If you find these 7 situations challenging, you’re probably a HSP

Some of us feel more than others. Whether that’s sensitivity to bright lights, loud music, or emotional situations, there are people who are more affected. 

HSPs, or highly sensitive people, are particularly sensitive to inputs from the world around them.

This can make them susceptible to a lot of stimuli that might not affect others much, if at all. It’s like their nervous systems are more highly attuned to external stimuli.

And perhaps you’re one of them. 

You might feel that certain experiences seem to affect you strongly. They can make you break out in a cold sweat or turn your stomach while other people seem completely calm and cool.

If this happens to you all the time and you find these seven situations challenging, you’re probably an HSP.

1) Going to concerts

Personally, I don’t think I’m a highly sensitive person. Maybe a bit more than average, but that’s it.

One of my favorite things to do since I was a teen is to go to concerts, and the louder, the better. I really find the crush of the crowd and the brain-melting volume fun and exciting. Even a bit comforting.

I’ve even been known to hold my own in a mosh pit or two.

But I know that experience isn’t the same for everyone.

Case in point: I took my nephew, Fin, to a concert last year, and it did not go well at all.

OK, he was 15, and that’s maybe a tricky age, but I was already going to small music clubs and concerts by the time I was 13 so age didn’t seem to be an issue.

But what was an issue was his sensitivity.

Fin is a really lovely guy, and we’ve had a special connection since he was a waddling toddler. Even though we live far apart and rarely see each other, we’ve always gotten along.

That’s why I thought it would be great to bring him out to see a band that we both love. Not naming names, so I don’t get any hate.

But even as we were lining up to get in, I could see that something wasn’t right. Fin looked nervous and generally unhappy, though he said he was OK. 

By the time the music started up, though, he was visibly uncomfortable. He actually looked like he was going to puke.

He said the music was making him feel dizzy so we moved away from the stage, but of course, there was no quiet place to sit down with so many people around.

Long story long, we ended up leaving midway through the opening act. It was just too overwhelming, and I felt really bad, too, for bringing him into that situation.

2) Hitting the mall

It might seem like the mall is a pretty safe place to spend some time. 

It’s indoors, the climate is controlled, and the floor is flat and even. That’s why you’ll often see groups of seniors walking for exercise and parents leading their young children around there. 

Well, that’s what you’d see if you could stand to be in the mall for any significant amount of time. 

But the fact is, shopping centers everywhere are actually quite loud. Marketing experts discovered that playing music can elevate people’s moods and that makes them buy more

So the music is loud and piped in everywhere. The lights are bright, and on busy days, there are people hustling and bustling all over the place.

That’s hardly the atmosphere that highly sensitive people are going to enjoy. 

Instead, it stresses you out and makes you want to get in and out as fast as possible if you can brave hitting the mall at all!

3) Parties

Like, alright man, partaaaaaaayyy!

Yeah, an HSP is the last kind of person you’re going to hear yelling that phrase out as they jump off the roof and do a cannonball in a backyard pool.

For a lot of the same reasons as with concerts and malls, HSPs can find parties really challenging. And while I was trying to reference the crazy, destructive house parties of 90s movie fame, things don’t even have to get too wild to make HSPs uncomfortable.

Having lots of people around and loud music is already a good start. But also balloons (because they pop, of course), jumping out and yelling “Surprise,” and schmoozing are pretty tough for a lot of people.

When other people let loose and let it all hang out, HSPs can feel really uncomfortable and challenged. That’s because they’re usually (but not always) highly empathetic and can become easily disoriented by all the feelings flying through the space.

So yeah, if parties are a real challenge for you, at least anything more than a few friends getting together quietly, you may very well be an HSP.

4) Interpersonal conflicts

Naturally, this isn’t true for everyone, but in general, highly sensitive people are not big fans of conflict.

They really don’t like the idea of butting heads with another person at all. Instead, they prefer to avoid conflict at all costs rather than get embroiled in a difficult confrontation or, heaven forbid, an actual argument or a fight!

So what happens when they really do have a serious problem to deal with?

HSPs will still try to work things out as best they can, but if the other person starts getting aggressive, pointing fingers and raising their voice, this is when an HSP might think, “Know what? I’m outta here!”

They might actually choose to walk away rather than continue in that heated environment because it’s just too much to handle.

Does this sound familiar at all?

What often happens, especially with romantic partners, is that the HSP will reach a limit and just have to walk away. But their partner might still follow them, spitting accusations and bile.

Well, good luck with that – the more you chase an HSP, the more they’re going to run!

5) Big decisions

signs youre a highly sensitive person who feels things deeply If you find these 7 situations challenging, you're probably a HSP

In the experience I’ve had with highly sensitive people, I’ve noticed something interesting.

The more sensitive a person is, the more difficult they find it to make decisions.

Think about it.

The ‘S’ in HSP is for sensitive, and the more ‘H’ a person has, the more they pick up things around them.

This is a lot more than just itchy fabric, loud noises, or weirdly textured foods.

When there’s a decision to make, HSPs are like sponges, soaking in all the factors and variables that might come into play.

When my nephew, Fin, chooses an ice cream flavor, it usually takes him five minutes compared to my 30 seconds. I’ve asked him what he’s thinking about, and it goes something like this:

“Well, rum raisin is sweet and smells good, but when it melts, the raisins get too slimy. I like pistachios, but green ice cream? No, thank you. Cherry cheesecake sounds good in theory, but visually, it’s just a mess. I was thinking chocolate chunk, except the chunks get too hard when they’re frozen…”

Well, you get the idea.

Me? I quickly narrow it down to three that look great and just pick one of them for no real reason.

Because HSPs are always taking in so much information, it can really make it challenging for them to make choices, especially in a hurry.

6) Getting sick

Coming down with something is a real trial for most highly sensitive people.

They’re already much more sensitive to physical factors like heat, cold, itchiness, pain, and discomfort. When they get sick, all of these factors and more tend to make them feel terrorized in their own bodies.

They feel all of the discomfort sickness brings much more than the average person does.

And because they’re fighting a lot more unpleasantness, getting sick can really wear an HSP out, which can make them feel even worse.

7) Going on vacation

For most people, the thought of their upcoming holiday to some tropical beach somewhere may be the only thing that keeps them going.

Once they get to that special place, they instantly relax, unwind, and let it all hang out.

I’m talking Speedos and saggy flesh!

But for an HSP, there’s a lot more to think about.

Aren’t there mosquitoes over there? What if there’s malaria!? And the sun – I’ll need SPF 60. What about food, getting around, sleeping in a different bed, and traveling miles and miles next to strangers…!?

As you can see, this is not the HSP’s idea of a relaxing time.

So if you find travel anything but tranquil, there’s a good chance that it’s because you’re a highly sensitive person, too.


We’ve just looked at a bunch of circumstances that the average person doesn’t spare a second thought for. So, if you find these seven situations challenging, you’re probably an HSP.

That doesn’t mean you have to avoid all of them, just learn to understand yourself and manage them accordingly.

You’re special, so you need to treat yourself that way!

Picture of Marcel Deer

Marcel Deer

Marcel is a journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur. When not obsessing over his man cave or the latest tech, he’s failing helplessly at training his obnoxious rescue dog ‘Boogies’.

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