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How to Be More Sensitive for an Emotionally Insensitive Person

How to Be More Sensitive for an Emotionally Insensitive Person

Everything seemed fine at first. You were just having a chat, but then she walked off abruptly and you didn’t know why.

This common problem is often ignored because it’s not very obvious. People’s lips are moving and words are being said, but something is missing.

A lot of the social cues involved in communication are non verbal, so if these cues are not noticed, it can leave the other party feeling like they’re not being heard. Yes, you heard the words, but you didn’t see what they were saying.

Communication Always Goes Beyond Words

Unconscious signals make up most of our communication. Our brains tend to pick up on these signals without any conscious effort on our part.

We can usually feel when something isn’t right, or the mood in a room changes. We’ve probably all been in situations where everything felt right with an intimate partner, then we hit a cold wall.

UCLA research has shown that only 7 percent of communication is based on the actual words we say. As for the rest, 38 percent comes from tone of voice and the remaining 55 percent comes from body language.

The challenge arises for some people who haven’t internalized all of the signals which are being thrown their way. Just like anything in life, some people are naturally better at seeing what is being said.

Others need to train themselves once they become aware of a gap in social sensitivity.

Emotional Intelligence Is the Foundation of Sensitivity

Sensitivity can be learned like any skill. It’s mostly a matter of learning to read other people’s physical cues. Paying attention to empathy is also important. What would you feel in their shoes?

Emotional intelligence is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. – Dr. Travis Bradberry, Talentsmart.com

This takes a conscious effort to do because it’s easier to not do. In other words, we have to try. Instead of running the same old mental record, it’s important to be conscious of what’s going when observing people.

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    Our emotional intelligence directly affects how sensitive we are to others. It allows us to read social situations, individuals, and even ourselves.

    Understanding Yourself Is the First Step to Understanding Others

    The first step in retraining your mind to be sensitive to others is to understand yourself. It’s shocking to see how many people are unaware of what they’re communicating through non verbal cues.

    Many people who suffer from depression, social anxiety or shyness could improve their own moods by becoming conscious of their body language. The same unconscious signals they’re projecting to others also affect their own moods negatively.

    The way we use body language isn’t just a projection of our feelings, it also affects our feelings.

    To first start becoming self aware, pay attention to the link between your body language and you emotions.

    What happens when you feel insecure socially? For most people, their hands go in their pockets. Many people will fidget. Shallow breathing usually accompanies all of it.

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    Exercise: When you feel a negative or positive emotion, what did your body do reflexively? A smile, clenched fist, tight jaw or staring at the ground will all correlate to your feelings. Pause when you feel a particular emotion and see what your body is doing.

    Becoming self aware will not only help improve your emotional sensitivity, it will also give you the power to change your emotions.

    Observe, Observe, Observe

    Now that you understand something about yourself, start paying attention to others. How do people react to you when you talk about certain subjects?

    I wouldn’t suggest it, but if you’ve ever been at a table when someone brings up politics, the change in mood is easy to see.

    Based on your own self-observations, you’ll be able to tell a lot about other people’s feelings. Is his fist clenched? That probably indicates stress. Hands in her pockets? She might be feeling insecure. If you’ve experienced it, you’ll be able to see it in others. Match your own self observations to the way other people behave.

    If someone is talking, drop your phone. Leave the social media, text, and emails alone in order to give your full attention. Sometimes emotional insensitivity doesn’t mean you can’t read the signals, it’s just that you’re not tuned in.

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    Distractions can have a negative affect on our relationships. I personally won’t even bother talking if someone is looking at their phone. Usually the abrupt silence will get their attention again. Sometimes a friendly reminder is necessary.

    Listen to Understand, Not to Reply

    Just as being distracted will kill communication, waiting to respond will also block true connections. It’s hard to truly understand what someone else is feeling when we’re just waiting to start talking again.

    Try this exercise to develop your listening skills. This is conversational method I call the snowball technique. Not only will you experience deeper levels of communication, you’ll also be able to keep the conversation going. No more awkward silences.[1]

    1. Pay attention – Obvious enough, but this is where many people fail. By paying attention, you’ll learn a number of different facts about people which could all become conversations on their own. This is one reason I call it the snowball technique, because your conversation will grow like a snowball as you continue.
    2. Reword their wording – Whatever they say, take the main point and summarize in your own words back to them. Not only will you show that you’re listening, you’ll also understand better using your chosen words.
    3. Add your opinion on their topic – Now that you’ve rephrased their point, add your opinion. This will keep things conversational so it’s not a question and answer session.
    4. Dig deeper – You have an understanding of his point, now dig deeper. Here’s a real opportunity to learn someone’s true feelings, motivations, and interest. It also creates some vulnerability. That vulnerability builds trust and a deeper sense of connection because we feel connections to those we open up to.
    5. Recall – You might be running dry on one topic, but if you were paying attention you can now recall another point he made earlier, and bring it up. Even better if it relates to the last topic but it’s not necessary. Recalling something he said 5 minutes ago will surprise most people, demonstrating your excellent listening skills and interest in what they were saying.

    Bring Conscious Attention to the Small Signals

    All in all, by bringing conscious attention to social sensitivity, you’ll learn the signals which paint the big picture.

    Start with understanding yourself better, and pay more attention to what people are saying and doing. Then you’re unlikely to run into sensitivity problems again.

    Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    More by this author

    Eddy Baller

    Dating & Confidence Coach

    emotional intelligence How to Be More Sensitive for an Emotionally Insensitive Person Why Empathy Is Both the Hero and the Villain in a Relationship marriage longevity Why a Lot of Relationship Experience Doesn’t Equate to a Great Marriage

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    Last Updated on July 16, 2019

    7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

    7 Ways to Get Rid of Negative Energy and Become Positive

    Negativity affects ourselves and everyone around us. It limits our potential to become something great and live a fulfilling, purposeful life. Negativity has a tangible effect on our health, too. Research has shown that people who cultivate negative energy experience more stress, more sickness, and less opportunity over the course of their lives than those who choose to live positively.

    When we make a decision to become positive, and follow that decision up with action, we will begin to encounter situations and people that are also positive. The negative energy gets edged out by all positive experiences. It’s a snowball effect.

    Although negative and positive thoughts will always exist, the key to becoming positive is to limit the amount of negativity that we experience by filling ourselves up with more positivity.

    Here are some ways to get rid of negativity and become more positive.

    1. Become Grateful for Everything

    When life is all about us, it’s easy to believe that we deserve what we have. An attitude of entitlement puts us at the center of the universe and sets up the unrealistic expectation that others should cater to us, our needs, and our wants. This vain state of existence is a surefire way to set yourself up for an unfulfilled life of negativity.

    People living in this sort of entitlement are “energy suckers”–they are always searching for what they can get out of a situation. People that don’t appreciate the nuances of their lives live in a constant state of lacking. And it’s really difficult to live a positive life this way.

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    When we begin to be grateful and appreciate everything in our lives–from the small struggles that make us better, to the car that gets us from A to B every day–we shift our attitude from one of selfishness, to one of appreciation. This appreciation gets noticed by others, and a positive harmony begins to form in our relationships.

    We begin to receive more of that which we are grateful for, because we’ve opened ourselves up to the idea of receiving, instead of taking. This will make your life more fulfilling, and more positive.

    2. Laugh More, Especially at Yourself

    Life gets busy, our schedules fill up, we get into relationships, and work can feel task oriented and routine-driven at times. Being human can feel more like being a robot. But having this work-driven, serious attitude often results in negative and performance oriented thinking.

    Becoming positive means taking life less seriously and letting yourself off the hook. This is the only life that you get to live, why not lighten up your mood?

    Laughter helps us become positive by lightening our mood and reminding us not to take life so seriously. Are you sensitive to light sarcasm? Do you have trouble laughing at jokes? Usually, people who are stressed out and overly serious get most offended by sarcasm because their life is all work and no play.

    If we can learn to laugh at ourselves and our mistakes, life will become more of an experiment in finding out what makes us happy. And finding happiness means finding positivity.

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    3. Help Others

    Negativity goes hand in hand with selfishness. People that live only for themselves have no higher purpose in their lives. If the whole point of this world is only to take care of yourself and no one else, the road to a long-term fulfillment and purpose is going to be a long one.

    Positivity accompanies purpose. The most basic way to create purpose and positivity in your life is to begin doing things for others. Start small; open the door for the person in front of you at Starbucks or ask someone how their day was before telling them about yours.

    Helping others will give you an intangible sense of value that will translate into positivity. And people might just appreciate you in the process.

    4. Change Your Thinking

    We can either be our best coach or our best enemy. Change starts from within. If you want to become more positive, change the wording of your thoughts. We are the hardest on ourselves, and a stream of negative self talk is corrosive to a positive life.

    The next time you have a negative thought, write it down and rephrase it with a positive spin. For example, change a thought like, “I can’t believe I did so horribly on the test–I suck.” to “I didn’t do as well as I hoped to on this test. But I know I’m capable and I’ll do better next time.”

    Changing our self-talk is powerful.

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    5. Surround Yourself with Positive People

    We become most like the people that we surround ourselves with. If our friend group is full of negative energy-suckers and drama queens, we will emulate that behavior and become like them. It is very difficult to become more positive when the people around us don’t support or demonstrate positive behavior.

    As you become more positive, you’ll find that your existing friends will either appreciate the new you or they will become resistant to your positive changes. This is a natural response.

    Change is scary; but cutting out the negative people in your life is a huge step to becoming more positive. Positive people reflect and bounce their perspectives onto one another. Positivity is a step-by-step process when you do it solo, but a positive group of friends can be an escalator.

    6. Get into Action

    Negative thoughts can be overwhelming and challenging to navigate. Negativity is usually accompanied by a “freak-out” response, especially when tied to relationships, people and to worrying about the future. This is debilitating to becoming positive and usually snowballs into more worry, more stress and more freak-outs.

    Turn the negative stress into positive action. The next time you’re in one of these situations, walk away and take a break. With your eyes closed, take a few deep breaths. Once you’re calm, approach the situation or problem with a pen and pad of paper. Write out four or five actions or solutions to begin solving the problem.

    Taking yourself out of the emotionally charged negative by moving into the action-oriented positive will help you solve more problems rationally and live in positivity

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    7. Take Full Responsibility, Stop Being the Victim

    You are responsible for your thoughts.

    People that consistently believe that things happen to them handicap themselves to a victim mentality. This is a subtle and deceptive negative thought pattern. Phrases like “I have to work” or “I can’t believe he did that to me” are indicators of a victim mentality. Blaming circumstances and blaming others only handicaps our decision to change something negative into something positive.

    Taking full responsibility for your life, your thoughts and your actions is one of the biggest steps in creating a more positive life. We have unlimited potential within to create our own reality, change our life, and change our thoughts. When we begin to really internalize this, we discover that no one can make us feel or do anything. We choose our emotional and behavioral response to people and circumstances.

    Make positive choices in favor of yourself.

    “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny” ― Lao Tzu

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    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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