How do you do smalltalk as an HSP?
Often we want to talk deeply, and in complex ways to express the full spectrum of our thoughts. Just, in many situations that’s simply too much for the other person, or we’re too quickly going too far for the “normies”…
How do you deal with that in a good way?
I try to keep it simple, when I know I’m talking to a non-HSP.
Holding eye contact can be difficult. One trick is to look at the spot in between the conversation partner’s eyebrows, instead of actually looking into their eyes directly. This can reduce the intensity of having that “soul looking at soul” feeling, and reduce the empathetic influence that distracts us from the conversation. If manageable, I – of course – prefer to hold real eye-contact, still I can look at the side or other spots from time to time, to reduce the intensity of the direct eye contact.
If I get overwhelmed and still want to keep the conversation up and running, I simply grab what the other person says and ask a question related to it. Like “Ah, you mean <rephrased what they said> – what’s your opinion on <related topic>?”. It can be amazing how much other people can talk, if you just keep asking them questions. This way you don’t need to think much about what to say, and save energy.
Sometimes I find another person in the room who seems to be annoyed by the “on the surface” conversations, and it can be possible to go in a corner, another room or outside the building to have a proper conversation, or simply hanging around without talking much. Finding HSP compagnions in situations like that can be beautiful, as well.