someone you know often seeks out quiet, calm spaces, they could just be trying to manage their sensitivity.
3) They’re easily moved
I’ll never forget the day my friend Sarah showed up at my door with a homemade meal after I’d had a bad day.
She’d gone out of her way to make my favorite dish, just to cheer me up. While for some people this might have been a small gesture, for me, it meant the world. Tears welled up in my eyes as I thanked her.
Being deeply moved by acts of kindness is a common trait among highly sensitive people. And if you notice someone getting emotional over what seems like small things, they might just be an HSP.
4) They take longer to make decisions
Ever heard of decision fatigue? It’s the exhaustion that comes from making too many decisions, and it’s a real challenge for HSPs.
According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, highly sensitive people tend to take more time to make decisions because they weigh every possible outcome.
5) They feel other people’s emotions
Imagine walking into a room and suddenly feeling a wave of sadness, only to find out someone in the room just received heartbreaking news.
This is a common experience for highly sensitive people. They have a unique ability to absorb the emotions of those around them, almost as if they were their own.
This deep empathy can make them great friends and listeners – but it can also be overwhelming.
6) They need time to recharge
After a day filled with meetings, social interactions, and noise, I often find myself needing to retreat to a quiet corner of my home. I just need some time alone to recharge my batteries.
This isn’t me being antisocial, it’s a necessary part of my day as a highly sensitive person. If you know someone who also needs their ‘me’ time regularly, they might be an HSP just like me.
7) Criticism hits them hard
Let’s be real – no one likes to be criticized. But for highly sensitive people, criticism can feel like a punch in the gut.
It’s not that they can’t handle feedback – they just process it more deeply. They might ruminate on it, lose sleep over it, and question their worth because of it.
8) They notice details others miss
Have you ever walked past a beautiful sunset without noticing it? Or missed the subtle change in a friend’s mood? Highly sensitive people are unlikely to.
According to psychologist Dr. Elaine Aron, who first identified the HSP trait, highly sensitive people are more aware of subtleties in their environment and pick up on fine details. So if you know someone who always seems to notice things that others miss, they might be an HSP.
9) They’re deeply connected to nature
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always felt a deep connection to nature. A walk in the park or a few moments spent watching a sunset can have a profound effect on my mood.
This isn’t unusual for highly sensitive people. Many HSPs report feeling a strong bond with animals and the natural world.
10) They can’t stand violence or cruelty
No one enjoys seeing violence or cruelty. But for highly sensitive people, it’s more than just discomfort – it’s downright unbearable.
Violent movies, news stories about harm, even unkind words can upset an HSP deeply. If there’s someone in your life who seems to be particularly affected by such things, higher chance they’re a HSP.
11) They get overwhelmed by time pressure
Deadlines. Schedules. Timers. If the mere mention of these words makes your stomach churn, welcome to the world of a highly sensitive person.
The pressure of a ticking clock can cause significant stress for HSPs. Next time you recognize this trait in a HSP, let’s be empathetic and try not to rush them.
12) They’re often introverts
Not all HSPs are introverts, but many are. For these individuals, being around a lot of people for extended periods can be draining.
They often prefer one-on-one conversations to large group settings. So if you know someone who often opts for quiet nights in over big social events, they could be a highly sensitive person.
13) Change is hard for them
For most people, change is challenging. Science tells us that the brain identifies changes as threats. But for a highly sensitive person, it can feel like their world is being turned upside down.
They often need more time to adjust to new situations and routines.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.