Sunday, September 14, 2003
Connecting Locally: Groups for HSPs
At the HSP Gathering in California, Elaine Aron spoke about the importance of HSPs connecting with other HSPs. During the interactive session after her presentation, a couple of people asked about how to meet other HSPs locally. Elaine pointed out that there's an entire chapter dedicated to HSP Discussion Groups in the back of The Highly Sensitive Person's Workbook, outlining how people might start and maintain their own local groups.
I do have the workbook, and have read this chapter-- 42 pages worth-- and found it a bit overwhelming. The idea of groups appeals to me, but I am also not sure there are enough HSPs around Austin, TX to form a local group. Texas feels like one of the least HSP-aware parts of the US.
I have also been looking at a new web site called "meetup," which seems to work as an intermediary or organizing tool for people who connect online, but want to meet in physical space. They do have a category called "Fans of Elaine Aron and Highly Sensitive Persons" but there are only 92 people listed as "interested," in the entire country. And since the group heading doesn't include the term "HSP," I'm not sure how many will find it. As usual... another great tool if your interest is "I love dogs," not so great if your interest is unusual or esoteric.
But why not online groups, in the meantime? Elaine Aron doesn't really talk much about online discussion, but why not? It seems more suitable to HSPs-- most of whom are introverts, after all. The HSP group on Yahoo has 100's of members, and so does Thomas Eldridge's HSP message board... I've been part of both for several years.
I know I'd personally feel more comfortable getting to "know" people online before meeting them. I experienced it firsthand with HSPs at the California Gathering-- several people from the Yahoo group were there, and it felt like we "knew" each other when we met.
I am thinking about starting up "local" (or "regional") HSP groups on Yahoo. I don't really relish the idea of being an "admin" of any more groups (I have a lot going on... such as trying to make a living) but I don't think anyone else is going to do it.
For now, maybe I will start with a few major cities/regions where there is above average HSP awareness-- perhaps California, the Northeast, Chicago area, Seattle/Vancouver... and see what happens. I'll post links here as I figure out how to do this.
If anybody has any suggestions on how to do this, or are looking for a group in your area, leave a comment or send me an email.
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