You can be both extroverted and highly sensitive. It’s a wonderful combination: You have awesome gifts to share. And it’s also tricky: “I need people time AND I can get exhausted by people time.” There are ways to make that seeming conflict easier, and enjoy the gifts more.
I love the extroverted HSPs in my life. They have so many gifts — like socializing ease, and high empathy and caring. They’re wonderful to be around. 🥰 I also understand how sensitive extroverts can get exhausted and I’ll share some tips to help.
Before understanding these traits, a sensitive extrovert might be wondering why all the anxiety, exhaustion, or misfit feeling. 😰 And you might assume you just need to fix it or try harder. Nope.
When you understand what extroversion and high sensitivity are really about, and how to care for your unique needs, it all starts to make sense, and life gets easier. A little knowledge goes a long way.
❤️ I created this “love note” video for HSP extroverts, and it includes a few self-care tips:
Facts about Highly Sensitive Extroverts
- About 15–20% of people are highly sensitive, and research is still in progress about these numbers. About 30% of highly sensitive people are extroverts. So, around 6% of people are likely extroverted HSPs.
- Most extroverted HSPs don’t know about one or both traits about themselves, or think it’s something else. You might check out these signs you’re an extroverted HSP.
- There is not that much difference between introverted HSPs and extroverted HSPs, while there is a lot of difference between HSPs and non-HSPs. [source] Thus, knowing about your sensitivity is a critical piece of self-awareness and self-care.
Here’s a possible starting place for assessing and understanding introversion, extroversion, and high sensitivity. ✅
Being an Extroverted HSP Is Often Confused with Being an Ambivert
Many people think they are “ambiverts” (the middle between introverted and extroverted) but from what I’ve seen, when they learn about the combination of being highly sensitive and being extroverted, they start to find that a better explanation.
Some people in the know have said there’s no such thing as a true middle “ambivert,” based on what these words were intended to mean, and perhaps how the brain works.
Even still, ambiversion is different than being an extroverted HSP. It implies ease in both inward and outward things, whereas an HSP could get overstimulated by many outward things.
If you’ve been thinking you’re an ambivert, or a “social introvert” or “extroverted introvert”, think again. You could actually be a sensitive extrovert and that could better inform your self-care and decisions.
Self-care Tips for Sensitive Extroverts
You’ll naturally lean toward socializing and caring for others. However, an area that can get neglected is self-care/ balance, so these are some ideas you might want to be intentional about:
- Be choosy with spending your wonderful social energy. Focus on the most meaningful and energizing kinds for you. You might lean towards all kinds of socializing, but the most meaningful ones are more energizing. 🥰 While other kinds, without as much heart in it, can be draining.
- As mentioned in the above video, remember to take little self-check-in breaks while out socializing so you can notice when you’re hitting your limit. 😰
- Find your HSP kindred spirits so you can receive some of that wonderful empathethic caring to fill your own cup. It’s easy for you to keep going and going, but that can be depleting if your own cup isn’t filled too. 🍵
Insights from Highly Sensitive Extroverts
One of the gifts of being a sensitive extrovert is my ability to read the room and feel energized after helping groups connect or reconnect. I’ve had groups I’ve facilitated tell me how good that feels, and I love the energy boost after.”
~Monica, extroverted HSP, professional development consultant/coach
The highly sensitive extrovert (HSE) thrives on deep meaningful connections with others. We often work best when collaborating with others, especially when feeling safe to share our truest thoughts and feelings. We are creative, visionary, and inspired by common interests we share with others. We thrive on mutuality, reciprocity, and empathy, and can wither without it.”
~Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC (counselor), HSP extrovert, certified Myers-Briggs professional, and recognized HSP expert and retreat host. [in her article on introversion, extroversion and HSPs]
More Proof that Sensitive Extroverts Are Needed and Beloved
Some of the most beloved characters in children’s literature are what I would consider extroverted HSPs. They continue to inspire others over many generations.
- Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, of Canada. Anne was delighted by everything in nature and her rich imagination. She was full of creative ideas and smarts.
Her zest for life brought such joy and transformation to those around her. They were at first confused by it and then they found themselves loving it. I think there’s a reason this book continues to be so popular more than 100 years after publication, and has been a beloved TV show too.
(If you haven’t seen Anne with an E on Netflix, it’s a must for all ages.)
- Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren of Sweden. Pippi is unconventional, free from social conventions and has a wild imagination, not to mention superhuman strength. Many kids and adults secretly want to be like her.
- The Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank. This true diary remains a favorite of young and old. Anne beautifully captures her inner and outer world, as someone who must have been a highly sensitive extrovert.
- If you are a sensitive extrovert, you’ve got wonderful gifts to share. ☀️
- That mysterious anxiety or exhaustion you’re having might find some relief when you learn more about extroversion and high sensitivity.
- If you know any sensitive extroverts, enjoy those gifts and help them see it too.
- Find your kindred spirits so you can feel deeply understood and appreciated. It fills your cup.
Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
~Anne, in Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery.
Reference for deeper understanding:
> Introversion, Extroversion, and the Highly Sensitive Person, by Jacquelyn Strickland, LPC, on Psychology Today.