The Introvert, the Extrovert and the HSP

Labels, labels, labels… If we must describe what I may be, then I am quite possibly something of each of the three labels within the title.

Introvert, Extrovert or Both?

So which are you, do you think? What have others observed you to be?

Many think that you must be one or another; introvert or extrovert – but the reality is, we all have elements of both to a greater or lesser degree.


A counsellor, from my past, once described me as an introvert with extrovert tendencies.


That counsellor’s observation was insightful; it also released me from a belief that was restrictive, and inaccurate at that! You see, there are many examples of how we flirt with both traits. Can you think of some of your own? What resonates for you? Here are just some of mine:

  • As a child, I was shy in the home, but pretty boisterous when out and about.
  • I was highly content to jump from one job to another, even though it meant uncertainty and meeting new people.
  • I have been a risk taker and still am at times! I used to love jumping out of aircraft, and riding a hyper-sports motorbike… faaaaast! (Although not usually at the same time!)
  • Sometimes I can address reasonably large audiences, be interviewed on live and recorded radio and TV. Other times I have been known to lose the ability to breathe when addressing an audience, in fact very recently to a group of just 15 or so!
  • I often feel drained, exhausted even, at networking and other public events.
  • Some meetings, particularly ‘informal’ ones can also leave me shattered, specifically in some one-to-one business or social arenas. Yet, in all my years of meeting the public professionally, as a medic, and now as a counsellor, I am generally fine.

Although a focus on the introverted aspect of the species, this TED talk is wonderful.

Highly Sensitive People (HSP)

HSP comes into play, at least in part, within my last list because it can be reported and observed that the ‘Highly Sensitive people/persons’ are prone to be drained by the energy or other nuances of those in close proximity – and in certain situations.

In a tweet, I put out a while back, I alluded to HSP and asked if people thought they thought that they were? A number replied, surprised and even relieved that the symptoms alluded to were recognisable!


A gift rather than a disability, being an HSP! Compassion is defined as a “deep awareness of another’s suffering coupled with the wish to relieve it.” At the very core of our humanity is shared experience. If we know what it’s like to be hurt, then we can imagine the pain of another. Similarly, if we block out your own hurt, we may be quicker to block out others as well – compassion is one of the greater attributes of the HSP.


Once an awareness, a recognition, has been achieved about why sometimes we feel and think the way we do, these observations can be empowering. Choices can be made about the environments attended and the effects if we recognise them can be understood and accommodated.

If you are living a life content, whether more introvert, extrovert or with a degree of high sensitivity, then all is well, you are likely very aware.

However, if you behave in a way that is less healthy (having regrets after a social function/you reacted in a way with another that leaves a sour taste) perhaps it would be useful to understand why you react, behave and are seen to be the way you are.

Care to share your thoughts?

About the author
Managing Director / Counsellor at Anglia Counselling Ltd | 07747042899 | [email protected] | Business Website

Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of "Conscious Living by Design"™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.

Bob provides bespoke counselling services to individuals and couples in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).