8 things an HSP does that seem weird to others (but are really not)

Has someone ever told you that you’re too sensitive? Or that you need to stop taking everything so personally? 

I have been there.

While I used to think it meant something was wrong with me, I’ve learned that I’m just a highly sensitive person (HSP). If you said “yes” to those questions, you might be, too.

Sure, I might cry if someone raises their voice or criticizes me. And sensory overload is something I experience on a daily basis. 

But I also smile and hold doors for strangers, help people whenever I can, and absolutely love the little things in life. And I love that about myself.

We HSPs do plenty of things that might seem weird to others, but they’re really not. These behaviors are simply how we navigate the world:

1. Being an emotional sponge

As an HSP, drawing a line between my emotions and other people’s emotions is tough. Even if I start my day in a great mood, someone else’s emotions can easily ruin it. But another person’s joy can also pull me out of a dark place.

Let’s face it: Absorbing positive emotions is great, but negative ones are a lot more prevalent and easier to pick up. 

Living life as an emotional sponge has its ups and downs, but it’s a normal part of being a highly sensitive person

And it plays a huge role in how we experience empathy.

2. Being overly empathetic

Absorbing other people’s emotions like a sponge means having more empathy than someone who’s not highly sensitive. 

Did your friend lose a loved one recently? You probably shared in their grief. 

Did a close colleague get fired? It probably upset you nearly as much as it did them.

Being empathetic is great until it becomes too much. There’s a difference between being supportive and taking on someone’s burdens as your own. 

Don’t let your empathy overwhelm you. Use this HSP superpower to be there for your friends and family, but don’t feel like it’s your responsibility to solve all of their problems. 

3. Experiencing sensory overload

It’s not just empathy that can negatively affect a highly sensitive person’s life. 

Sensory overload is another big challenge we face.

Being surrounded by people is often a nightmare for HSPs. Between sucking up everyone’s emotions and feeling everything more intensely than others, it’s almost impossible not to experience sensory overload. 

Throw in loud noises, bright lights, and overpowering smells, and you have the perfect recipe for a meltdown.

I’m easily overwhelmed by large groups of people, loud noises, and flashing lights. And it doesn’t take long for me to feel “touched out” — even when the person touching me is someone I love. 

I thought something was wrong with me, but I’ve learned that sensory overload is part of being an HSP

While it might seem weird to someone who doesn’t experience sensory overload, it’s really not. Our sensitivity makes us more in tune with the world around us, so it only makes sense that we’re going to feel things more intensely.  

The good news? 

Our heightened sensitivity also means we also take great joy in small things: 

4. Loving the little things

While some people might think it’s weird that we get overwhelmed by everyday stimuli, our heightened sensory awareness helps us appreciate the little things in life. 

It allows us to connect with the world on a deeper level and find beauty everywhere.

Plus, it lets us enjoy the smallest kind gestures. Not everyone can have their entire day made by a smile from a stranger or a friend showing up with surprise coffee! 

In that way, being a highly sensitive person is way more of a blessing than a curse.

Unfortunately, we’re affected by negative interactions just as much…

5. Being deeply affected by criticism

8 things an HSP does that seem weird to others but are really not 2 8 things an HSP does that seem weird to others (but are really not)

As HSPs, we don’t take criticism well. Even constructive criticism cuts deep and makes us question ourselves and our abilities. It’s weird to people who can take negative feedback with a grain of salt, but it’s a normal part of our emotional makeup.

Truth is: Criticism hits us differently than it does others. 

We internalize it, taking it to heart and dwelling on it for way too long. We’re aware of the unspoken judgments that may lie behind critical feedback, which makes it feel extremely personal.

Our sensitivity to criticism doesn’t mean we can’t handle the world, though. 

It means we value kindness and empathy in our interactions. We strive for a world where constructive feedback is given with care and where we can learn and grow without fear of harsh judgment.

6. Listening to intuition

Everyone has “gut feelings” once in a while, but HSPs are way more likely to act on them. We believe that our intuition is a powerful tool and rely on it as we navigate our daily lives. 

Have you ever gotten a bad feeling that kept you from taking a shortcut through an alley? 

Or bought a winning lottery ticket because you were feeling lucky? 

Maybe you’ve broken off a relationship just because it felt “wrong?”

These are all examples of listening to your intuition

Others might think it’s weird to live your life based on gut feelings, but we know our intuition is there to guide and protect us. 

We also pay close attention when our intuition tells us we need to spend some time alone…

7. Needing alone time

While others thrive in the company of others, HSPs need alone time to recharge. 

It gives us time to stop sucking up other people’s emotions and process our own. We’re not being antisocial when we choose to spend a Friday night alone instead of going out with friends. We’re recharging our batteries and searching for inner peace.

For me, spending time alone gives me a break from sensory overload. It lets me do what I want without being afraid of letting someone else down.

Spending time alone doesn’t mean I love the people in my life less. In fact, I love them and enjoy their company even more when they respect my need for time apart. 

If you’re an HSP, remind yourself that needing alone time isn’t selfish. It’s a beautiful type of self-care that refreshes you in our chaotic world.

Speaking of our chaotic world, you’d probably love to make it a kinder place…

8. Fighting for a kinder world

Other people may be able to ignore injustices, but HSPs can’t. We’re acutely aware of others’ pain and suffering, and we think the world is a pretty unfair place. 

This awareness drives us to take action and makes a positive impact on the lives of others.

We can’t stand by when we witness injustice or cruelty. Our hearts compel us to speak out and support causes that promote equality, fairness, and kindness.

We know we can’t change the world, but we also know that we can brighten someone’s day with small acts of kindness. 

Whether it’s a helping hand, a comforting word, or even just a friendly smile, we do what we can to show love to those around us and make the world a little less cruel.

Our efforts to create a more compassionate world extend beyond immediate results. We believe that every act of kindness — no matter how small — can create a positive chain reaction in other people’s lives.

Closing Thoughts

Embracing emotions, seeking solace in solitude, and fighting for a kinder world are just a few of the things HSPs do that might seem weird to others.

But those things also make us who we are. 

Whether you’re an HSP or have one in your life, embrace the uniqueness of sensitivity. It’s a struggle sometimes, but all we really want is to live in a kind, compassionate world. 

And there’s nothing weird about that! 


Picture of Samantha Howard

Samantha Howard

Samantha Howard is a freelance writer who has been crafting captivating content since 2006. Embracing the freedom of freelancing, she has explored countless subjects over the years, ranging from health and pet care to family, relationships, travel, and fashion. She views every project as an opportunity to learn, grow, and connect with diverse audiences. Samantha enjoys spending time in nature, reading, and crafting when she's not typing away at her keyboard. No matter what she’s doing, she almost always has a cup of coffee and at least one cat by her side.

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