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Only Sensitive People Can Understand These 10 Things

Only Sensitive People Can Understand These 10 Things

In a world in which “nice guys finish last,” being a sensitive person has its ups and downs. Sensitive people live by their emotions, as well as the connections they make with others throughout their lives. While this can be a good thing during times of extreme happiness, it can also be incredibly detrimental during a sensitive person’s inevitable low periods in life. Those of us who are overly sensitive know are familiar with the following things.

1. You get offended easily.

The most innocuous statements can send a sensitive person into a downward spiral of self-doubt and worry. Because of this, people often feel as if they have to walk on eggshells when around you. However, this only exacerbates the problem, as you sometimes feel as if you’re being treated differently by friends and colleagues because you’re known to be overly sensitive. Even still, it’s hard to not be offended when a friend pokes fun at something you said or did, even if you know it was all in jest.

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2. You’ve been told to lighten up.

On the same token, many of your friends and colleagues refuse to treat you any differently, instead telling you to not take everything so seriously. Of course, you know this is easier said than done, and if you could, you would. While someone might try to make you feel better by saying “Lighten up, I was only joking,” what they fail to realize is you now feel as if everyone in the room is having fun at your expense; especially once they realize you actually did get offended by a seemingly benign statement.

3. You’re in tune with others’ emotions.

Sensitive people are not just emotional beings themselves, but they also pick up on others’ changes in mood easily as well. When you meet up with a friend, you can immediately tell how their day was, how they’re feeling, and how the rest of the day will go with just a quick glance at their facial expression and body language. Being able to detect these mood changes in others is partly the reason you get so offended when others don’t understand they offended you, because you’d be able to tell immediately if the situation were reversed.

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4. You’re empathetic.

Not only are you quick to pick up others’ emotional cues, but you often let their emotions dictate your own. It’s hard not to feel down when others are, so when a friend comes to you with a problem, you take their mood on yourself. Of course, this is because you want to put yourself in their shoes in order to better assist them with their issue, but that doesn’t change the fact that you’ve allowed external stimuli to change your own disposition.

5. You’re too polite.

Because you know how awful it feels to be shut down or otherwise offended, you’re usually polite to everyone. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can also lead to others walking all over you. Even if someone offends you, you’d rather ignore it and move on than stand up for yourself. This isn’t to say that being confrontational is a healthy alternative, but you also shouldn’t allow others to disrespect you whenever they feel like it. Doing so will only exacerbate your sensitivity, as you’ll constantly feel inadequate around those who use you as their own personal emotional punching bag.

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6. You’re eager to please.

Along with being too polite, sensitive people are often too eager to please. Being reliable is fine, but people will start to use you once they realize how eager you are to drop what you’re doing to help them out. By putting your own life on the back-burner in favor of helping others, you ultimately help them get ahead while you end up getting stuck behind them. This is especially true at work; don’t make it your obligation to help others before you’ve finished your own tasks, otherwise you’re doing a disservice to your career.

7. You have trouble communicating your feelings.

Ironically, although sensitive people are very emotional people, they often have a tough time expressing their feelings to others. This may be due in part to the fact that they have a heightened ability to detect emotions in others, and they simply expect others to be able to do the same. This is most often noticeable in relationships, in which one person asks “What’s wrong?” and the other answers “Nothing, I’m fine.” Everyone knows “I’m fine” translates to “I shouldn’t have to explain to you what’s wrong.” As a sensitive person, you have to remember that not everyone is as in tune with others’ feelings as you are, and you’ll need to explain yourself at times.

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8. You react emotionally.

Sensitive people think with their hearts first, then their heads. While this can be a good thing when dealing with interpersonal relationships, it can lead to disaster when logic is needed rather than emotion. A manager of a business might have a tough time reprimanding an employee because he is afraid of hurting their feelings, but letting the employee off the hook for a mistake made on company time will lead to bigger problems down the road. Emotional responses have their place when dealing with friendships and significant others, but there are times in life when emotions have to be kept in check.

9. You’re indecisive.

Since sensitive people are constantly being told to “lighten up” or not to take things so seriously, they’re often incredibly indecisive. This is because they don’t trust their own intuition, as they’ve constantly been told their own feelings and perceptions were incorrect. When faced with a tough decision, sensitive people often look at the negative consequences of both actions, and let this laundry list of possible negative outcomes hinder them from ever making a decision at all.

10. You take criticism personally.

Just like everything else, sensitive people take criticism as a personal attack on their worth as a human being. Unfortunately, doing so only serves to block them from improving their skills and abilities. It’s important to use constructive criticism as it’s meant to be taken, rather than a personal affront to your abilities. Take the criticism as advice rather than an insult, and you’ll be able to focus on improving that aspect of your performance in the future.

Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.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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