The phrase "highly sensitive person" is to a large extent self-explanatory. Whatever you might think of when you hear the word "sensitive" probably will apply to a highly sensitive person (HSP), to one degree or another.

For example, HSPs are unusually sensitive to all types of strong or intense sensory stimulation (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste). They are also highly empathetic, which makes them sensitive to the feelings and emotions of their closest companions (or even to those they encounter by chance). They are sensitive in the sense that they can be offended or even traumatized by the hurtful or rude actions of others, and by suffering in the world at large. HSPs find conflict extremely stressful and upsetting and will try to avoid arguments at all costs. They may frequently express strong or seemingly exaggerated emotional reactions, of either a positive or negative type. They are highly intuitive, which often allows them to make accurate judgments about people and situations with only limited information or exposure.

For all these reasons and more, dating a highly sensitive person can be a unique and beneficial experience. When you get to know an HSP it can broaden your psychological and emotional horizons, by exposing you to a perspective on the world that can change the way you view things forever. 

If you do decide to pursue a romantic relationship with a highly sensitive person, here are nine ways it can benefit your life:

#1 Your highly sensitive companion will encourage you to open up, and they will respond compassionately when you do

If you’ve been having a bad day, most times you won’t have to tell your HSP companion. They will sense it and ask you about it, encouraging you to open up and reveal everything you’ve been thinking and feeling. They will listen to everything you say with a sympathetic ear and offer you advice or guidance if you seem to need it.

When you’re dating an HSP you’ll quickly discover you’re in the company of someone who truly cares. They will do everything in their power to make you feel accepted, comforted, and validated, because that’s what they believe everyone deserves.

#2 They will show you how to be more aware and attuned to the world around you

Highly sensitive people notice the details. They are immersed in their environments and highly observant in every context. They will see, hear, or sense the subtleties you’ve always tended to miss, and as you follow their lead, you’ll find yourself becoming much more aware and in tune with what is happening around you.

What you learn from your HSP companion will enrich your comprehension of the world and, consequently, your interpersonal interactions will always be lively, interesting, and surprising. Highly sensitive people have a depth of understanding that can transform your perception of reality, if you spend a lot of time in their presence.

#3 They will share in your joy just as surely as they will tend to your sorrow

Highly sensitive people are naturally empathic, which means their moods and emotions are affected by the moods and the emotions of the people around them. When you’re sad, they will be sad and they will try their best to soothe and comfort you to make you feel better.

But when you’re jubilant or excited, they will share in your pleasure just as readily as they share in your pain. You’ll never again have to celebrate on your own when you’re dating a highly sensitive person; they will be as delighted by your successes as you are, which will only magnify the joy you feel.

#4 They will really listen to you and care about what you have to say

When you’re having a conversation with a highly sensitive person, you won’t have to worry about them only pretending to listen. They will focus intently on what you’re saying so they can interpret it correctly and discover both the explicit and implicit meaning of your words and body language. They do this because they really care, and they feel honored when people share important or revealing information about their lives.

Highly sensitive people are active listeners, which means they’ll ask the right questions and draw the proper conclusions from what you tell them. Even though most HSPs are Introverts, they are still fun to converse with because they listen so well and respond so effectively and appropriately.

#5 HSPs have terrific memories and will use them to make you feel loved and appreciated

In addition to being great listeners, highly sensitive people also have excellent memories. They remember all the details, especially those they believe are important to their companions and to their relationships.

HSPs are the type who will remember all anniversaries and special observances. They’ll have detailed memories about the first time you went out, the first time you kissed or said "I love you," or a thousand other small but precious moments that had meaning to you personally or to the two of you as a couple. HSPs also never forget kind gestures, and they will make sure to repay them when the chance arises.

#6 You’ll be forming a relationship with the most considerate and responsible person you could ever hope to find

A highly sensitive person never wants to disappoint anyone, for any reason whatsoever. They experience other peoples’ hurt feelings as their own, and they can suffer greatly if they believe they’ve disappointed someone who was depending on them.

HSPs are always on time for dates or appointments and consider their promises sacred. If something unexpected comes up that they can’t possibly avoid, they will call or text you right away to explain the situation. When their priorities or preferences somehow conflict with yours, they will labor tirelessly to come up with a solution that works for both of you.

#7 HSPs are excellent judges of character and can protect you from liars and frauds

Highly sensitive people have an uncanny ability to detect dishonesty and insincerity. They notice it in vocal tones, body language, facial expressions, and word choices. They don’t lie and hold others who do in low regard.

When you date an HSP, they can help you avoid being abused, misused, manipulated, or taken advantage of by unscrupulous or self-centered people. And if you’ve earned their trust and affection, you should feel good about yourself because it means they recognize you as a person of honesty and integrity. Assuming you see the same in them, it means your relationship will be grounded in mutual admiration and respect.

#8 You’ll be with someone who will get along famously with your animal companions

There’s nothing more disappointing than finding someone who you’re convinced is your perfect match, only to discover later that they don’t like your pets. Your animal companions are a part of your family, and you’d never consider getting rid of them—or even keeping them hidden—because someone you’re dating is strictly a dog person or a cat person, or not an animal person at all.

If you date a highly sensitive person, this won’t be a problem. In fact, you’ll likely rate higher in an HSP’s eyes if you have pets in your life. HSPs love animals and enjoy being in their presence. They usually have pets themselves and are always ready to open their hearts to any member of the animal kingdom.

#9 An HSP will give you time to be alone or follow your own path

If you’re dating a highly sensitive person, you’ll be pleased to discover they’re willing to give you time and space to be by yourself. If you have hobbies that don’t interest them, they won’t resent it when you pursue those activities. In fact, they will support your need for personal time without reservation.

HSPs are understanding about such things because they, too, need time to be by themselves. They are easily overstimulated by excessive socializing or large crowds, get stressed if exposed to too much noise or light, and can become overwhelmed if required to multitask for more than a few minutes. They need to step away every once in a while to regain their emotional equilibrium, and they will always respect your need to do the same.

The Challenges of Dating a Highly Sensitive Person

While highly sensitive people have many wonderful qualities, their sensitivity is a persistent characteristic that could lead to some stressful outcomes from time to time.

Occasionally you will say or do something that will offend, upset, disturb, or annoy the HSP in your life, even though you had no bad intent whatsoever. You may inadvertently expose them to people or environments that trigger negative emotions or leave them feeling overwhelmed without realizing you’ve put them in a terribly stressful situation. You may sometimes misunderstand their strong reactions, thinking they’re upset with you when they’re really triggered by someone or something else. And they may misunderstand your strong reactions as well, thinking your anger or frustration is aimed at them when its true causes are to be found elsewhere.

This is reality, but it isn’t something that should scare you away. If you respond to the periodic bump in the road with patience and understanding, your HSP companion will appreciate your attitude and be more than willing to meet you halfway. Working together you’ll clear the storm clouds quickly, restoring the sunny blue skies that normally define your relationship.

The benefits you’ll enjoy in a relationship with an HSP will compensate for the occasional discomfort many times over. As long as you accept that it won’t be a bed of roses 24 hours a day, 365 days a year (what relationship ever is?), your intimate friendship should continue to blossom.

Nathan Falde
Nathan Falde has been working as a freelance writer for the past six years. His ghostwritten work and bylined articles have appeared in numerous online outlets, and in 2014-2015 he acted as co-creator for a series of eBooks on the personality types. An INFJ and a native of Wisconsin, Nathan currently lives in Bogota, Colombia with his wife Martha and their son Nicholas.