Empaths, Highly Sensitive People, and Introverts – Differences And Similarities

Author: Harmony Bird

What is an empath, a highly sensitive person (HSP), and an introvert?

How are they related and what makes each different?

Empaths, HSPs, and introverts all hold down one end of the personality spectrum. The other is often characterized by narcissists. HSPs are oftentimes introverts, but not all introverts are HSPs. Empaths can be extroverted, introverted, or anywhere in between. However, all three types share the need to be alone and are empathetic and compassionate.

The Empath

What primarily defines an empath is their ability to absorb the emotions and even the physical feelings of those around them. With their high sensitivity they are able to really get into someone else’s shoes and respond with care and kindness as they experience another’s feelings. This can lead to the empath feeling overwhelmed. Oftentimes the easiest way to destress is to get alone, away from everyone else’s feelings. Nature and other quiet places of solace are their favorites.

The Highly Sensitive Person

Where an empath is especially atune with the emotions around them a highly sensitive person is in tune with all external stimuli. Not only what comes in through intuition, but also what is seen, heard, smelled, tasted, and touched is a stimulant to the HSP. It can take quite some time for them to unwind after a day of crowds or socializing because their senses are at a constant state of attention. This is why they tend to be introverts. Needing a peaceful place to process, it is more difficult for them to think when their senses are on overdrive.

The Introvert

The introverted personality type is oftentimes the common thread between the empath and HSP. This is because the empath and HSP are so aware of external stimuli that they don’t need to seek it out, rather they seek to get a break from it. An introvert processes information while attending to their thoughts and feelings. They may seem quiet but there are probably multiple conversations going on in their head!

A person may share the characteristics of all three personality types and it can be hard to tell one from another. But looking closely at the subtle differences will give it away. One thing is certain, it is important to extend understanding to all of them when they have their needed rest from interaction.

It should be noted that the narcissist is the opposite to these personalities. Yet, as opposites do, they attract one another. The empathetically sensitive person has hope that the narcissist will be healed while the narcissist finds pleasure in causing chaos. The narcissist ends up having a person in their life who is caring, interested in them, and devoted. While the empath is attracted to the narcissist’s false self because they appear to be charming, intelligent, and giving, as long as things are in their favor.

An empath or highly sensitive person must recognize when it is hurting themselves to have a self-absorbed person in their life and be strong enough to let them go.

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