Seven things all sensitive people understand.

Thanks to our brand partner, Cetaphil

It’s not hard to pick a sensitive person out of a crowd.

We’ll be the ones who are visibly startled when a phone rings; who react to the death of a TV character as if we knew them intimately; who couldn’t say ‘no’ even if our lives depended on it; and who read far, far too much into even the most offhanded remarks.

Does that sound exhausting? It is – and there’s a lot more where that came from.

Here are seven common experiences (more aptly described as ‘personal crises’, in some cases) every sensitive soul knows all too well.

1. You become way too invested in the plight of fictional characters.

Reading a book or watching a movie is, in theory, a leisurely activity. But for the sensitive soul, the emotional impact runs deep – and doesn’t end when the credits roll.

Like Frodo carries the One Ring, you carry the emotional burden of every single one of your favourite characters. When they cry, you cry… sometimes for days on end. Just reading the words “Stark family” or “Sirius Black” wrings your heart, and you’ve often found yourself lying awake at some ungodly hour of the morning plagued with worry – not about your own life, but about how your fictional friends will overcome whatever plot complication they’re currently facing.


"Just reading the words  “Sirius Black” wrings your heart." Image:

2. The actions of perfect strangers can cut you deep.

Take commuting, for instance. When you observe your fellow passengers actively choosing to sit next to someone else as they board the bus/train, or your seat buddy gets up and moves to another spot the second the opportunity arises, you can’t help but interpret it as a personal slight.

‘There must be a reason I seemed so unappealing,” you tell yourself, before brainstorming the possibilities. Perhaps you were a little heavy-handed with the perfume this morning. Maybe they were judging your choice of reading material. Or do you just have an unfriendly face??? From there, the anxious spiralling begins.

3. The concept of “not taking it personally/seriously” is foreign to you.

There is no piece of advice less useful to you than “don’t take it personally”. Ha! If only that were possible. You even take it personally if a neighbourhood cat or a two-week-old baby doesn’t respond to your affections.


"There is no piece of advice less useful to you than “don’t take it personally”." Image:

4. Ditto “letting it go”.

There’s no telling how long an incident, fleeting as it may be, will affect you. You can bump into a stranger in the street one day, and a whole week later you’ll still be musing over whether they thought you were a horrible person for it.

Even the distant memory of a vaguely mean thing someone said to you in Year Two, or of an RSCPA advertisement about puppies circa 2008, can make you misty-eyed. So it’s hardly surprising that you don’t deal well with rejection or breakups. In fact, you’re not convinced you’ll ever recover from those...


5. Text-based communication is fraught with emotional danger.

Because you read far too deeply into every word, Emoji, and punctuation mark, communicating via text has the potential to destroy you.

When your best friend ends a text with a full stop, or with one X instead of two, you conduct a mental inventory of everything you’ve said to her over the past month that could have possibly upset her. When that Tinder match sends you a regular smiley face, rather than a winky one, you despair because it obviously spells the end of your romantic prospects.

But these pale in comparison to those soul-crushing smartphone ‘typing bubbles’ that seem to bubble away forever and suddenly stop, leaving you in a heightened state of panic. Or worse - observing that someone has “seen” your Facebook message but not responded to it. Sheer torture.


Reading way into text message punctuation? Image:

6. Communicating with your boss turns you into a nervous wreck.

When you miss a call from your boss and they don’t answer yours, or your manager mentions they want to “have a quick chat”, or you receive an email with absolutely no pleasantries, it takes all your might to not projectile vomit.

The moment your heartbeat picks up where it left off, you begin practicing your gracious response to being fired. “Thank you so much for the opportunity to work here. I feel like I’ve really grown as a person and I’m sad to be leaving.” This goes on for at least an hour.


Panic sets in when your boss calls your name...Image:

7. Hosting an event is rarely straightforward.

Inviting people to your birthday/wedding/house party should be the easiest part of hosting an event. Alas, you will spend hours agonising over who does and doesn’t make the cut. You’ll mentally put yourself in each person’s shoes, imagining how you’d feel if they didn’t invite you to something (the standard answer being “really sad”). Taking charge of table placements elevates this to a whole new level of people pleasing.

Then, when the event actually takes place, you can’t relax. You’re constantly looking around to monitor your attendees’ enjoyment levels, and mingling furiously to ensure nobody feels neglected.

 Hopefully these common experiences will make other sensitive souls realise they’re not alone in the world and to stress a little less about the little things.

Are you a sensitive person? What would you add to this list?