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HSP introvert vs extrovert

Today, I want to talk about the distinction between introverted and extroverted HSP.

Let's get into the definition of extroversion and introversion, and what differentiates a Highly Sensitive Person introvert from a HSP extrovert.

In a few words, an introvert is someone who is turned towards their inner world, someone who appreciates and cultivates their solitude. Someone who prefers a book over a wild gathering with friends, while an extrovert is the complete opposite. They are social outgoing beings who like to talk and engage in activities with other people. They thrive on socializing and actually gain energy from being in an exciting social environment.

But let’s get deeper into those two types of personality…

Two young women having a discussion

First, let’s talk about introverted HSP…

Introversion should not be confused with shyness or sentimentality. Introversion is a natural mode of protection, a protection which helps to keep at bay the various stimuli which could disturb the nervous system or upset the emotional balance of a HSP.

The advantages of introspection are that, very often, introverted HSP are more in touch with their inner-self, with their emotions, with their feelings than with the outside world and people around them. Consequently, they are aware, very early on, of their sensitivity and the need to protect themselves from their surroundings. And it isn’t that they are not a “people person” living inside of a shell. Not at all! Their deep empathy makes them feel genuine, sincere emotions for people and they actually can sense the others’ mood from a mile away.

Yes! They might be the most emotional person you have ever met, but they won't necessarily express it. While inside, it might be an emotional hurricane.

When they meet you the first time, they might not show too much of an excitement, even if they are happy to meet you. So dating, for example, can be their worst nightmare, but it isn’t because they are shy or uninterested, they just don’t really like small talk which on a first date is often the way to start. Meanwhile as you’re making conversation with them, they might analyze you, not in a creepy way… they do that to be able to communicate with you better. So they will examine your body language, your personal language, just to be on the same vibes with you.

Now… When they love you, they really give you every piece of their heart. They will anticipate your needs, go to the moon and back to make you happy. Who doesn’t want an extroverted HSP lover? They are the greatest. Did I say extroverted? Yes, I guess I did say extroverted… I meant introverted… giggling… but you know, extroverts are great lovers too.

On the other hand, they need their time alone. Their HSP’s wiring just needs that quiet time. And it isn’t that they are anti-social. First, it is a real need because of their high sensitivity and it is the most important way for them to recharge. But being introverted, it is also a guilty pleasure to enjoy a little longer “me” time. That’s simply their nature. That’s also why they are more composed, reserved, calm and quiet.

This allows them to know, better than the extroverted, how to set an emotional boundary with others, so they will live more stable, more constant and more authentic relationships.

Now let’s talk about their job. In their job, if they don’t take on too many responsibilities, if they are not confronted with urgent deadlines, if they can have a certain routine, they will flourish, feel very comfortable emotionally. This doesn’t mean that they can't be team players, actually they are amazing co-workers because they are detail oriented and meticulous, but indeed, most of them do their best work when they can focus on it alone.

The disadvantages of introspection - if we can say so - can be, sometimes, that if they find themselves in a more confrontational situation within their family or at their job… for example, with a dominant spouse or an offensive boss, they will not always have the right weapons to defend themselves, and will withdraw themselves from the situation just to avoid any confrontation.

So that was about the introverted HSP.

Now let’s talk about the extroverted HSP…

First, remember that extroversion should not be confused with assertion or confidence. As a matter of fact, an extroverted HSP is not necessarily someone with good self-confidence.

Being a highly sensitive extrovert is kind of like walking on a tightrope. They love socializing and being around people, that is the extrovert nature, but they also need to avoid overwhelm because of their high sensitivity.

Extroverted HSP are generally caring, kind, generous and very empathetic. They just love people, they simply like others. So they like to be of service, to make themselves useful. They just crave to be close to people, to make people smile and bring joy to their life. So they will put a lot of energy into making a difference in others’ lives. They will also invest their body and soul in causes that are dear to them. They will fight for justice and, believe me, they are not afraid to brave peaks, mountains, interdictions or difficulties for the underdogs.

But all of these come with a price, they get overstimulated and then crash, so they will need a lot of me time to recharge like the introverted ones.

So it can be like living a life of opposites: on one side, the craving of social connection, and on the other side, getting too much of it which can quickly wear them out.

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So, as you can see, introversion and extroversion have both advantages and disadvantages. And there is not one that is better than the other.

What about HSP in their childhood!

Generally, introverted HSP suffer rather more during childhood because they are quickly labelled “shy or weak”, which they’re not. Also, being more teased and mocked, they will increase the distance they put between them and people around them, while extroverted HSP suffer rather more in adulthood, because they have generally already given everything,... love, attention, time, care. So, entering adulthood, they will already feel exhausted, drained, washed out, because they have very often devoted a large part of their life to another, to others, and have forgotten themselves.

To sum up… The problem therefore between an introverted and an extroverted HSP is that during childhood, introversion will allow parents to realize more quickly and more easily the sensitivity of the child. On the contrary, extraversion will act as a bulwark, like a façade which will mask the high sensitivity of the child, so the adults will believe that this child is like any other, and that there is no need to take special precaution to protect them.

So now you can understand better why being extraverted and highly sensitive can be confusing and a little more challenging.

But whatever your personality, introverted or extroverted, embrace your high sensitivity. Yes, I know, there can be challenges with both personalities, similar in outline but also completely different in the way you live your experiences. So getting to know yourself is really the first step to accepting your sensitivity, the second is to discover its immense qualities and the third is to offer your gift to the world… while protecting yourself.

And remember…be you…always!

Take this short quiz (below) if you want to know if you are a highly sensitive person.

test : are you highly sensitive


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