This group was created to help greater Seattle area HSPs connect with each other in friendship and support. As the former organizer of an HSP meetup in Austin, TX-- as well as a past attendee of many of the large "HSP Gatherings" around the country, I cannot say enough positive things about the importance of HSPs connecting and making friends with their peers. There is something incredibly validating and healing about being with others who "get" what it's like to be highly sensitive.
Although the idea of "a group" may sound daunting to an HSP (after all, most HSPs are INTROVERTS), the benefits of spending time with others who "get it" FAR outweigh the "scary moments" that go with thinking "I'm not sure I can handle being in a group..."
It is a sad truth that many Highly Sensitive People feel socially isolated and truly wish to make connections. Many HSPs have had very "difficult" lives, when it comes to social interaction, especially in group settings. We often bring to socializing a set of experiences... where "being with people" means getting bullied, being told we are "weird," or we are too sensitive, or too intense, or too deep... all manners of other unpleasant stuff. And it really hurts our feelings. This is then MADE WORSE by the fact that a core HSP characteristic is "processing deeply." As a result, all this "negative self-talk" starts to build up, surrounding connecting with other people.
There is an old saying "Feel the fear and do it anyway."
It's particularly poignant when it comes to HSPs and finding the courage to go meet a group of strangers, even if they know they have "something in common" with these strangers. The Seattle & Puget Sound HSP Group's management will do everything possible to make the steps needed to go to that first event as easy and unintimidating as possible.
When you become a member, we strongly encourage you to immediately become active on our message boards, here on meetup (If you're reading this before you've become a member, those boards are mostly "hidden" from view-- they are a "members only" feature). As a previous HSP meetup organizer, and repeat "co-host" of several of the national HSP Gatherings, the ongoing contact and interaction of a web message board community helps foster a sense of "belonging" among group members... leading to a greater sense of "closeness" among members whenever the group meets.
Let's face it: Would you feel more comfortable meeting a group of complete strangers, or a group of people you've already been dialoguing and emailing with for a while? I know which one I'd choose...
On a different note, I chose to make this group "Seattle and Puget Sound" in the hope of not only reaching as many HSPs in the area as possible, but also in the hope of making meetup venues "mobile," so they might be in Olympia one time, Bellevue next time, Everett another time, maybe even Bremerton. This will allow the group to be close to SOMEone at some point, while encouraging others to "get out of the house" and go on a bit of a "field trip." If things go well, maybe we'll eventually be able to coordinate "exchange visits" with our sister HSP meetup group in Portland.
It is my goal to make this group be about connection and friendship with other members of our "tribe." For any number of reasons, many HSPs tell me they often feel socially isolated, and I'd like to help offer a "safe venue" to overcome that. Hopefully group gatherings and outings will lead to individual friendships, as well.
Right now (these words were written on May 30th, 2010), this group is in its "formative" stage. Once sufficient numbers of people have joined and indicated firm interest in getting together, we'll take up discussion about the how, where, when, and what of the meetings, themselves.
Thank you for being part of our community!