Frasier? Niles? Just Wondering...

I'm just now watching an episode of Frasier. I love the wit and much of the humor. But I also see Frasier--and Niles even moreso--as HSPs. Just wondering what others think. Whether you like the show or not, it seems to me an interesting study of the trait. Honestly, I relate to "nervous Niles," as he's called in one episode, because I have very hyper reflexes. It doesn't feel so funny at times and I can empathize with him, but I have to admit it can be funny to watch! I can identify with their extreme pickiness...we need things to be a certain way, and while it can drive others crazy I think (for myself anyway) it's a way of feeling some sense of control since we can't control our sensitivity. Just now watching as Niles and Frasier are at Cafe Nervosa, Niles very exasperated over the coffee he's served: "Can you believe the incompetence of that man? I very clearly asked for a whisper of cinnamon. He's given me a full-throated shout!" Niles, I so get you.

seabreeze5100 seabreeze5100
46-50, F
8 Responses Feb 25, 2009

I guess I hadn't considered, really, that it's true of Frasier and Niles (as it is for you, Niles), and I think it's a generally realistic depiction, that both are quite successful in their profession despite its intrinsically personal nature, perhaps because it requires professional detachment (not to say uncaring). Yet Elaine Aron writes about this in The Highly Sensitive Person, and I know it's been true for me, that keeping this boundary is not so easy for many HSPs. I hope to become better at this, but sometimes interactions of different types become too draining and overwhelming. I'm definitely one to retreat to solitude on a regular basis. Cafe Nervosa here I come :)

No, I'm usually not bothered by the problems of my clients. I am indeed more or less comfortable with my own sensitivities, or at least used to them as being an inevitable part of me. Some things keep bothering me though, but I try to look at those from a higher level and try to accept the fact that this discomfort is also part of me. My sensitivity has advantages too. I enjoy subtle sensory input (touch, taste, smell, sound, etc) that others might miss, I can sense danger a mile away, so I can stay away from it and, not least of all, it makes me good at my job.<br />
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So... would I take a proverbial magic pill to take away my hightened sensitivities? I really wouldn't know, I'm glad I don't have to make that decision.<br />
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And as for Frasier: I am indeed watching the show a couple of times every week now for the last year.

How interesting that you're a psychologist! Do you find it at all difficult due to your sensitivity to keep the issues others may be suffering through from draining you emotionally? Although you probably have training to help you maintain boundaries against this--I'm guessing. It does sound like you're comfortable with being sensitive. Have you happened to read any of Elaine Aron's books on the subject? I know I've gotten a bit off-topic here, but I so seldom come across someone else who I can discuss being REALLY SENSITIVE with, and I'm just curious about your experiences. So a bit back to topic...do you still watch the show?

Indeed, fragrances can be really annoying, worn by men as well. Especially salespeople often have little subtlety in that sense. Last time I had a visit from a financial advisor, I had to have all doors and windows open for several hours and I put the chair he had used outside for the rest of the day.<br />
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Another thing of Niles I can quite relate to, is my high-school sports experiences. Although I'm built slim and have fast reflexes, I never got to like sports, probably because most are too rough for my taste. It didn't bother me too much though, it just wasn't my "field of play" so to say. Too bad I couldn't impress the girls on school sports day with high score performances - but I still had my wit and good conversation. And indeed, somewhat like Niles, I have become a psychologist.

I guess I don't so much attribute the chair-wiping to Niles' innate meticulous behavior since one of the episodes explains that their former babysitter, Ronnie, scared him half to death telling him that there were earwig eggs on all the furniture that the bugs were going to eat his brain. I might be wiping all the chairs myself if I'd been terrorized by that story! I'm right there too about the smells, tastes and sounds....and if my food is supposed to be cold/hot, it better be! Piping hot--and that goes for my coffee too! Honestly, you're being very reasonable, Niles, if you merely insist on real whip instead of aerosol; cappucchino as you order it. My Starbucks order is: mocha, whole milk, extra hot, no foam, no whip & please top it off! I want all coffee, not a big gap at the top where the whip would have been! I'm not rude about ordering, but I will make corrections. I have to admit that even slightly off odors of food or musty smells....ick. My own sensitivity surprises me there. Then there are the fragrances women wear. I feel like my sensitivity to odors is getting worse. I feel kinda sick if I can't get away from it, but often just a whiff can get me too. There are scents and smells I like, but the ones I don't are the ones that get me. I feel like Niles' long-lost sister!

I do indeed consider myself about as sensitive as the character - not always to my pleasure. Ok, I don't clean my chair in a coffee shop with my handkerchief, but I do often wipe my fork or spoon with a napkin.'<br />
I'm also sensitive to smells, flavors and sounds, which means I have strong preferences for fine things like wine or coffee and I do return something in a restaurant if a less fine-tuned waiter has ruined it with, say, too much milk (if I ask for cappucchino I don't want a latte) or fake whipped cream out of an aerosol.<br />
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So yes, watching Frasier and especially Niles is a feast of recognition.

I thought it was pretty amazing to find that "Niles" had commented on my story! I'm curious, Niles, do you feel that you are quite as sensitive as the character? I really do identify with his over-the-top reflexes and at times extreme cautiousness.

When I joined the EP I was watching Frasier every night. Guess why I picked Niles when I was pondering on a nickname!