Hi Katie! Thanks for responding :) Absolutely, I have had that accusation levelled against me as well. I have been told I’m too “intense”, that I’m “demanding” etc… Here are my thoughts on that:
1. It is easy to seem like the ‘intense’ person in a relationship/conversation if you’re the naturally more forthcoming party.
2. Calling someone intense is a bit vague, and needs to be interrogated (in my opinion). This is because it either seems to usually mean that one person feels an imbalance in conversation (i.e. one of you seems to have more going on, and attention is not being spread evenly to their concerns/happenings in life — so maybe they want more of the attention!) OR they might feel that they aren’t able to be ‘helpful’ when the other person has a lot to say or a lot going on (i.e. they have no idea how to respond, or to help, and that’s confronting for them!).

Put simply, in my experience, I have been called ‘too intense’ only when it came off the back of a bad period in my life — when I did need more support from some important people around me. It turned out in my case that the person felt frustrated, like they weren’t able to really be there for me, so they called me intense as a way of demonstrating that frustration — and yes, shutting the conversation down. It came from a genuine place of wanting to be supportive but not knowing how, and communicating that badly. And for the record, it was in chat for me as well.

I think it’s easier to call someone intense if they are the person sending more messages. And ultimately, it can be hard not to take it as a personal attack, but I do genuinely think it’s just a matter of being a person who gives more away (is more vulnerable, more open to chatting) in combination with wanting to talk about the big stuff (not the small), and perhaps being a little more trigger happy with texts or other forms of communication, and wanting the other person to respond. If the other person is shutting things down, it’s worth asking why.

Communication, at the end of the day, is a two-way street. So if you need to talk about the big stuff, you need to know you can do that with someone — if they just can’t be bothered, or say it’s too intense, then either you need a new friend or that person just needs a little break. It’s always worth clarifying what’s going on though. If they are having a hard time too and just want to chat Netflix for a bit, that is understandable. But if they are generally not interested in communicating about the kinds of things you’re interested in, it might signal a mismatch.

I would add that I think “intense” is easily levelled as a ‘bad thing’, particularly at women. And I’m not here for it! As an “intense” woman, I’m always willing to be flexible with people around me, but I’m not willing to say that I shouldn’t have deep chats with my friends. That’s part of the friendship-deal with me! And I think I accept that now, after time.
So don’t take intensity as an insult. Chances are you are more open, and want to talk about the deep things that really matter to you. And that’s fine! It’s just about finding your audience.

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Trying to live better. Writing on Mental Health, Relationships, and Living Ethically. Editor/Podcaster.

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