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HSPs and the struggle with friendships

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In the roughly seventeen years since I first learned about the HSP trait, I have met 100s (if not 1000s) of fellow sensitives both in person and through the Internet. One of the most common laments I hear goes something like this: "Why is it so hard for me to make and keep friends, when it seems so easy for everyone else?"


HSPs and the struggle with friendships

I can completely relate to these sentiments, as I have also struggled with relationship/friendship dynamics during most of my own life. Until at least my late 30s, my friendship patterns were largely shaped by the meta messages from society that I "should" be able to make friends with almost anyone, that I should have "lots" of friends, and then be able to keep those friendships for a lifetime.

You could say that I was more concerned about the "container" for my friendships, that the "content" of them. Bottom line was that most of my friendships failed because they really didn't "feel good." Something had to change.

In the course of years of serious self-inquiry, it became quite a puzzle for me to understand why so many friendships I formed would start out well enough, but would fade away very quickly.

Now, I'm not for a moment suggesting that everyone doesn't stuggle with friendships and relationships, now and then. However, there definitely are certain distinct challenges for HSPs, and the whole issue of friends seems more difficult for the HSP, than for most people.

In the most general sense, it would seem that HSPs and non-HSPs often "interpret" and experience the same situations differently... and communication issues arise, even when both people have only the best of intentions.

When you consider that only 15-20% of the population have HSP traits, it will generally hold true that most people the average HSP meets will not be HSPs. This can result in an almost immediate "I really don't get who you are" dynamic, which is a rocky foundation on which to start building a friendship.

"Mismatched expectations"

One of the things I have learned about us HSPs (both from reading, and from personal interaction) is that we tend to be rather "deep" people. We also can come across as rather "intense." Most HSPs I have met in person dislike-- or even loathe-- "small talk" and "polite chit-chat" and would much rather go directly to a profound conversation about the meaning of life, or the origins of God, or how to end world hunger, or how to create a better world.

So small talk and HSPs do not seem to "mix" well. However, except for the handful who are very self-absorbed, most HSPs do also recognize the need for this "idle chatter," as a tool to create connection-- and are generally willing to indulge in it to a limited degree.

The word "limited" becomes key, when trying to understand HSPs, small talk and maintaining friendships, because trouble arises when the HSP's desire for "deep conversations" runs into a non-HSP friend's contentment with keeping a connection purely at a "surface level."


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Source: HSP Notes


HSPs and the struggle with friendships - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote

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