HSP Field Notes on Loaning Books to Friends

Loaning BooksFirst of all, why would you be loaning books to friends?

Well, as a highly sensitive person, you consider your books some of your closest friends.

Your living and breathing friends are also your friends.

(Therein lies the problem.)

You love a good book and the thrill of emotion that stories can provide.

  • Books have healed you.
  • They’ve made you cry.
  • Books have made you smile and laugh.
  • Sometimes they’ve changed your life.

So, you want to share those joys with your friends (the human friends, not the friends that live between the pages).

So you loan your book to a friend.

The next time you see them, you eagerly ask what they thought of the book that you loaned.

They say something like this:

“Oh, I haven’t gotten around to reading it yet, but I can’t wait to find the time.”

You notice they post about a dozen times an hour on Facebook, but you don’t mention that.

You might ask the question once more, but you get another:

“Sorry, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.”

You don’t ask again about the book you loaned them.


As a highly sensitive person, here are three main reasons:

  1. You don’t want to seem like a burden or an irritation.
  2. You definitely don’t want to seem desperate.
  3. But you don’t want to make your friend feel uncomfortable about the fact that you loaned them a book three months ago (or six months ago or two years ago) and they still haven’t read it.

But you remember.

You remember every book that you’ve loaned.

Although you might not remember exactly when the book changed hands and was no longer in your possession, you know who is currently in possession of the book.

And sometimes, when you notice the place on your bookshelf where the book used to be, you imagine where it might be in your friend’s house.

  • Is it on one of their bookshelves?
  • Did it end up in a box and get stuffed in their garage?
  • Might it be on their bedside table, meaning they really do plan to read it soon?
  • Did they move it along while following Marie Kondo’s advice?

So, to protect your highly sensitive self from the nagging worry of where your book-friends might be suffering some horrible fate, you decide you’ll never loan a book again.

Then your friend stops by for a visit

And when they ask what’s new, you happen to mention, “I just read the most amazing book.”

Your friend expresses an interest and you decide you’ll try it … Just. One. Last. Time.

So you loan them your book … and it begins all over again.


Photo by Theo Crazzolara on Foter.com / CC BY

10 Signs You’re a Highly Sensitive Person

Signs of a Highly Sensitive Person

You might have heard the term “highly sensitive person” recently. Perhaps you even took the online test to find out if you are a highly sensitive person (HSP).

But even if you found a few things in common with the highly sensitive person test, you’re still not quite sure if you are one.

In this article, we want to make it easier for you to determine whether or not you really are an HSP.

“Never despise a person’s sensitivity. His sensitivity is his genius.” Charles Baudelaire

So, read on to discover 10 signs you’re a highly sensitive person …

1. You cry easily

Now, before you quickly write off this point and say, “No, that’s not me,” think about it more deeply.

Culture has a lot more bearing than we sometimes realize on some aspects of our nature.

For example, as a highly sensitive person, you might frequently blink back the tears or push them down just because “It’s not manly to cry,” or “Big girls don’t cry.”

But while growing up, perhaps you found yourself crying more easily than friends.

And these days, you still make sure you have a few tissues in your purse or back pocket when going to the movies … just in case.

2. You grew up hearing, “You’re too sensitive.”

About that crying … even though you couldn’t help it, did you still get reactions from people such as:

  • It’s not a big deal.
  • There’s nothing to cry about.
  • Why are you being so sensitive?
  • You’re just too sensitive.

If so, you’re likely a highly sensitive person … and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

3. You need alone time

It’s not that you don’t like people … you do. In fact, as a highly sensitive person, you likely empathize with people more deeply than non-HSPs.

Therein lies the issue.

Because you are more sensitive to attitudes, nonverbal language, and moods, it can be exhausting to hang out among people.

  • And this doesn’t just mean strangers.
  • Sometimes you need a break from your own family.

Highly sensitive people need time alone to recharge and process or decompress after spending time with people.

4. You find yourself calmed by nature

You’ve likely discovered that your environment greatly influences your mood.

Perhaps you also know by now that the simple act of stepping into a peaceful backyard or taking a walk in a park does something special to your psyche.

In fact, “Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings.” (Source)

How much more so for highly sensitive people who find themselves more susceptible to issues of stress and anxiety?

5. You take naps

Growing up, you might have been one of the few children who didn’t mind hearing a parent say, “It’s nap time!”

Even if you didn’t embrace the nap as a child, you likely consider it one of the best times of your day as an adult.

Why is this?

Now, taking regular naps might simply help you not feel as tired physically.

But napping offers a whole lot of other benefits, including:

  • Greater alertness
  • Higher levels of creativity
  • Less stress
  • Improved perception
  • Greater stamina 
  • Better accuracy with motor skills
  • Boosted mood 

These are improvement for the average person.

For the highly sensitive person, naps offer an added benefit: a simple mental break.

Let’s face it: perpetually processing high amounts of sensory input can feel exhausting.

A nap provides a daily break for your mind. 

6. Conflict upsets you

If conflict causes you higher levels of anxiety or stress than the average person, you’re likely a highly sensitive person.

This is not a “you problem.” 

In fact, clinical health psychologist Elizabeth Fox Butler explains it this way:

HSPs struggle with sensory processing sensitivity. Sensory processing sensitivity causes faster stimulation of an HSP’s nervous [system]. They go into fight or flight mode easier than you do, which triggers anxiety. (Source

Don’t consider yourself weak if you need to take steps to protect yourself from conflict.

7. You tend to avoid competition

Whether it’s competitiveness among family members or competition in the workplace, you try to stay far away from it.

It’s not that you’re afraid to compete, or that you think you’ll lose.

In fact, often, the opposite is the case.

For instance, when you win – whether it’s a board game, a sports competition, or the coveted corner office – you might wish you hadn’t.


Because you’re so attuned to the reactions and attitudes of the other person/people involved that you can’t simply enjoy the win.

You keenly feel the disappointment of the losers as if you had been the one who didn’t win.

8. You deeply appreciate beauty

  • Ever cry while listening to a song?
  • Have to wipe away tears when gazing at a painting?
  • Does a gorgeous sunset stun you into silence?
  • Do you feel like you could stay in a moment of beauty forever?

Although you feel deeply affected by the negative side of life, such as conflict and competition, the positive side influences you just as intensely.

This leads us directly to the next point. 

9. You gravitate toward the arts

So, what do you do when you can’t get a vision of beauty out of your head?

You express it through art.

Poetry, painting, blogging, sketching, dancing, crafting … the form doesn’t matter.

The expression does.

And the highly sensitive person must seek some form of expression for all that sensory input.

10. Social interaction tires you

This does not only mean face-to-face interaction.

It can apply to social media too.

Although a highly sensitive person often appreciates the medium of the Internet for social interaction, sometimes even that can prove too much.

Reading an insensitive or inflammatory comment on Facebook or Twitter can completely ruin an HSP’s whole day while the person who made the comment probably didn’t bat an eyelid (or forgot it an instant later).

If you are a highly sensitive person, your emotions require that you monitor all avenues of social interaction and input, even from social media.

Closing thoughts on signs you’re an HSP

So, are you a highly sensitive person?

Only you can really answer that question, but if most (or all) of the above signs apply, you just might be an HSP.

You live and love deeply.

You sometimes find it challenging to process the smallest things in life.

At the same time, your sensitivity often helps you develop an inner strength that enables you to withstand life’s greatest storms.




Photo by h.koppdelaney on Foter.com / CC BY-ND