Traits of a Highly Sensitive Person

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A highly sensitive person, or HSP, is a person with biological differences that allow them to be more aware of their emotional, physical, and social surroundings.

Highly sensitive people can dive deeper into their own emotions as well as the feelings of others. While this can be seen as a strength, many people believe that it could also be a sign of weakness. With anything in life, being an HSP can bring on a mixture of positives and negatives.

Let’s learn more about some of the traits of a highly sensitive person.

Extreme Empathy

One of the main traits of a highly sensitive person is their ability to feel and express their own emotions. This includes their own wants, needs, strengths, weaknesses, and those of others. HSPs have a higher emotional intelligence compared to an average person. This makes them better equipped to communicate with others, resolve conflict, and lead others. On the other hand, this sense of extreme empathy can cause HSPs to push their own needs to the side while they focus all of their attention and effort on others.

Detail Oriented

HSPs are also extremely detail-oriented. They can be proactive rather than reactive when responding to situations. They can read a room and predict the wants, needs, and action items. Since they’re in tune with how other people may be thinking and feeling, they’re more likely to be able to tell someone’s preferences and any of their interests or dislikes. While HSPs have an easier time picking up on even the smallest of details, they need to be careful because this can turn into perfectionistic tendencies.

Difficulty Making Decisions

HSPs have a hard time making decisions. They want to weigh out all of the pros and cons before making a decision out of fear that they’ll make the wrong choice. They’re extremely hesitant to make a decision not only because of how it may affect them and their life but also because of how that decision could affect the lives of others as well.

Seeking Meaning

A lot of HSPs look for career paths that speak to them. Their work means a lot to them; they want to feel like they’re providing value and making an impact instead of just collecting a paycheck each week. HSPs who can channel using their HSP traits and see them as strengths instead of weaknesses can find career paths that are more meaningful and purposeful.

Labeled as Sensitive

No matter the situation, an HSP is likely to react more strongly than someone who doesn’t share these traits. This is mostly due to how in tune an HSP is to the world around them. They’re able to express not only their own emotions but also the emotions of others. In the end, this can make them appear more sensitive.


Highly sensitive people are often seen as “too sensitive”. In reality, they can fully accept and acknowledge all of their emotions and feelings. Channeling allows them to clearly understand what may be right versus wrong. This means that they’re also more likely to be courteous and polite to others.

Next Steps

There is nothing wrong with being a highly sensitive person. As with anything, being an HSP comes with strengths and challenges. Recognizing and using these traits as strengths can be a game-changer for an HSP. If you’re interested in learning more or seeking additional support for HSPs, reach out to us today to set up a consultation for anxiety or highly sensitive person therapy.


Jeffrey Aviles, LCSW-C

Baltimore Counseling Center