This post is about how as HSPs and empaths,—and especially an INFJ like me—the effort to put ourselves out there at times can carry a cost, but doing so is necessary in our modern world.

As a bit of a backstory to this post, I’d been living in southern California for nearly two years now following what I thought would be a great job opportunity. I should state that the job had been a good one, but the long-term effects of being apart from my girlfriend Karen (not to mention not wanting to live in southern California), and the many experiences with my boss—a Type-A with whom I had repeated difficulties—I reached the breaking point.

When I took the position, I made it clear that although I was committed to the firm, I wasn’t committed to living and working in Orange County long-term and in two year’s time I would either expect some sort of accommodation in working from a remote location, the existing office in the San Francisco Bay Area, or I’d look for another opportunity. My boss, to his credit, was receptive and sensitive to my situation—at least he appeared to be so at certain times—and we spoke of a San Jose project that we were tracking as being assigned to me in 2019.

Unfortunately, he recently informed me that he didn’t foresee that there was much he could do about instituting a change in the company culture that hadn’t yet embraced the potential for employees to work in a remote manner (something that doesn’t make any sense to me at all in the 21st Century). He also wasn’t willing to support a transfer to the existing Bay Area office. I suspected that he never brought the idea up to his superiors, though I have no evidence—call it a MenPathic knowing.

Upon realizing that our initial conversations were nothing more than a non-existent dangling carrot, I decided to initiate my job search in Silicon Valley and the greater San Francisco Bay Area.

That was about a month ago and recently I had an in-person interview for a position in that would take me back to the Bay Area and reunite me with Karen.


My Meyers-Briggs personality type is Introverted iNtuitive Feeling Judging or INFJ. As such, my private and introverted self understands the necessity of being in the spotlight in this manner, and while I can do that without impeding my performance, it doesn’t mean there isn’t an impact both energetically and emotionally.

I’m 61 and I have a significant number of successful career interviews in my experience ranging from medical school admissions panel interviews to job interviews of all kinds. When my skill sets are a good match with the position, I know that I interview well. I’m usually confident, friendly, even a tad extroverted. However, the effort required to perform in this manner—as I said above—carries a cost.

After the two interviews, I exited the building located adjacent to Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants (my hometown MLB team for 30+ years), I joined Karen across King Street outside the Starbucks Coffee where she’d camped out with her MacBook for the time I was engaged in the interview.


As we walked to a nearby restaurant for lunch, I attempted to share with her the content of the interviews as well as my reactions to it. As time progressed, however, I became less able to do so. I realized that I needed to use the one tool that’s proven to be indispensable in such moments—the wonderfully therapeutic buffer period; It’s a period of time strategically inserted between intense social interaction (the interviews where my introverted nature has been placed in the background) and the time for sharing openly about the experience.

Most HSPs and empaths, especially the most introverted among us, need this buffer period between periods of hyper-stimulation (like a concert setting or a series of stimulant-rich social interactions) and then sharing the experience with others.

It’s the reason why after a long meeting—when my brain starts feeling full—that I need to retreat to an office or private space to regain some balance.

The buffer period can take many forms, including:

  • taking a stroll outside

  • going for a coffee with another introverted co-worker

  • taking some deep breaths

  • putting on my headphones and listening to some soothing music

The Buffer Effects

If I take the time for the buffer period and regain my balance, I find that there are three distinct effects.

  1. My brain fog dissipates - I am better able to communicate both in writing and in conversation

  2. Clarity of thinking returns - I am better able to formulate plans, outlines, and structure the rest of my day

  3. A renewed source of energy is recaptured - I feel whole again and ready to engage the world


Do you have a specific mode of buffering yourself from periods of overstimulation so that you can regain some balance?

If so, have you experienced similar effects?