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13 Things to Remember if You Love A Sensitive Person

13 Things to Remember if You Love A Sensitive Person

Being a sensitive person can oftentimes feel like a mixed bag filled with blessings yet also curses. On the one hand, our nervous system is highly wired to detect the smallest nuances in life and also to freak out over them. It’s quite a conundrum, and one that I have been struggling with since I was a tiny human being. When I was growing up, there was no “Highly Sensitive Person Guide To The World” on the internet. In fact, there was no internet. I hadn’t even heard of the term “Highly Sensitive Person” until I stumbled upon Elaine Aron’s self-test online. It explained so many things. Why I jump every time a car honks leaving me feeling like one of those trembling greyhound dogs. Why I simply cannot abide loud eaters and feel spectacularly uncomfortable in open-plan office environments. Whilst being a sensitive person can feel like being encumbered with a set list of unusual nuances, we are also great people to have in your lives for these 13 reasons:

1. When they feel, they really feel

Being so highly attuned with their nervous systems means that sensitive folks feel emotions in a very real and complex way. It is almost as if they are tuned into a different radio frequency than the rest of humanity. When their emotions are triggered, they cannot simply ignore them. Much like a passing storm, they need to work through any upsetting feelings before they can even begin to appreciate any silver linings.

2. They shed many tears

It’s important to know that in loving a sensitive person, you will learn to love their tears. They can cry at the drop of a hat at seemingly the silliest things. Witnessing random acts of meanness can set them off, but so can a litter of cute puppies. Those infomercials raising money for starving children in Africa typically get them every time, and they probably shouldn’t be in the room when those Sarah McLaughlin ASPCA commercials start playing.

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3. They are in touch with their emotional mind

Emotions are generally sensitive people’s closest companions. They feel, think, and act on an emotional level and therefore can be wonderfully considerate. They can also be moody as hell. Whilst the majority of people experience the ever-shifting sands of emotion, sensitive people tend to shift these sands at lightning speed. One minute they can be laughing at something you said and the next minute the laughter is gone, to be replaced by a frostier vibe. It’s important not to take any of this personally and just let them get on with it.

4. They can pick up the subtlest vibes

Being so highly attuned with their emotions means that they can intuit the emotions of others pretty perceptively. If they walk into a room and the vibe is off, they will feel it in an instant. This can be overwhelming for some people, since it’s hard to distinguish between their own moods and what they are empathizing from someone else. Yes, thats right. Sensitive people can literally take on someone else’s mood without even realizing it.

5. They are incredibly empathetic

There’s a reason why sensitive people often make wonderful teachers: they tend to have huge reserves of empathy for others. Its just harder for them to walk past an upsetting situation playing out on the street without coming away with some residual emotion. It’s important to know that they simply cannot just turn off their feelings. They are natural empathizers and can sometimes transmute the pain of others.

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6. They can come undone when witnessing extreme behavior

One of the singularly most upsetting things for a sensitive person is violence towards others. That’s why you probably won’t see them lining up for the latest slasher movie on a Friday night. (They’ll be the ones getting ready for a good cry at the latest Nicholas Sparks movie.) Violence and extreme behavior Freaks. Them. Out. Whilst others might enjoy watching a serial killer torture his victim on the big screen, those sensitive people will already be cowering in the restroom.

7. They need more downtime than most

All this empathizing and deep feelings mean that a sensitive person’s need for downtime is non-negotiable. Because they operate an overactive nervous system, they need time to decompress and spend time with themselves. Once they have recharged their emotional batteries, they will be ready to face the world again. But it’s paramount to respect their need to just be.

8. They dont deal well with criticism

Be careful when you feel the need to critique your sensitive friend, family member, or lover. Being so in tune with themselves means that they are usually their own worst enemies, so anything negative you have to say will likely already have been realized by themselves. This doesnt mean you have to live in a world of unicorns and lollipops when you hang out with them, but use some tact. A good way to approach criticism with them is to spread it on both sides with love; a critical sandwich, if you will. It will be far easier for them to swallow.

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9. They may forgive, but they dont forget

If you serve them a hateful sandwich instead, be warned. They might eventually forgive you, but they will never forget what you did. They are almost elephantean in their ability to recount all of the wrongs harbored against them, and it can be incredibly hard for them to shake it off and move on. There will be no firework show of fury, since they feel their emotions deeply and quietly.

10. Their are connected with their creativity

Their unique mode of perception allows them to develop a strong appreciation for nature, music, art, and literature. This can lead them into successful careers as artists, where they can give themselves permission to express their unique view of the world through a creative outlet.

11. They enjoy connecting with the natural world

The solitude that nature affords us means that sensitive people are drawn to surrounding themselves with the natural world. Their sensitive nervous systems can easily become saturated by the bombardment of sights, sounds, smells, and speed of modern life. An afternoon spent hiking or even reading in the park provides a sensitive person that precious time to reboot and recharge so that they feel ready to face the world again.

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12. They engage with their senses

Whilst some of us are more connected with one dominant sense, sensitive people tend to engage all of their senses. Not only do they feel emotion on a deep level, but they can also be highly attuned to strong tastes, noises, visuals, sounds, and touch.

13. They make for wonderfully caring friends

One of the hallmark characteristics of highly sensitive people is the ability to feel more deeply than their less-sensitive peers. This can make them fabulous people to know. Their deep level of concern for others leads to a sense of empathy and concern for their friends’ well being. They may also have more concern about how another person may be reacting in the face of a negative event, meaning they will likely be one of the first people to reach out in times of adversity.

Whilst sensitive people are too often perceived by others as being weak or lacking backbone, it’s important to remember that to feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness. Loving a sensitive person might be complicated, but it’s also important to remember that they hold some truly wonderful characteristics that will make having them in your life a truly unique experience.

Featured photo credit: We Heart It via weheartit.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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