20 Signs You Have a Sensing Personality Type

Sensing or Intuition? Which one rings true for your personality? What is your default when taking in and processing new information or experiences? What style of learner are you? Do others detect a pattern in the way you comprehend what’s going on around you?

Do they nod knowingly and point out that “you’ve always been this way”?

Your Typefinder personality type falls between two distinct ends of a spectrum. Perhaps you land somewhere in the middle of Sensing and Intuition, but odds are that when you are on autopilot, when no one is looking, or when you are hit with times of stress, your personality will take over and lean you definitely into one camp or the other.

“But I’ve never been any way,” you say? Refuse to be put into a box? To be labeled? Are you fighting to be free of personality typing? You rebel. Read no further. You’re an Intuitive.

If, on the other hand, the labeled box is a comforting thought, you might be a Sensor. After all, it’s nice when things make sense. And you deserve to know why on earth you’ve always been this way.

You know you’re a Sensor when…

  1. You ask what before why: You are presented with new information and your first question is “what is it” instead of “why is it.” Sensors want the facts first and the reasons after.
  2. You’re suspicious: You are presented with an unfamiliar experience and your next question is “what if.” Sensors approach the unknown with suspicion and analytics. If you look before you leap and think before you act, you might be a Sensor.
  3. You have to label the unknown to process it into “known.” Sensors categorize and name incoming data in their effort to navigate around and through it.
  4. You zoom in on the details before taking in the big picture. New information initially overwhelms a Sensor, and they need time to process it because they begin with the small and progress to the large. If the devil is in the details and they call you like a siren, you might be a Sensor.
  5. You form opinions on the new data based on past experiences, not future possibilities. Sensors rely heavily on what they already know in order to assimilate what they are learning.
  6. Your memory is sharp. It’s a solid and reliable resource. You can recall events with great detail, whether it was last week or five years ago. Sensors juggle memories on the fly and rearrange them in order of which ones relate to the current situation. If you love to talk about the good old days, even if they happened yesterday, you might be a Sensor.
  7. Your default method for accomplishing things is via the tried-and-true way. Sensors trust their memories of what works and assume repeating a process will bring repeated success. If you are in a rut, you might be a Sensor.
  8. You don’t mind learning through trial and error. To a Sensor, mistakes are only one part of the bigger puzzle and do not deter them from moving forward in the learning process. Sensors learn through repetition and practice, creating new memories that keep them from repeating mistakes. If you are a perfectionist, you might be a Sensor.
  9. You’re known as a “hands on” person. Because Sensors learn by doing, they can be found under the hood of a car, investing in home repairs, or learning Morse Code. If you love maintenance work or splitting atoms, you might be a Sensor.
  10. You don’t daydream, you make a plan. Sensors never keep a wishbone where their backbone ought to be. Averse to risk, they will make calculated decisions that take them where they want to go in the most efficient way possible.
  11. You can organize like the wind, bringing order out of chaos. Sensors love, love, love patterns. They smooth out complicated systems, alphabetize the spice rack, and plan family vacations down to the last dollar and minute. If you have multiple calendars and analytic apps, you might be a Sensor.
  12. You are an information glutton. There is no such thing as TMI in the Sensor’s world. If something doesn’t make sense, they pursue further information until it does. Therefore…
  13. You are always right. If you know everything, of course you are. Sensors keep the facts on hand to prove it, and it’s nigh impossible without further facts to change their mind.
  14. You’ve been called obtuse, narrow-minded, realistic, pessimistic, or simply rude. Sensors aren’t known to be subtle, flattering, or politically correct. Sensors are always comparing and contrasting incoming information against what they already know and feel compelled to call out inconsistencies or hypocrisies. But because they can call it the way they see it…
  15. You call it as you see it. You are capable of processing immediate incoming sensory data and making quick decisions based on it. In Sensors, the skill in calling it the way they see it is valuable when the stakes are high. Their direct relationship with the senses provides real-time feedback that allows them to excel on the basketball court, in the fighter pilot seat, or navigating the downtown Los Angeles freeway system.
  16. You drive across town, and your thoughts are with you. Sensors are in the here and now, taking in information as it is presented as opposed to worrying or wondering what is waiting at the destination.
  17. You need to turn down the music to see better. Sensors can get overwhelmed with the physicality of situations and need to reduce the sensory overload. If their shoes pinch or their table wobbles or their car makes a funny noise, they take action because it quickly becomes a chronic low-level stressor. If you don’t like scratchy tags in your clothes, too-high heels that throw you off balance, or acrylic fingernails that “just feel weird,” you might be a Sensor.
  18. You have a great sense of taste and smell. Literally. Food and drink get your attention, but not always in a good way. If someone burns the popcorn in the office microwave, eats in the airplane seat next to them, or cleans in the room with strong chemicals, Sensors will crawl up the wall or out the nearest window.
  19. You love your holidays and traditions, down to those devilish details. Pine scented Christmas trees, brightly colored Easter eggs, tasty turkey gravy the way Grandma used to make it. And you might be a Sensor if you are willing to fight for them.
  20. You wear a jacket you purchased ten years ago. If you have a landline at home, vacation in the same place at the same time of year every year, or if the waitress sees you coming and starts writing down your order before you are seated, you might be a Sensor. They don’t change for the sake of change. Au contraire. If it ain’t broke, you ain’t gonna fix it.

If you’ve always wondered whether you have a Sensing personality, try these thoughts on for size and see what fits. Hopefully, your personality will finally make… sense.

Jolie Tunnell

Jolie Tunnell is an author, freelance writer and blogger with a background in administration and education. Raising a Variety Pack of kids with her husband, she serves up hard-won wisdom with humor, compassion and insight. Jolie is an ISTJ and lives in San Diego, California where she writes historical mysteries. Visit her at jolietunnell.com

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Brendan Robinson (not verified) says...

I don't agree with this list at all. I known ISTJ with significant anxiety about the future and who tend to be trapped between remembering the past and constantly worrying about the future. They are rarely present. Intuitives can also be information gluttons - have you every engaged with an INTP, INFJ or INTJ? You really missed the mark here.

Jolie Tunnell says...

Hi Brendan! While the list was meant to help self-identify Sensor traits, it is by no means exhaustive or exclusive to other personalities. Individual mileage will vary. For example, I have a terrible memory under stress and anxiety runs in the family, but I still identify as a Sensor.

Erin Bierly (not verified) says...

INFP - I really enjoyed this article! It filled in some blanks for me. I am more of a sensor than I thought. Plus, I am more impressed and happier with my sensor traits than before the article. Well done - huge thanks! 

Jolie Tunnell says...

Thanks Erin! Every personality comes with positive traits to appreciate.

Gert-Jan ten Ham (not verified) says...

This list does not make much sense to me at all, but maybe that is because I am not the target audience. I agree with another comment that intuitive types can also be information gluttons, especially the NTs. Furthermore, sensing types like routine and planning? What about SPs? Lastly, the sensory overload seems like more of a general introverted thing to me. Especially the Se inferiors tend to struggle in this regard. 

Jolie Tunnell says...

Hi there! Again, the list isn't a "one size fits all" proposition. Here's an article that may help: https://www.truity.com/blog/can-you-be-5050-sensing-and-intuitive Also, https://www.truity.com/blog/intuitives-guide-getting-along-sensors

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