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.

16 Habits Of Highly Sensitive People

I want to hear: “Sorry you’re feeling that way.”
I get: “Get over it!”

sensitiveI saw this article in the Huffington Post a while back. “Do you feel like you reflect on things more than everyone else?” To quote one commenter: “Yep….. I feel like they asked me about my life before they wrote this article.” Lots of confirmation of that sentiment as well.

1. They feel more deeply.
“They’re very intuitive, and go very deep inside to try to figure things out.”

This is me, in a nutshell. Or in the words of a Paul Simon song, maybe I think too much. Suggesting that I feel more deeply feels arrogant, and I’m uncomfortable with that, too. If someone ELSE said it, it’d be OK.

2. They’re more emotionally reactive.
They may have more concern about how another person may be reacting in the face of a negative event.

I have a huge amount of empathy. Any story in which a person going through a terrible ordeal and is not “heard” feels as though the “not being heard” part is happening to me personally. This story is a good example. It’s bad enough that she was raped, but the “blame the victim” really undid me.

Injustice particularly ticks me off. I find the current economic disequilibrium disheartening, but to be fair, don’t most thinking people?

3. They’re probably used to hearing, “Don’t take things so personally” and “Why are you so sensitive?”
Highly sensitive men .. from other countries — such as Thailand and India — were rarely or never teased, while highly sensitive men he interviewed from North America were frequently or always teased.”

BINGO. Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. I get brave enough to tell some people how I feel about something, and I get, let’s say, less than satisfactory responses.
I want to hear: “Sorry you’re feeling that way.”
I get: “Get over it!” Or “You’re overreacting.” Or “It’s not that big a deal.”
That will shut me down. Afterward, I realize they THINK I’ve taken their “sage” advice, when I’ve just closed off, emotionally, and on occasion, physically.
I have the sense far too often that people just don’t GET me. I find it odd that people I’ve never met in person seem to grok what I’m saying better than most of my terrestrial acquaintances.

4. They prefer to exercise solo.

Not necessarily so. While I used to run alone, I had my greatest joy in the 30 years of playing racquetball. I liked volleyball at the time. I used to play softball and baseball, though that was more fun by college when I actually learned to play better.

5. It takes longer for them to make decisions.
Highly sensitive people are more aware of subtleties and details that could make decisions harder to make.

Depends. I’m actually quite good at deciding at restaurants relatively quickly, e.g. I like to shop when I can go in and just buy it, such as when I’d get CDs. But purchases of items I don’t feel I understand – cellphone service, in particular, and technology in general – is agonizing. Also, anything involving trying it on, such as clothes shopping, so someone else can see “how it looks” on me is tantamount to torture.

6 . And on that note, they are more upset if they make a “bad” or “wrong” decision.
You know that uncomfortable feeling you get after you realize you’ve made a bad decision? For highly sensitive people, “that emotion is amplified because the emotional reactivity is higher.”

That’s the truth. I would never have purchased a house on my own, even if I had had the means because the inevitable buyer’s remorse would have been too great.

7. They’re extremely detail-oriented.

Depends. I’ve noticed changes in lengths of traffic light patterns, but not my wife’s new hairdo. I remember numbers, but not people’s names. And by “remembers numbers,” I could tell you that Can’t Buy Me Love by the Beatles went from #27 to #1 in one week on the Billboard charts, without looking.

Still, I have a lot of stuff floating around in my head.

8. Not all highly sensitive people are introverts.
In fact, about 30 percent of highly sensitive people are extroverts.

I have fooled many people who think I’m an extrovert. Alone in a crowd happens rather often.

9. They work well in team environments.
Because highly sensitive people are such deep thinkers, they make valuable workers and members of teams.

Very true. Working alone, I’d get in my own way. I like to bounce ideas off others. The librarians I work with often share information; that’s why I’m a librarian in the first place, that collegiality of the profession.

Still, on most tasks, I like to know what is expected of me, and then left alone, unless I need help. Constant supervision – and I’ve had jobs like that – irks me.

My, this is going on too long. More next time.

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