They Say You're Too Intense and Over Sensitive: What's the Problem?

Do others say that that you're too intense and over sensitive? People who see this as a problem simply don't really understand you. Furthermore, the problem isn't you. In this article, we explain why.
They Say You're Too Intense and Over Sensitive: What's the Problem?
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 21 December, 2022

“They say I’m too intense, that I take everything too personally and that I tend to exaggerate what happens to me”. Does this sound familiar to you? As a matter of fact, in our internal universes, we’re all sensitive to our emotions. However, some of us have a different way of handling what we feel.

If people say you’re too intense, you probably don’t repress your feelings, You express them openly, with no filters. In fact, you experience in a deeper way the whole range of emotions that define the human being. This means that you sometimes become ambivalent. For example, you might feel elements of sadness and anguish in happy moments.

Does this sound like you? If so, is there anything wrong if you identify with this psycho-emotional profile? The answer is no. However, we live in a world that’s accustomed, and almost obsessed with the definition of ‘normality’. Therefore, if you have an intense personality, you might tend to be viewed as unpredictable and difficult to control or understand. In effect, people don’t understand you.

Let’s take a closer look.

Emotional intensity is a trait that frequently appears in highly empathic people with a high sensitivity profile.

Annoyed woman having been told she's too intense.

They say that you’re an intense person: what can you do?

If people tell you you’re an intense person, you might find yourself feeling rather annoyed and irritated about it. Nevertheless, there are many people who simply like to attach labels to others. Furthermore, our society doesn’t accept or understand those who openly express their emotions or respond more sensitively to any event.

These people see you as a rare bird who’s difficult not only to understand but also to master. They view you as unpredictable, overly passionate, and as displaying a non-conformist kind of vitality in a world that’s used to self-restraint. They think you’re secretive. However, they have a tendency to view any ‘different’ kinds of personalities as threatening.

Therefore, how should you act when you’re told you’re intense?

Understand who you are so you know you don’t have a problem

Intense personality is related to high sensitivity and other traits. Vanderbilt University in Tennessee and the Massachusetts Hospital published a study on the subject some years ago. They developed a scale for its detection.

Therefore, emotional intensity has characteristics that are measurable and identifiable. Let’s take a look at what they are:

  • Emotional depth and passion. You experience every emotion, whether of positive or negative valence, intensely. You’re also extremely committed and passionate about what you do.
  • High empathy and sensitivity. You possess the trait of high sensitivity, both emotional and physiological. This means that you tend to be affected by certain sounds, smells, and intense lights.
  • High perception and observation. You’re also extremely intuitive.
  • Your personality pattern correlates with extraversion.
  • You’re highly imaginative, creative, and dynamic. You’re active and have a need to connect with your environment.
  • You have a tendency to experience existential crises. For example, you question many aspects of reality such as society, relationships, the meaning of life, etc.
  • Emotional ambivalence. You commonly experience thoughts and/or emotions of both positive and negative valence.

If you’re emotionally intense, you experience ecstasy. This is an overwhelming emotion that you experience when you enjoy things… it might be art, your work, your friendships, or love. It’s an effusive way of enjoying life that can often be disconcerting or intimidating to others.

Why is being intense a problem for others?

When they tell you that you’re an intense person, the first thing you tend to feel is that there’s something wrong with you. However, you need to know that emotional intensity isn’t a disorder. As a matter of fact, these types of comments respond to the custom of seeing any kind of behavior as ‘excessive’ that doesn’t conform to the ‘norm’.

Eva is “too intense”. Paul is “too shy.” Laura is “too dramatic.” Peter is “too impulsive”. We all find it difficult to conform to the kind of behavior that doesn’t attract attention. If you have an intense personality, you’ll certainly experience ups and downs in your social relationships.

You’re dynamic and need great intellectual stimulation. This means that not everyone can keep up with you. You’re seen as “too hyperactive, passionate, changeable”… Also, given your great empathy and emotional depth, you often have problems in your emotional relationships. As a matter of fact, you don’t always feel as loved as you should. You’re also extremely sensitive to criticism and frequently suffer disappointment.

When you’re emotionally intense, the joy, passion and vitality that you experience are in direct proportion to the suffering you can sometimes experience. You live your life to the maximum.

Young girl thinking about when they tell me that I am an intense person

What you should remember

Being told that you’re an intense person isn’t the core of the problem. Because what others may think of you doesn’t matter at all. After all, what’s life if you don’t experience it authentically, intensely, and passionately? There’s one more thing. The sensitivity of your intense personality often makes it difficult for you to fit in, maintain satisfactory social relationships, and be immune to the injustices of the world. In addition, you might find it difficult to regulate your emotions, especially when they might lead to sadness, disappointment, contradiction, or anguish.

You need to learn how to make the most of your talents. You can do this by developing certain skills to manage your emotions. In addition, you must adjust your expectations about people and life itself and be more realistic. That’s because you’ve been born with wings but you sometimes fly too high and lose your perspective.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Acevedo, B. P., Aron, E. N., Aron, A., Sangster, M. D., Collins, N., & Brown, L. L. (2014). The highly sensitive brain: An fMRI study of sensory processing sensitivity and response to others’ emotions. Brain and Behavior4(4), 580–594.
  • Bachorowski, Jo-Anne & Braaten, Ellen. (1994). Emotional intensity: Measurement and theoretical implications. Personality and Individual Differences. 17. 191-199. 10.1016/0191-8869(94)90025-6.
  • Jacobsen, M. E. (2000). The gifted adult: A revolutionary guide for liberating everyday genius. Ballantine Books.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.