"A highly sensitive person (HSP) is a term for those who are thought to have an increased or deeper central nervous system sensitivity to physical, emotional, or social stimuli."
Being an HSP can get exhausting and overwhelming but with supportive people around, HSP's can bloom. It is very important for people with HSP friends to be supportive and more mindful.
Following are some ways you can be a better friend to HSP's:
- Educate: The first and foremost step is to educate yourself about HSP's in order to understand your friends better and empathize with them.
- Be their advocate: HSP's struggle with conflicts and are unable to stand up for themselves sometimes. You can help them stand up for themselves in unfair situations. This in no way means you have to fight their battles, or they are not adequate to fight their own, this is to say that just help them if you see them struggling in an unjust situation.
- Understand their needs: When HSP's encounter an overwhelming situation, it's not easy for them to always communicate what they need. In such a situation, it is important that you understand and ask them about their needs.
- Let them take their space: HSP's usually need alone time in order to process everything. Allow them to take as much time and space as they need. Sometimes, this space might be from you. In such a situation, don't get upset or annoyed and understand that space is necessary for them.
- Give trigger warnings: Since HSP's process everything deeply, mention of gory topics such as death, violence, etc. might throw them off. Make sure you give trigger warnings when talking about such topics.
- Be patient: Don't lose your cool or get annoyed if they are unable to process something immediately or get triggered by certain jokes that seem offensive to them. Don't mock them by passing comments like "Don't be so sensitive, it's just a joke". Make an effort to understand their perspective.
Remember, HSP's are not inferior in any way. It is not a disorder. Don't coddle or treat them any differently. Just love and accept them and help them in any way you can. Just be a friend to them.