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When Your Friend Is Highly Sensitive To Touch

Do you know someone who doesn’t like hugs? Or someone who gets startled every time you touch them? The chances are, that they are sensitive to touch. How do you live with a person like that? Let me bring to you what I’ve researched and my personal experience as a Highly Sensitive Person.

So, if you want to know how to respond or how to treat your sensitive friend, I suggest that you bring a little empathy into the conversation. How do they feel when you touch them (even if it was accidental)? A lot of the time, when I feel someone else’s hand on my shoulder, back or arm, I get a crazy feeling in my stomach. You could even call it ‘butterflies’, but I would describe it more like someone’s turning skin of my stomach from the inside [Not pleasant!].

Unlike fibromyalgia (neurological disorder that makes you hypersensitive to touch), highly sensitive people can still tolerate someone touching them to some degree. But it is hard to really know how much these interlink because touch sensitivity in HSP’s haven’t been researched at all.

Based on P. Wyant (The Mighty, 2018), A. Morin (Understood, 2020) and my experience, here is a list of things you can do if your friend is highly sensitive to touch:

  • If you’re buying them clothes, make sure they are soft or from qualitative fabric.
  • Another great gift idea – blankets!
  • Hug them rarely, but still do hug them.
  • Or find other ways you can show your special connection, such as ‘pinky promise’.
  • Don’t stand too close to them.
  • If you’re in a queue and standing behind them, don’t breathe into their neck!
  • Don’t tickle them even for fun.
  • Don’t poke them, unless you’re really close.
  • Don’t invite them out on a windy day.
  • Understand that when they need a bath, it is their sacred time.
  • Avoid touching them, even if you’re just brushing some hair off their shoulder.
  • Or give a warning that you will touch them.

Have you found that you’re sensitive to touch?

Thank you for reading this post, and I’ll see you this Saturday for a flash fiction piece about touch sensitivity to illustrate how it feels for HSP’s to deal with being overwhelmed by touch.

Featured image source is here. Photo of a statue is sourced here.


By Jevgenija Zukova

I'm a second year university student doing Accounting and Finance course. I stand together with other female entrepreneurs to bring sensitivity into the business world, fun of art and creativity into local communities, and awareness of highly sensitive people.

One reply on “When Your Friend Is Highly Sensitive To Touch”

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