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  • Writer's pictureLaura

Making Friends as a Highly Sensitive Person

Does making new friends feel overwhelming? Do you ever feel alone despite being surrounded by others? Have you ever wished that you could have a deeper connection with someone instantly?


Maybe you feel overstimulated in a busy environment. Or maybe the reason you feel completely alone and drained is because of small talk.


If you crave that deeper connection with others, you might be highly sensitive.


Highly sensitive people (HSP's) are introspective, can become overstimulated if their surroundings are too busy, and feel drained by small talk.


Because of this, making new friends as a highly sensitive person can be exhausting. You might use a lot of energy just trying to feel comfortable around new people. Or you find yourself craving a deeper connection that goes beyond small talk.



The following can help you to make friends when you’re highly sensitive:


Be selective with the people in your inner circle


HSPs are sensitive to their environments and the emotions of the people around them. Because of this, you might find someone’s energy particularly draining. Be selective with the people who you allow into your life:


● Choose those who encourage you rather than undermine you.


● Remind yourself that deep friendships come from quality over quantity.


● Reach out to others who make you feel understood and happy.



Change the questions you ask


Ask open-ended questions that help you dig beyond the surface allowing you to start to built a deeper connection. Taking the lead in the conversation by asking these type of questions, shows others that you are curious to hear more and also removes any pressure or awkwardness you may feel to fill in any gaps in conversation.


● “Can you tell me more about that?”


● “What was the hardest part of that experience for you?”


● “What’s something you’ve overcome recently?”


● “What is your greatest accomplishment in life?”


● “What do you fear most in life? What would you do differently if you woke up tomorrow with no fear?”


● “What have you done this week that made you feel great?”


Remember, the main objective here is to get to know somebody on a more deeper level. Take advantage of the persons responses, by also asking follow up questions (use who, what, how, why, where and when questions).



Be self-compassionate


We’ve all been there: the moment where we make a mistake or say the wrong thing and end up in a vicious spiral of negative self-talk. Instead of berating yourself for making a mistake, practice self-compassion.


Remember:


● People you meet are humans who make mistakes as well


● You are trying your best to connect and that's the most you can do


● You have the strength to recover after any mistake



Lead with vulnerability


Much of the time, we wait for someone else to be vulnerable. But we can lead with vulnerability, too. When you’re building a new connection with someone, share how you feel or what’s on your mind.


● Being vulnerable can help others relate to your human emotions and experiences.


● Leading with vulnerability could encourage the other person to open up and be vulnerable with you as well.


Enjoy the process


The reality is, you won’t be able to connect with everyone you meet on a deeper level. There will be some people you meet who put up a wall, those who you just don't gel with or even those who drain your energy with negativity.


● Instead of reaching for that deep connection with every person, enjoy the experience of getting to know someone new without getting bogged down with an overall result.






Taking the effort to make deeper friendships with others can help you feel more connected and fulfilled. But what’s most important is being present and enjoying the process, too.


As a highly sensitive person, you might catch yourself overthinking how you handle situations. Overthinking keeps us trapped in our heads, we commonly get caught on "what if" narratives, which induce anxiety and hold is back from enjoying the present.


When we’re trapped in our heads, there is also a possibility of creating a self-fulfilling prophecy of distancing ourselves from potential friendships.


Being connected and understood are basic human needs. People want to feel connected.


Practice taking the lead in a conversation and being curious about others. If a relationship drains you instead of giving you energy, consider directing your time somewhere else. Cherish quality over quantity in your relationships.


You are in control, take things at your speed and take the plunge to step out of your comfort zone.


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