16 Habits of Highly Sensitive People, part 2

“Don’t you see that you are inconveniencing other people? Are you really that oblivious?”

Continuing with my musings about this article in the Huffington Post that asks the question: “Do you feel like you reflect on things more than everyone else?”

10. They’re more prone to anxiety or depression (but only if they’ve had a lot of past negative experiences).

The first part is definitely true. I’m not sure whether or not the conditional section necessarily applies.

More to the point, what constitutes “a lot of past negative experiences”? Surely, most people have had their share, and I’ve had mine: divorce, racism, for two. Are my experiences objectively worse than “most people”?

And doesn’t the perceived level of anxiety and depression – more the latter – correlate with the whole sensitivity thing?

11. That annoying sound is probably significantly more annoying to a highly sensitive person.
They tend to be more easily overwhelmed and overstimulated by too much activity.

I know that listening to certain programs on TV while I’m trying to wash dishes in the kitchen is distracting to the point of irritation. This includes a whole range of programs The Wife or Daughter watch: HGTV home improvement shows, Dancing with the Stars, Disney sitcoms. Can’t listen to a podcast and do work. There was some construction that had been taking place in my building that threw me off greatly.

On the other hand, familiar music is quite helpful. This is especially true at work, where the white noise of the ventilation system that I’ve dealt with for nine irritating years is both a distraction and a soporific. It’s also true cleaning the house or mowing the lawn. I NEED music if you want my help.

12. Violent movies are the worst.

I don’t like them at all. I recently saw the trailer for the new Planet of the Apes film, and I found it disturbing enough that seeing the movie is out of the question, despite good reviews.

In the early 1970s, I saw, in relatively short order, Catch-22, The Godfather, The Possession of Joel Delaney, and A Clockwork Orange. I swore off violent movies for nearly a decade. Now I really avoid movies rated R for violence; sex and language are not a problem. I’m sure that the fact I have not seen 12 Years A Slave is a direct function of this.

Some TV shows are just as bad. I tend to avoid police procedurals, such as CSI and Criminal Minds. Life is creepy enough without fictionalized depictions of the same. And stop trying to convince me how “good” Game of Thrones is because I’m STILL not gonna watch.

And no, don’t like violent video games either, especially those with human depictions.

13. They cry more easily.

And increasingly so as I get older, over a pleasant memory, or a sad recollection. Music is HUGE in this reactive state. I like to think I hide it well from most people, but I’m not sure that’s true.

14. They have above-average manners.
Highly sensitive people are also highly conscientious people. Because of this, they’re more likely to be considerate and exhibit good manners — and are also more likely to notice when someone else isn’t being conscientious. For instance, highly sensitive people may be more aware of where their cart is at the grocery store, because they don’t want to be rude and have their cart blocking another person’s way.

ASTONISHINGLY true, specifically including the shopping cart scenario. Coincidentally, Jaquandor linked to The 10 Commandments of The Grocery Store.

It’s true in other venues, though. When a couple of people block a sidewalk or hallway while standing and talking, I say – to myself, because I’m so damn polite – “Don’t you see that you are inconveniencing other people? Are you really that oblivious?” I realize that I’m just highly tuned in. We won’t even get into people who are walking around with their electronic devices, nearly colliding into others.

I take my bike on the bus, and when I get off, I try to be first, because I want the driver and the remaining people on the bus to be inconvenienced for as short a time as possible while I’m removing my two-wheeler.

Without much effort, I could find LOTS of other examples of this behavior in me.

15. The effects of criticism are especially amplified in highly sensitive people.
Highly sensitive people have reactions to criticism that are more intense than less sensitive people. As a result, they may employ certain tactics to avoid said criticism, including people-pleasing (so that there is no longer anything to criticize), criticizing themselves first, and avoiding the source of the criticism altogether.

I was buying food for a Friends of the Library function in June, was criticized for the paucity of my choices, and went right out to buy more. Definitely me.

I’ve used self-criticism as well. “Oh, I’m such a klutz.”

And when I think the criticism is unjust, I tend to rail against it when I can, shut down when it’s not practical.

16. Cubicles = good. Open-office plans = bad.

And office with a door, even better. That’s what I had before we moved to Corporate (frickin’) Woods, where I was in a cubicle for the first time in my life. And part of the reason I HATE them is that we have four-foot walls, and my area is just past a door, so someone coming from my right side is suddenly IN my space.

This, BTW, would have been easily rectifiable, if they had added a nine- or twelve-inch glasslike addition to the wall, which provides a sense of privacy so that people can only really approach me from the front and not the side. Hate, hate, HATE it.

Here’s another of the comments to the article:
“As a Mental Health Counselor – I also see a high correlation of high sensitivity in clients with addictions and ADHD – (if they don’t learn to manage it well – addictions serve them as a ‘fix’) ADD’ers are also tactile and sensitive to the texture of clothing, foods, shoes (hate them!) and sheets.”

Food can be an addiction for me, especially when I’m in emotional pain. In college, and occasionally afterward, it was alcohol, FWIW.

And my shoes are almost always untied – and people often fear I’m going to trip on them, but I don’t since I know this – because I DO hate wearing them. I kick them off when I’m at my work desk. And these are soft-soled shoes because I NEVER wear hard-soled shoes.

Also, I hate having stuff in my pockets – wallet, keys. Especially keys. If I have a backpack, they’re in there.

That was…interesting. After finishing most of the writing, I took a nap, because this was an emotionally exhausting exercise.
18 Struggles Of Having An Outgoing Personality But Actually Being Shy And Introverted. Almost all true, and ESPECIALLY #13.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

7 thoughts on “16 Habits of Highly Sensitive People, part 2”

  1. At the supermarket, I have been known to fetch a cart, not from the usual rack, but from where some doofus left it halfway across the parking lot because he was too lazy to bring it back. I think of this, not so much in terms of good manners, but in terms of a general dislike for disorder.

    Cubicles are the work of the devil.

  2. One thing not mentioned here is that a person with a lot of empathy is often overwhelmed with the amount of information conveyed unknowingly by another person during a simple social encounter. Even worse, if that person with empathy is socially awkward then he or she can’t quite sort out that flood of information enough to navigate the social situation. As a result the person with empathy is perceived as weak and vulnerable by the vast majority who have little or no empathy. The solution to this problem? Wall one’s self off from other people, keep them at a distance. I speak from personal experience.

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