Episode 5 – There are No Ambiverts
Learn why HSP-Extrovert Jenn Turnham makes the bold claim that there are indeed NO ambiverts and what that has to do with high sensitivity.
One might be tempted to assume that all Highly Sensitive People are introverts. In fact, only 70% of HSPs are of this personality type. Years ago, I took a test to find out where I was on the continuum and was found to be in the middle, with a small shift towards extroversion. For years I have confidently referred to myself as an ambivert. I figured the remaining 30%, of non-introvert HSPs would be split between extroverts and ambiverts.
Today, my guest threw that whole revelation out of the window and suggests I must stand fully in my extroversion.
Jenn Turnham is on a mission to educate the world about the unique, brilliant, and often misunderstood, sub-section of the population known as Highly Sensitive Extroverts (HSP-Es), a group she believes possesses unique gifts that are in short supply in today’s world, and has powerful voices that need to be heard,
With her background in applied psychology (B. Psych, BWRT (Reg.), Jenn has been using her knowledge, training, and experience in helping people use the power of their minds to overcome challenges since 2008. She now focuses on helping HSP-E women thrive in a world that currently doesn’t quite understand them.
I invite you to listen to find out more about:
00:04:52 What is a highly sensitive person extrovert
00:06:04 Traits of HSP introverts
00:06:48 Traits of HSP extroverts
00:08:23 Differences between introverts and extroverts
00:14:14 Introvert Men
00:18:07 HSP Extrovert Women
00:25:27 Learning boundaries
00:27:17 Industrial Design
00:33:25 HSP Anthem
00:39:19 Ambiverts don't exist
Quiet by Susan Cain
Learn more about and follow Jenn Turnham:
This podcast is hosted by Clare Kumar. As a productivity catalyst, highly sensitive executive coach, and speaker, Clare cultivates sustainable performance in busy professionals so they can keep making rich contributions in all areas of life and achieve greater fulfillment. She inspires leaders, professionals, employees, and entrepreneurs to respect humanity and boost performance through marrying productivity and pleasure. After all, why shouldn’t you have fun while getting things done? If you're a visual learner, please watch this episode on YouTube.
Ready to learn more? Contact Clare here!
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And don't forget, everyone (including YOU) deserves a happy space.
Song Credit: Cali by WatR. from Pixabay
Clare Kumar: You're listening to episode five of the Happy Space Podcast. Today, we're going to explore why HSP extrovert Jenn Turnham says there are no ambiverts. Let's find out what she's talking about.
Welcome to the Happy Space Podcast, a place where highly sensitive people thrive. Not only will we learn how to better navigate life with our superpowers, we'll find ways to better manage the challenges too. We'll hear from product and service innovators, space designers, and leaders who believe in creating an inclusive neurologically safe world.
If you are highly sensitive or want to better understand and support someone who is, then you are in the right place. I'm your host, Clare Kumar, and I'm so very happy you are here.
You might think that all highly sensitive people are introverted. Well, in fact, there's a healthy number of extroverts as well. A few years ago, I took a test to find out where I was on that continuum, and the results of that test showed me I was pretty much in the middle, slightly leaning towards extroversion, and I should refer to myself as an ambivert.
So you can imagine my confusion, surprise, and result in curiosity when I stumbled upon Jenn Turnham, she is a coach for HSPs based out of Perth, Australia, and she specializes in talking about highly sensitive people who are extroverted and she claims, in her opinion, there is no such thing as an ambivert.
So I was actually, like I said, really curious and I thought I really need to talk to Jenn to understand her hypothesis here and find out more about why she thinks so. There's the combination of introversion and HSP or even extroversion and HSP. Because of the traits of sensitivity, the interpretations of introversion and extroversion can kind of get a bit muddy.
And Jenn takes us through this conversation and clears the mud so we can, we kind of get a better picture of what she's talking about. To tell you a little bit more about Jenn, she is on a mission to educate the world about the unique, brilliant, and often misunderstood subsection of the population known as highly sensitive extrovert women. In acronyms this is HSP-E. She's a group that she believes should have a powerful voice that needs to be heard for we possess unique gifts that are in short supply in today's world. She's got a passionate, quirky, bubbly, buoyant, eclectic personality that she expresses in her blog and through her Facebook group for HSP-E women, it's called Highly Sensitive Extroverts Bright Sparks. She's got a background in Applied Psychology and she's been using her knowledge, training, and experience in helping people use the power of their minds to overcome challenges since 2008. She now focuses specifically on helping HSP-E women thrive in a world that doesn't quite understand them.
Today's episode of the Happy Space podcast is sponsored by clarekumar.com. Not only am I excited to spearhead the Happy Space movement, I love coaching busy professionals to achieve greater productivity and well-being — the two go hand in hand. I also adore taking the stage. If you are looking for an interactive engaging event to inspire and invite action, whether be on successful work-life integration, sustainable performance, organization and productivity, or expanding inclusivity, please visit clarekumar.com and find out more. Oh! And if you haven’t already joined the Happy Space Pod, it’s our complimentary online community. You’ll find it right at clarekumar.com/happyspace.
Hi Jenn. I'm so thrilled you're joining me for this interview. I'm you know, as someone who realized through a test many years ago that she was an ambivert, and then to learn that you think there's no such thing, I was so intrigued right away to learn more about your view on the HSP personality and specifically extroversion, and why you've chosen to really focus on this group of people. So welcome and let’s start with, if you can explain, what's a highly sensitive person extrovert.
Jenn Turnham: Okay. Well, thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be having this conversation and to connect with you and be on the podcast, so thank you so much. So a highly sensitive, are we assuming that everybody knows what an HSP is or would you like me to explain?
Clare Kumar: Yeah, go into that. You can assume that this audience knows what an HSP is. And the beginning episode of the podcast has a really detailed breakdown of the traits, superpowers and struggles. And so, yes, you can assume that the audience understands high sensitivity, but this angle of introversion and extroversion. Why do we need to know, to understand who does that apply to? And what does it look like when you add extroversion to HSP?
Jenn Turnham: I think that's when it gets really interesting. And what I've come across in speaking to a lot of HSPs out there, online clients, is that a lot of them think they're introverts, but they're actually not, they're extroverts. And it's because if you look at the traits of HSP and the traits of an introvert, there's a lot of overlap and there's a lot more similarities than if you look at the traits of HSP and the traits of an extrovert because extroverts are very contradictory in fact to the HSP trait.
So I actually like to call HSP extroverts, of which I'm one and I believe you are one, too. Um, I like to call us walking contradictions. So that's because we essentially have two different personalities living within us that are often competing directly against each other. So HSP extrovert, the simplest way, I suppose to describe it is I like to… the way I get people to help figure out which one they are is I think it's easier to figure out are you an extrovert? Or are you an introvert first based on the clear differences between them and then obviously the HSP test is an easy way to figure out. I think you've got a quiz. I've got a quiz. Dr. Elaine Aaron's got the self-test as well. So the main difference between HSP extroverts and HSP introverts is HSP extroverts have extrovert traits.
Clare Kumar: Can you elaborate for people who are just like, wait a minute, I've heard about this introversion-extroversion thing, but I'm really not sure what concretely those terms mean and where I fit. So maybe you can elaborate a little bit on that and expand on the percentage of people that we're talking about here within the HSP community, how does it split out?
Jenn Turnham: So the, well, the statistics is probably the easiest thing to start with. So research suggests that HSPs make up about 15 to 20% of the population, but of that 15 to 20%, 70% are introverts.
So by far, the majority of HSPs are introverts. So only 30% of the 15 to 20% are extroverts. Now it took me a little while to do the maths on this, but I worked out that if you extrapolate that out to the population in general, it works out to be about 4.5 to 6% of people are highly sensitive extroverts.
So the main difference between introverts and extroverts are introverts are very inward-focused. They have a very rich, inner life. Those HSPs listening will think, “yep”. HSP extroverts have a rich inner life as well, and again, that's the first contradiction. Um, they also, they respond differently to the reward chemicals.
So HSP extroverts aren't as sensitive to dopamine, so we are constantly on the lookout for more dopamine hits. So extroverts essentially look for external stimulation to get those dopamine hits. Whereas introverts prefer the reward chemical acetylcholine. It's a little more subtle, and so that's a clear brain difference between introverts and extroverts.
The other big one is where we get our energy from. So I like to use the analogy of if we were a mobile phone, introverts essentially have their own inbuilt charger. And these differences I'm talking about are straight introverts and extroverts without HSP being part of the mix. So they have their own inbuilt charger.
So essentially they're always plugged in and they're always being charged up. So that's why when introverts are in an externally stimulating environment, it can be too much for them because then it's kind of overload, because they've got external stuff coming in, plus they're already fully charged themselves.
Whereas extroverts, we need to look for an external charger to get our energy. So it's like us plugging ourselves in to an external charger and those externally stimulating environments or novel environments, that's where we plug ourselves in we get our energy. So that's another really clear difference with that.
And a true extrovert will also struggle with too much alone time. And again, the HSPs are going to be thinking, okay, this is where it gets confusing because HSPs need alone time. Um, but if we're just talking clear introverts and extroverts without HSP, then extroverts struggle if they spend too much time alone, they start to kind of go a bit stir crazy because they need that external stimulation.
Clare Kumar: Well, it's making me think back to when the pandemic started and I'm someone who's worked from home for about 20 years on and off, and was quite comfortable working by myself. But when the world shut down and external communication was kind of shut down, we weren't interacting the same.
We were kind of afraid of each other. I was losing it within two weeks. I was like, this is not cool. And I adopted my cats because I thought, you know what, Iguess I needed this external, I need those eyeballs looking at me. I need someone, some things, someone to need me kind of thing.
Jenn Turnham: Yep. Definitely. It's that interaction. And that stimulation that we get from interacting with other people or with our environment. So it is a distinct difference between introverts and extroverts and the extroverts will relate to that. In a minute, I'll explain how sometimes it can be a bit muddied waters when you add HSP.
And the other main difference is how we process information. So an introvert will process everything internally, so they will think before they speak. Whereas an extrovert needs to speak in order to think no, you're
Clare Kumar: You cannot see my mouth just drop open because I'm like, oh, this is a conundrum I've had. So, as a highly sensitive person, I'm a deep thinker I'm processing, but my mind-to-mouth connection has always been on rapid fire. So, yeah, even Jacques last night, my partner's like, so I'm saying I'm tired, oh, I'm tired, I'm tired. He's like, “it usually works better if you stop talking when you're trying to go to sleep”.
It's so… I found someone who can call me out in the best way. I'm like, I said this morning, “did I really keep talking?” He's like, “yeah, you did”. Boy, does it help to understand the fullness of the expression of the trait of introversion and extroversion. And then now marry that with the trait of high sensitivity. Holy moly. This is super powerful. You're explaining beautifully, and clearly this is resonating very well with me and I'm processing it verbally, which is why I think, you know, maybe being a podcast host is a good thing for me.
Jenn Turnham: And it's funny you say that about your partner, because my fiancé’s the same quite often, he'll say to me, “you haven't had many people to talk to today, have you?” because we'll be on the phone because he works away, we'll be on the phone and I'll be just talking, talking, talking, talking, talking, and he says “you've kind of need to get your words out today, don't you?”
Clare Kumar: We need partners who have some room for us.
Jenn Turnham: So that's a very clear difference as well. If you are somebody who needs to, and the classic challenge that extroverts run into traditionally when we are talking with introverts is, particularly introverted men, because men have this tendency, the way their brains are structured to solve problems. So an extrovert talking to an introverted male who keeps giving us a solution, we get frustrated because we're like, we just need to talk it through. So we kind of, we're processing as we speak. And they're just trying to jump in with a solution and we go, no, no, no, no, no, just let me talk, let me talk.
So that's another classic sign that you are an extrovert, is that you kind of need to talk things through in order to help you come to a conclusion, or come to a decision. Whereas an introvert tends to not even speak until they've already got to their conclusion or their solution.
Clare Kumar: Oh my gosh. So, I was married to an introvert and I'm like, where's the answer? Where's like, are you coming up with anything? And there was, you know, there was also, it was to the point where in his family too they had thought they had spoken but they hadn't said anything. So like I just told you, like, no, no, you actually didn't. So there's I think extreme versions of both sides, which are really, really challenging then to have coexist. I know that you specialize in working with women in particular. And I wonder if you can share a little bit about what brought you to that.
Jenn Turnham: Okay, sure. So I'd already, so when I first started coaching, I was looking for, I've got a short history. I've got a chronic illness. I had to give up my singing career because I gave up my standard career to chase my dream, to be a singer, had to give that up because of a chronic illness. So I thought, well, what can I do? That's a little bit more sustainable. I thought, I've got a psychology degree. So I'm going to go into coaching and I'd already kind of decided I want to wanted to help women.
And that was because the process of me giving up my career to chase my dream was a really scary, but very rewarding process. And I was meeting so many people along the way, in particular, women stood out to me and I was getting things like, oh, you're so brave, and I wish I could do that. And so I really started to notice the number of women out there who tend to just stick on the path. because I think we all kind of grow up with this subconscious path that's laid out for us. Like for me, mine was I was going to grow up, do the best I could at high school, get into university, do my degree, have a career, meet Mister Right, get married, have kids, give up my career to raise my kids because that's what my mom did and that's what I wanted to do, and that was the subconscious kind of path I saw for myself.
Now I deviated from that massively and it was the best thing I ever did. I don't even have kids and I'm not going to have kids, even though that was part of my kind of path. And so I was meeting all these women who I think were just subconsciously following that path and not actually stopping to think, am I really happy? Is this really what I want out of life and not even necessarily realizing that they do have a choice and you can take a massive side step on your path like I did, and go, okay, see you later career.
I'm going to go off here and not even have a job and go and chase my dream to be a singer. I did get a part-time job to pay the bills, obviously, but that was the best thing I ever did. And so that's how I started working with women, because I really wanted to show them that you have a lot more choices in life than you perhaps realize or you're just not even stopping to think. And then the way I came to work specifically with highly sensitive extrovert women is I, my dad actually gave me the book Quiet by Susan Cain because he was trying to help me understand all the introverts in my life because I'm surrounded by male introverts.
My dad and my brother are both very introverted. My fiance is very introverted. My fiance's dad is very introverted. And so my dad said, here you go, have this book and I feel a little bit bad because I feel like I got more out of the book for me than I did about them. because Susan talks about highly sensitive and I'd never come across highly sensitive before, because I had, when I did my psychology degree was basically the time when Dr. Elaine Aaron was doing all her research. So it wasn't covered in my degree. So the minute I heard it in Susan Cain's book, straight away started googling, and then I made the connection, “oh my gosh, I'm a highly sensitive extrovert”. because I already knew that I was an extrovert that's quite clear to most people.
And so it was the missing piece of the puzzle of me understanding myself finally after all these years, because I was in my thirties when I discovered it. And so for me it was just this, oh my goodness, now everything makes sense. All the struggles I've had in my life, all the challenges I had growing up. Being a teenager, bitchy girls at school, and all of that sort of stuff. Like it just all made sense. And so the more I looked into it, the more passionate I became about helping HSP extrovert women because I think they're an amazing bunch of people. I think that their talents and their gifts are often go unnoticed because of the challenges that HSPs typically have to overcome.
Growing up in a society that doesn't really know about us and isn't set up for us. So it just became something that I was really, really passionate about. And then I decided, so, as I said, the women stuff kind of came first and then the HSP extrovert stuff came later.
Clare Kumar: Yeah, love it. And it's building on this experience with a psychology degree. You studied in psychology, right? So you're building on that. And now you've decided to coach with this group of women whose, you say, talents go unnoticed. Can you speak a little bit more about why this group, why you deem this group is so special and why it's so important to support that talent?
Jenn Turnham: Okay. So there's a couple of reasons. The main reason that all HSPs struggle is because society is overwhelming and overstimulating for HSPs and all the HSPs listening to this will of course understand. And the reason we have challenges isn't because there's anything wrong with us, contrary to what most of us grow up thinking, that there's something wrong with us.
It's simply because we live in a society that doesn't understand us. It isn't set up for us. So we have these challenges that we have to overcome before we can even, I suppose, start to look at our strengths and start to live into our strengths. And HSP extroverts in particular, I think are really special because I apologize to any HSP introverts listening to this, I'm not trying to take away from your amazing.
But I think the benefit that HSP extroverts have is because of our extrovert nature, we are more kind of out and about and connecting with people and putting ourselves out there. So I feel we have this kind of unique ability to actually change the world. If you want to talk big picture, because I think we have that ability to connect. We have that ability to educate people about HSPs. I think we are perhaps more relatable than the introverts only because introverts are very inward-focused and they're not putting themselves out there as much as HSP extroverts. So I just feel we have this unique opportunity to change the world with our gifts and our strengths of being HSP.
Clare Kumar: I love how you put that. And I fully agree. I mean, that's part of what this mission is, right? This Happy Space is because everyone deserves a Happy Space and it's to really inspire that change in the world to create a more tender world so that all highly sensitive people can make their richest contributions so that we go from being marginalized.
Being normalized to being fully appreciated and recognized like that is the goal. So, you know, my hope is that people listening will say, wow, this is really interesting to understand more about the trait and the different nuances, and to look for the people that are on our teams and in our world to say, Ah, somebody might need more time to think or talk it out right to express themselves. But let's not dismiss the fact that, you know, they might need a quieter environment for that to happen, or they might need, you know, less bright lighting or they, you know, there's so many things in the world, which, I mean, I will call it toxic at times.
I went out for dinner last night. We went out. Jacques and I went out for dinner and Toronto has just recently, I mean a week ago kind of opened up to full-capacity dining. Now I forgot how loud restaurants are. I walked in. I was like, oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. I mean, I had stopped going out to most restaurants, especially on a Saturday night because they're packed and because there's been no consciousness in our society to say, could we all kind of moderate our voices so that we, you know, we protect our vocal chords singer lady?
And so I did a couple of things. We chose a table at the back, which was away from the screens at the front, which have no business being in this restaurant whatsoever, and I chose a table that their tables for two are quite large long. So you're basically three feet apart from your, your dining companion and they're so wonderfully accommodating.
This is Azaria’s in Toronto, so shout out to that restaurant. I had them turn the table sideways so we could sit closer to each other so that we would be able to communicate. And I, because of course I needed to talk, so now that that's on the table, I didn't want to lose my voice because I had the TV segment this morning and I wonder, does this come up in the work that you do?
Because it's a big part of what I do is building this skill and the comfort and the language to be able to say, could you accommodate me? Could you help me out by doing this thing that brings, makes the world a little kinder to me? To ask for it. So can you turn the table, can you turn the table? I've asked for the music to be turned down, that kind of thing. Where do we find our voice? And, do you help with that kind of work with your clients as well?
Jenn Turnham: A lot of that I think is boundaries-type work. So it's about learning to. And that is a struggle. I think that a lot of HSPs will have boundaries in particular, but also asking for what we want and asking for what we need, I think that's a big struggle for a lot of us because we are very others-focused and we're very aware of other people and we care about other people that quite often we put ourselves last. So I think that's definitely part of what I do for sure, is teaching people boundaries so that they don't get taken advantage of. They don't get walked all over, also learning to ask for what they want and what they need, which is the example that you just gave in the restaurant. And that it's okay to have, and I think the big difference with this is once HSPs recognize that it's a shift from that whole growing up, thinking there's something wrong with us to actually going well, no, we are just different from other people.
And once you kind of accept that it's different as opposed to wrongness, then I think it becomes easier to kind of stand up and say, well, hang on a minute. No, this isn't working for me and that's okay. And I think that's the piece that is missing for a lot of people is it's okay to be overwhelmed by the fact there's 10 TVs on all on a different channel in the restaurant or the noise, because they do the same in Australia.
I remember back in the day, acoustics in restaurants were considered when they were built. They had, I don't know what they did, whether they had petting on the walls or, but these days it's, it's like wooden floors and high ceilings and sounds just reverberating all over the place. So loud, so I can totally relate to what you just shared.
Clare Kumar: I think that it's industrial design. It's this industrial design thing that hit and all the soft furnishings evaporated. So unless there's sound dampening in the ceiling, soft furnishings, all around carpet on the floor, all of that was removed from our homes as well as the dining environment. And we live in a basic echo chamber. It was interesting with the conversation with the server yesterday. I explained, I said, look, I have a TV segment tomorrow, and I'm trying to protect my voice and make sure I don't have to shout. And she said, I had to give up my voice-over work because of working in the restaurant.
So she understood. She's like, okay, okay. And I posted this in my group, the Happy Space Pod today. She said, when you come next, ask for the quiet table. And she pointed at it was over across the way, and it was one table for two in between two banquets. And because, and I'm like, it's not even the quiet table on the outside of the aisle. I'm like, I'm going to be right in there in the back where I'm just sound sheltered. She's like, you need to ask, but that table, call me, tell me who you are. That's where you're sitting next time.
Jenn Turnham: Nice. And see, they're the sorts of things that you can learn when you start having those conversations, is you actually meet people who understand you also help spread the word. The more conversations we have like that the more change is likely to occur. But if we don't have the conversations and we don't stand up for our needs and our wants, then change is never going to occur, because there's just not that opportunity, because there's no reason for it. If nobody's complaining about it, then nothing's going to change that.
Clare Kumar: Well, that's it. And so. Yeah, I think, you know what we have. Empathy, peace. So we're thinking about others and we're thinking about other situations we don't want to disturb. We have to put ourselves in that empathy mix to, you know, to act out of that fierce self-compassion that Kristin Neff writes about, which is looking at protecting self.
And so stepping into that, I mean, it feels a bit brave, but once you do it and you realize nobody fell apart and, and you practice softening language and all, that's so fun to be able to unlock. You know, it's like levels of a game. I just unlocked that restaurant. It's now going to work for me. I unlocked my dentist office by, by saying I crowdsourced.
Dental treatments are stressful, and they can really be kind of traumatic potentially. And so I was looking for a new dentist because I didn't feel my last dentist was particularly careful with pain management. And so I crowdfunded a crowdsource, sorry, by a dentist from my neighborhood.
And it was somebody. Son is autistic, and she said, they take such good care of him there. And so I went there and I went to see this dental office that's on two floors and you go in upstairs and then downstairs in the basement are most of the rooms and the walls don't go all the way up to the top and there's music and there's no doors.
I sat in that chair and I could, I was overwhelmed in that chair before anything had happened. I said, is this the only room to be seen in. And she said, no, there's a couple of rooms upstairs. I said I'm finding it very noisy and I don't want to hear the conversation in the other room. And I don't want to hear the news and I don't want to hear the music from the other side, like, and I don't want to see people walking by.
I need a more quiet room. She said, oh yeah, there's two rooms upstairs. Well, there's two surgery rooms upstairs. The chair is about a million times more comfortable. There's no music. There's nobody walking by and so I will only be seen there on Friday afternoons now. And so I'm sure some people who don't understand HSP or asking for were like princess, but it's like, wow, you know what? I'm looking after myself in that potentially traumatic situation to make sure I have reserves afterward to be everything I need to be to everybody.
Jenn Turnham: And I think that's, that's the key piece and that's cause that's how I started. Even before I started working with HSPs the key piece with women in general, often put everybody else before themselves. And it's that whole thing about, well, if we are not looking after ourselves, we are not the best version of us. And don't the people that we are trying to look after by putting them first don't they deserve the best of us? So it's kind of like, you can't really give the best to your loved ones, if you are not being your best, and being your best means looking after you and your needs.
And so I think that's just a slight shift in the way to look at it, to make it a little bit easier for HSPs to put themselves first and two, as you say, put themselves in that empathy mix so that they're considering their own needs as well as everybody else.
Clare Kumar: Yeah. Brilliantly said. So you said you're a singer. Well you and you maybe not singing professionally now, do you sing for fun?
Jenn Turnham: Yeah, yeah, yeah. The neighbors often say, oh, we are just singing the other day.
Clare Kumar: So if we lived closer, we would definitely have to jam. It's been my hobby for many years too. But I'm wondering, I think of musicians and singers, and now I often play go through my life playing spot, the HSP so sort of the creatives out there, there's a lot who I'm like, oh, and we know Alanis Morrisette self identifies as HSP, right? Is there any particular song that comes to mind, resonates with you as a highly sensitive person?
Jenn Turnham: Oh my gosh. I'm so glad you asked this question. I'm actually going on a podcast soon to talk specifically about the song that I think should be the HSP Anthem. This lady does podcasts about songs that resonate with people. So the one that I think should be the HSP Anthem is called Heart by Imogen Brough, which is B R O U G H.
I'm pretty sure, I probably should double-check that, but yeah. Imogen Brough, Heart. And it talks about the halo being around your heart rather than around your head. And it's just the words and it just gives me goosebumps and I just think, this is us, it's talking about HSPs. And so if you get a chance to listen to it, just yeah, listen to the words and yeah, I just think it's a beautiful song and I think it could be our Anthem.
Clare Kumar: oh, wonderful. I will definitely look it up and I'll put a link in the show notes once I find it. I feel like when I watch films, the ones that resonate with me most to have highly sensitive characters. And so Amelie, it's a French film, Have you seen it?
Jenn Turnham: I think I might have maybe. Is it quite old?
Clare Kumar: It's quite a few years old now. Must be 15, 20 years old, I think. Yeah. I think I might have years ago. And it's, I fell in love with it because the character is so empathetic. You're just watching quirky and just deeply like processing things on. Music and song, I think are just wonderful places for the HSP to express themselves and we can kind of see it there.
So I'm going to finish with one question for you and it's for you specifically in your journey through life, building skills and being the best version of yourself. Being a highly sensitive person extrovert, how does it sit with you as you now understand this picture so much more fully? How does it let you be the best person that you can be right now?
Jenn Turnham: I think for me, what it does is, as I said earlier, it was kind of the missing piece of the puzzle. So I struggled a lot in my teenage years. I struggled a lot in my early twenties and get a bit emotional talking about it. I've read my diary from when I was 14 and my heart breaks for this young Jenn who was trying to find her way in the world. And it was so obvious that she was just trying to fit in which I think all teenagers do, and because I didn't know I was HSP I didn't have anybody to normalize that for me. I feel like that just added to my struggle. So I just grew up feeling or sensing that something was different about me knowing that I didn't really quite fit in.
And just doing these things and like some of the choices I made, some of the things I did, I kind of cringe a bit because I kind of go, oh, that was just coming from that, that lost place of just trying to be part of the gang kind of thing. And so I think what it's done is it's allowed me to look back. I used to look back with perhaps a little bit of shame, maybe on some of the things that I've done in my teenage years and early twenties.
Whereas now I feel like I can look back with compassion for that young Jenn who was just trying to find her way in the world. So that's one thing that I think has really helped. And I think now what it does is I stand proud in my HSP extrovertness and I sing it out to the world. And I know a lot of people aren't comfortable with that and that's an individual choice, but I just feel like it's allowed me to accept myself because I understand myself better now.
And so I kind of can be proud of being an HSP extrovert. And I love the fact that we are super unique and we're a minority within a minority. And I think HSP extroverts in particular are the real quirky ones where we're a little bit out there quite often. We're a little bit too loud, too much for people, and people are kind of going, whoa, who's this person?
And any HSP extrovert listening to this can relate. I'm sure. And so it's allowed me to kind of go, this is who I am. If you don't like it, that's okay. You are just not my people. So it's just allowed me, I think, to have that self-acceptance coming from that place of understanding that I didn't have growing up.
Clare Kumar: Jenn, that's beautiful. I want to give 14-year-old Jenn a big hug and say, look, girl, look what's going to happen, it's going to be beautiful. Rich magnetic, warm, generous. I've so loved this discussion with you as one HSP-E to another. I celebrate the way you are being loud and proud in the world. Just tell us if you don't mind where people can find you and your community.
Jenn Turnham: Sure. The only other thing I just wanted to bring up in case you kind of get off and go, oh, we never actually talked about why I don't believe they're ambiverts so, yeah.
Clare Kumar: You know what? Yeah, please. Because that was, I think when we, so we did a pre-interview a little while ago and I said, what are you talking about? There's no, ambiverts because when I did the test I was, I'm just an ambivert. I'm like everything to everyone, but I'm on the extroverted side. And so, yeah. Thank you so much.
Jenn Turnham: That was the kind of crux of what we said, so I sure was
Clare Kumar: So, you know, what a great guest you are. Thank you.
Jenn Turnham: No worries. So I think the challenge with the, well, any sort of personality test is it's very difficult to have a robust test. So, and I think if you have any sort of personality test that doesn’t take into consideration HSP, you’re going to run into troubles because I came up with ambivert on most tests as well.
So the Myers-Briggs is probably one of the more robust tests, but I find that even my HSP extrovert ladies sometimes come up with an I because the first letter of your Myers-Briggs is I or E and that's introvert or extrovert, so it depends on kind of where they're at in life.
And I think because of the two contradictory parts of our personality, our HSP is always con competing with our E side, depending on who's winning that day is probably whether they come out, I or E, the Myers Briggs. That's just my theory. So I think HSP is what confuses things.
So in terms of why I don't think there are ambiverts, there are a couple of things. First of all, introversion-extraversion is on a continuum. Quite common in psychology so there are going to be those that are very close to the middle. So there, I suppose, introvert or extrovert traits are less pronounced, but there would still be a preference in their brain because science has shown that there are clear differences between the introvert and the extrovert brain.
So there may be people that are close to the middle that kind of maybe feel like they could be either way. I guarantee that they would still have a preference in their brain through all those things that we talked about. Do they process inside? Do they process through speaking? Where do they get their energy from all those characteristics?
The other thing is that, as I said, if you add HSP to the mix that confuses everything. Particularly for the extroverts. So that's why a lot of, I think HSP extroverts potentially either think they're an introvert or they say they're an ambivert because the HSP traits are very similar to introverts so that's another reason why people might think that they're an ambivert when they're actually HSP extrovert.
And the other reason is that because society rewards extroverted behavior or extrovert traits, there are a lot of introverts who have learned to extrovert pretty well. So there's a lot of people who make a living as speakers. So you would think, oh, they must be an extrovert, but what you don't see is the downtime that they need after that speech that they did to recover.
And before that speech and before, so you got to psych yourself up. You got to have that downtime after. So there are some introverts, and this is introverts without HSP in the mix as well who have learned to be more extroverted, but it doesn't change who they are fundamentally. It doesn't change their brain preferences and it doesn't change where they fit on all those criteria.
I talked about the differences between introverts and extroverts. So they might feel like they're an ambivert because they've gotten good at extroverting. So that's why I don't think that ambiverts actually exist. I think it was something that can always come up perhaps before HSP was known about to explain the people that didn't quite fit. And they, that would be us the highly sensitive extroverts. Yeah. So hopefully that clears it up a bit.
Clare Kumar: It's a beautiful explanation. And just for listeners, because I'm curious and I'm like, what are you talking about, Jenn, this ambivert thing. How are you poking holes in it? Jenn and I went through a popular test for introversion extroversion, and it was so evident that some of the questions trying to point to intro introversion, rather than extroversion, we're really AB testing about sensitivity.
I was like what? That's an HSP thing. So yes, I can see how it's muddied and I can see how with tests probably more work has been done. It's an interesting thing. Looking at quizzes and the amount of time that's available to kind of discern something, it's a fun way to learn about yourself though. And I think the bottom line is spending some time to understand yourself better can pay off immensely.
Jenn Turnham: A hundred percent agree. I just think the more you understand yourself, the more you're likely to accept and love yourself. Yeah. And then the world is your oyster.
Clare Kumar: Okay. So let's now we'll finish. So thank you so much for that, because that was really important. Point listeners have been like, yo lady, you said were going to talk about this and where did, where did you go? Let's finish with an invitation for people to find you online and connect with you.
Jenn Turnham: Sure. Well, my favorite place to connect with people is in my free Facebook group. So it's called Highly Sensitive Extroverts, Bright Sparks. It's where I spend most of my time. And the reason I like to send people there is because I just feel like we can get to know each other much better in a Facebook group, as opposed to just in a public place, I suppose, because it's a private group. So I'd love anybody listening to jump in and chat to me more. There it'd be great.
Clare Kumar: Wonderful. Well, I'm sure they'll enjoy it just as much as I have. Thanks so much for joining me today.
Jenn Turnham: Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure.
Clare Kumar: Thank you so much for listening. You can find all of the Happy Space podcast episodes over at HappySpacePod.com.
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