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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 May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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