By Brianna Wiest
As everyone is both introverted and extroverted (we identify with the one we prefer more) it can be hard to weed through the nuances of what each of them mean. This is never as true as with someone who is a HSP, or a Highly Sensitive Person. HSPs are identified as being more emotionally intelligent, intuitive, creative and sensitive to stimuli than the average person. When these traits are combined with extroversion, they can create the illusion of introversion. It’s a tricky but important distinction to make, because the better you know yourself, the more you can build your life to fit who you really are.
1. You don’t actually mind being around other people, you just prefer to be around some more than others. Being around the wrong people exhausts you; being around the right ones makes you laugh a lot and feel understood.
2. You have one or two close friends who you see or speak to regularly. If you have one best friend you see every day, or a significant other who you love to be around as much as possible, the sheer quantity of time you spend around others might make you more extroverted than you think.
3. You want to be liked by everyone. This sounds unflattering, but is a common human desire. A deep longing to be loved or admired by many people often correlates to social anxiety or a fear of being unloved or disliked, especially in people who prefer to feel connected to others.
4. You love being in love. HSPs are true romantics (and are usually pretty sexual). This is because they are so attuned to their emotions; being in love is a true high for them. Of course, introverts can also love being in love, but extroverts tend to be more outwardly expressive of it.
5. If you take an honest look at your emotional patterns when you’re alone vs. when you’re with a community of friends or loved ones, you see that you thrive more in the latter. You think you are happier on your own, but you’re not really.
6. Your daydreams revolve around other people: impressing them, being loved by them and so on, rather than the high you would get by seeing and experiencing the world on your own.
7. You were an extroverted kid. If you think back to an average day in your childhood, you were always calling friends to come over or playing outside with other kids on your street. Then, at some point, you had some traumatic event(s) that lead you to prefer to be on your own. Being isolated is a coping mechanism for you, not something you are naturally inclined toward.
8. Your intuitive ability to pick up on what people are actually thinking and feeling can be uncomfortable, because you have a hard time just letting things go. On the other hand, it’s the same quality that makes you such a “people person” when you are being social.
9. You get really stressed when you feel like someone is self-sabotaging and you can’t help or fix them. This is what makes you want to isolate yourself – the fact that you are hyper-sensitive to other people’s problems, and often take them on as your own.
10. You actually connect with people rather easily. When you go out, you’re the life of the party, or the person all the baristas know at the coffee shops you regularly visit. The sheer ability to relate to or at least get along with most people well is more commonly a trait of extroversion.
11. You are a very loyal person, but only with someone you love a lot, or friends you are super close with. When you love, you love completely, and that person becomes a part of you. However, getting to that point is a longer-than-average process of opening up and building trust.
12. You love to go out and have fun, but in limited doses. When you’re out, you’re the life of the party. However, being around so much energy (and exerting so much energy) exhausts you, and you need a stealthy recovery period afterwards.
13. You “ghost” on people a lot, even friends. It’s sometimes hard to articulate that you need more time to yourself than other people do, and when people don’t respect that need (even if their intentions are good and they just want to see you) it’s sometimes easier just to make yourself inaccessible.
14. You’re more at ease around a large group of strangers than a smaller group of acquaintances. This is because there is no social obligation for you to impress, connect with or bond with a stranger. This is an equal display of your extroversion (not caring about being around others) as well as your HSP qualities (being drained by having to connect with people too much).
15. You prefer to work alone, but do something that other people have to relate to. For example, you’re a writer who works on their own, but who then shares that work to many people who consume and respond to it.
16. If you were to draw a picture of your dream life, you’d ideally have some combination of a loving partnership, a few great friends, or a close family. Your objective in life is not to stay away from people, but to choose the right ones, and keep them close to you no matter what.