As an introvert, my biggest problem is that I notice everything. Maybe you can relate?
Perhaps you, too, overthink people’s facial expressions. You notice the slightest frown or look of confusion and you immediately start analyzing what you said and did. You wonder, am I boring them? Did I offend them?
Or maybe there’s no question. You’re so perceptive that you can read people’s microexpressions like a children’s book.
A lot of people say that being observant is one of an introvert’s best qualities. I agree, but I also think it can be the most painful, especially if you’re a sensitive introvert who picks up on people’s emotions, mood, and unspoken thoughts.
I definitely count myself in this group. But there’s a catch.
Observant or oblivious
While I’m painfully observant of some things, I’m oblivious to others. Allow me to explain.
I went to the opening of my friends’ new bar The Blind Tiger here in Puerto Vallarta and the architect was there chatting with people about some of the modern design details.
A couple of people mentioned that they loved the gold tiger above the toilets in the bathroom. I had just been to the loo and couldn’t even tell you what color the walls were.
I’m just plain not observant of my physical surroundings. And yet…
Seeing emotions in technicolor
I see people’s emotions as clearly as if they were painted in technicolor.
If you’re the same way, you know that this can be an amazing gift. But if we’re not careful, it’s also a maddening source of overthinking.
It’s all too easy to not only notice people’s moods and emotions, but take responsibility for them.
How many times have you picked up on someone’s sadness or anger and stressed yourself out wondering if it was something you did? Or if there’s something you could’ve done to make it better.
The anthem of the observant and overthinking introvert is “shoulda coulda woulda”.
And it sucks.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Over the years, I’ve learned to stop overthinking other people’s reactions. When I catch myself starting to overanalyze, I dip into my toolkit of mental reframes.
For the most part I’ve trained my brain to choose more constructive thoughts.
If I were to compare my mind to a puppy, it’s at the stage where it’s stopped chewing on everything in sight and can be trusted to play happily on its own.
I share a lot of my best tools to stop overthinking and gain confidence with my innie subscribers. Join my email list and get my free confidence lessons, plus an Introvert Connection Guide.
Over to you
Do you notice everything? Please share your experiences with this in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! 🙂
As an ISTP I usually see people’s “stuff” clearly. Problem is that most folks are taken in by their “act”. So I’m left struggling with the disconnect, and separation from others if I try to explain what I see.
I am an Introvert, and I notice all emotions, It’s like living other life sometimes. People Don’t like me much because I really don’t make them feel comfortable because I speak the true feeling of all, all the time, I am not able to stop myself because nothing else feels right to me apart from saying the truth.
I manage to live life myself and happy now, But when it comes to living with my husband, sometime it seems very hard for him, He is extrovert. We love each other so much but I am continually learning about my personality but I am not sure he is too.
Sometimes I ask for basic understanding which is not basic for him. I feel terribly cheated and trapped in that case. Struggles are still on but I manage to live with and trying my best to make a better happy place for us. I love him so much.
I don’t think it’s part of the extrovert personality, like your husband’s personality, to examine oneself. Unfortunately, basic understanding seems to be too much for him. I understand why you feel cheated and trapped, since you seem to be the one carrying the emotional load of the relationship. Take care.
I really like the idea of “stations” to tune in to (I listen daily to CBC Radio One for their balanced, mature and thorough reports on news stories—it is a panacea to my sometimes chaotic thoughts). My own personal favorite channel is the “Affirmation” station(affirmations, the atheists alternative to prayer?). I recite almost 2 minutes of affirmations before each meal. I find it grounding and I believe it helps when times are more challenging. And when times are more challenging I may recite them again, or listen to an upbeat song by a jazz artist like Emilie-Claire Barlow. If all else fails I will go to bed early.
I can tell when people lie to me, and it hurts so much
Often for me the verb is “process” as opposed to “observe” or “notice.” Anout 90% goes into my thoughts, some in the moment and some for future (too late?) rumination. But when you process that much data, a you’re bound to simply reject some of it, (color of the bathroom walls) to prevent brain burn out.
Yeah well, my main hobby is photography. So yes, I do notice everything. People say I’m really good at capturing emotions.
Oh yes, all is fitting to me! It`s a bit difficult explaining it in correct english! I remember how I was observing people from my very youth and I still do. Not only people but also nature around me. Staring at flowers, the clouds, playing children or just a butterfly. And in our senior commune where I`m living for 13 years I still feel an outsider, not only because of my hearing aids, but mainly because of I can`t resist all that fuss. So after then I need to reload. And strange enough when I watch somen events on Facebook or YouTube, I can be touches deeply, e.g. helpless people or children, elderly in China and Japan, searching for food or materials, working hard on the field. Then I really do pity them and start crying alone, in front of my computer…
Hopely I`ve made myself clear enough.
I am supposed to be an INTJ , well it suck it really does. I have just lost my love because of over-analyzing and anxiety. I hurts but I always say that being Observant and hurt is better than being oblivious and happy. I don’t want to be fooled by stupid people, I just hate it!
I always notice the people around me and it cause uncomfortable for them and me.I am also a shy person.But I also know other shy persons and they are not like me.Sometimes I feel like ‘am I the only person who have this problem’.when I notice everything I feel like I had a bad behaviour.I want to get away from this problem,It affects me physically and mentally.How to overcome this?
I, too, tend to notice the things around me but not so much people’s “emotions” – I definitely observe a lot of facial tics, the way people carry themselves, how they fidget or stim in certain situations, etc.
But I’m a writer, too – so I like to notice the details in spaces around me. I’m more of an Intuitive than a Sensor, but it’s still a good mindfulness practice to take stock of the physical space I operate in. It’s also a great distraction when I no longer want to look at people or deal with their baggage, lol.
Very insightful article, I am still like a puppy chewing everything, but there’s hope, no?
I can definitely relate. It’s always felt like both a blessing and a curse for me, but more of a curse. I notice things I don’t want to or things that in the end don’t really help me. Plus, I haven’t figured out how to use this skill so that it adds value to my life. It’s just something my friends think is quirky and fun about me, the way I notice everything. It’s definitely caused problems in my relationships because I can always sense when someone is being deceptive.