In this post we’ll be exploring The Sensory Bystander in more detail (I suggest reading this overview of the sensory types first, if you haven’t already).

I hope the image gives you a sense of The Bystander. Ok, so it’s fair to say that the chap walking past all of that sensory input, seemingly with no response, could have done that walk every day for the past year. For the purposes of this post though, he’s just not feeling any of that vibrancy, the hustle and bustle of the traffic is making no impact on his senses. He is a bystander.

As I said in the overview, in a word, the bystander is unaware. They just don’t seem to notice much at all. They need intensity to notice what’s going on around them. They can happily put up with things that others wouldn’t, until it’s pointed out to them, and then they might start to find something annoying or discomforting.

Their super power would probably be focus, because they just don’t get distracted. They tend to be easy going, happy go lucky types who aren’t fazed by changes in their environment.

But my god, they can be bloody irritating, particularly if you’re a sensor! They just don’t notice anything! It’s mind boggling! I suppose the polite way of putting that is that they aren’t detail oriented.

This is the type I most struggle to have any kind of understanding of. What is it like in their brains? Is it just empty, echoey, whiteness in there? If this is your sensory type, I’d really appreciate some education on this please, it’s so alien to me.

As with all the other types, you’re not necessarily going to be a bystander across all of the senses. Perhaps when it comes to touch, you’re more of a seeker or a sensor. As with all of these types, this information can be incredibly helpful to understand the flash points you may have experienced in jobs or relationships. Maybe you’ve found yourself questioning why you don’t seem to see the little details that others do. Or why you need a detailed list to remind you of all the little details you’re expected to deal with, whilst others can just do it with any additional pointers.

Like the seeker, the bystander has a high neurological threshold – this means that their brains can cope with a lot of sensory input without imploding. That’s my take on it anyway! The main difference between these two types is in their self regulation: the seeker is active whilst the bystander is passive. If you’re passive you let input happen to you, if you’re active you want to control the input, and then you respond, or don’t.

Of course, as with most things to do with the brain, this is all on a spectrum, with both extremes of the spectrum being pretty debilitating.

This is the sensory type that I will struggle to write about, because it just makes no sense to me. Presumably the same would be true for a bystander seeking to understand an avoider. None of the types are better or worse than the others, they all have their pluses and minuses, though if you’re dealing with your polar opposite, it isn’t going to be easy to get to a place of understanding. Hopefully this information will help stop us making assumptions about each other, even if we find it nearly impossible to imagine the world through the senses that we have no experience of.