True story. Jane was walking down the hallway when she came across an old friend. The two hugged and suddenly Jane felt completely drained. She couldn’t figure it out. The next day, the same friend called and asked how she was feeling. The friend explained that she had been feeling really bad but after they hugged she felt great. Mystery solved. Jane is what I term a vacuum aka highly sensitive. She sucked up her friend’s bad mood as her own. As if we don’t have enough issues!
For this post, I’m going to be bold and categorize people into two main categories, Deflectors and Vacuums.
I know, I know, we are all unique snowflakes. I agree!
But when it comes to picking up vibes, cues, moods, some of us tend to not notice “Huh, I didn’t see him/her shooting daggers from across the room. Really?!” As opposed to “OMG, did you feel the vibe in the room?! You could cut the tension with a knife!” I call the former a Deflector and the latter a Vacuum.
Here are a few key characteristics.
A Vacuum is like a lightening rod for vibes. We pick them up and we can make them our own. I believe this is a reason that many people experience stage fright.
Some people disguise their sensitivity by being confrontational. If you find yourself arguing a lot you may be using that as a way to compensate for feeling overwhelmed. Many “tough” guys are actually vacuums that are masking their sensitivity.
Obviously, these aren’t all the traits but this should give you an idea of which category you tend to lean towards. For example, I love crowds but get really unnerved by violence even harsh conversations. Neither person is better than the other, the world needs both!
Deflectors can be great group motivators and catalysts for change. However, they may not know when they’re pushing too much or can step over their more quiet (but just as valuable) teammates. Vacuums have amazing intuition and pick up on subtle signals. However, they can get easily overwhelmed.
Some will say this is the difference between introverts and extroverts. I don’t agree, I’m an extroverted (gain energy from people) vacuum.
So what to do when you find yourself picking up others angst, anger or depression?
We ALL have gifts to share. Understanding your temperament can really help in navigating your environment.
Eva Lewandowski MBA, is a certified Life Coach, certified EFT Practitioner, seminar leader, speaker and co-host of a weekly internet radio show “Corporate Talk with Charlie and Eva”. She is also a 30 year veteran of Corporate America as an IT consultant. Using the skills she learned in acting classes, life coaching and EFT certification training as well as her struggle with debilitating stage fright, she created, Stand Up and Be Heard!, a program that teaches professionals how to overcome their fear of the spotlight. She is also the author of “Put on Your Phone Face: Tips and Techniques for teleconferences and conference calls”.