Have you ever wondered what it would be like to crave the company of others, but feel overwhelmed by them after twenty minutes? Or waiting for the chance to have some time alone, only to feel that something is missing? This is the world of the highly sensitive extrovert. Like walking a tightrope without slipping, the extrovert HSP has to maintain a constant balance between their needs for social stimulation and sensory stillness. It can be a confusing, and exhausting ride, but there are ways that you can cope.
While many HSPs are introverts, a minority of sensitive people are extroverts. According to Elaine Aron, it’s about 30 percent. But it’s not always so clear cut. Most of us actually fall somewhere in the middle, and possess some traits from each end of the spectrum. It’s finding out where you sit on the scale that will help you to walk the line without falling off.
The difference between introverts and extroverts is where they get their energy. Introverts feel drained by social experiences and need time alone to recharge. Extroverts gain energy by being around people and doing things and feel
drained spending time alone. You may feel like an introvert because your sensitivity makes social encounters tiring. But if you find yourself feeling tired, depressed, or uninspired after too much time alone, you may be an extrovert. That’s good news because it means you might just have to get out a little more. If you’re still not sure, try this test.
If you’re highly sensitive, however, the rules of the game change a little. Whether you’re introverted or extroverted, an HSP still gets easily overwhelmed and overloaded by too much sensory stimulation, including the energy of other people. HSPs need a lot of downtime and a creative outlet in which to channel all that energy they’ve absorbed. This quiet time feels more natural and relaxing for introverts, so people who are more extroverted may need less time alone, or less frequently.
Extroverts also feel energized by social activities, so don’t let your sensitivity stop you from getting out there and enjoying the parties, travel and events you love. Just be sure to schedule in some down time afterwards. Similarly, if you’ve got a big night out planned for Friday, consider taking it easy on Saturday night, just to give yourself time to recharge. Taking time to reflect and pursuing your creative interests will help you to recharge your sensitive side. Remember, it’s always okay to say no to invitations, even if you are the life of the party.