When I was in my teens, I became aware that I experienced a certain kind of connection with some people, but not with others. When I met someone, I “listened underneath” (as I thought of it), and if I couldn’t perceive them that way, was unlikely to feel that we had much in common.
I had forgotten all about listening underneath until recently. At some point, my understanding of what it meant shifted. The two most passionate romances of my life were both with people I had a strong “underneath” connection with. However, in retrospect, I recognized that as a reaction rather than a perception. As it turned out, I was not particularly compatible with either one of them. Now I understand those compelling mutual attractions as the magnetism of interlocking dysfunctions, rather than a sign of cosmic linkage, and take immediate rapport experiences with a grain of salt.
Still, “listening underneath” sounds an awful lot like an HSP kind of thing, doesn’t it? What if it didn’t really go out of my life, but rather, became so integrated into how I interact that I ceased to be conscious of it? If I can be oblivious to how often I initiate conversations with total strangers about elements of our shared physical environment that are affecting them, who knows what else I could be overlooking in myself!
I wonder, too, whether I was recognizing an affinity of personality types that I had no language for back then. I hope to attend another introvert gathering soon, and build on my understanding of what’s unique about introvert socializing. There are HSP meetup groups in my area too, but they meet even less often than the introverts. Although I feel more grounded in my internal sense of what it means to be HSP and introverted, I still don’t have a clear picture of what that looks like from the outside, in me, or in others.
I am beginning to get clues from people in my life. I’ve identified certain family members as definite introverts and extroverts, and detected an HSP or two among my casual acquaintances as well. But it hasn’t gelled into anything like instantaneous recognition yet. Maybe that’s too much to expect, but the pattern-maker in me is hoping.