Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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

More by this author

7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience 20 Little Signs You’ve Found The One 8 Signs of a Man Who Will Never Ever Stop Loving You 8 Things To Remember When Dating Someone With A Guarded Heart 14 Signs You’re Not Drinking Enough Water

Trending in Communication

1 How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward 2 What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships 3 How To Stop Negative Thoughts from Killing Your Confidence 4 This 4-Year Old Girl’s Explanation On the Problem with New Year’s Resolutions Is Everything You Need 5 What You Really Need to Feel Secure in a Relationship

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

Advertising

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Advertising

1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

Advertising

5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

Advertising

If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

More Resources About Strengthening Communication Skills

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next