My mom always called these feelings, "hunches" and she had them a lot. I inherited them from her and until I was old enough to know better, I thought that everyone had them. My inner feelings have been very accurate and I've learned to listen to them. For example: there are several ways in which I can come home from work but I usually stick to one particular route. Every once in a while I will deviate from that route just because I have an inner feeling about it. I don't question it, I just do it.
When I was in my 20's I started having instincts about people; I found that my accuracy rate was nearly 100%. I kept my thoughts to myself at first, then as I got older, I shared them with family. Now that I'm a senior citizen, I share my thoughts with close friends as well. They have come to respect what I think and are impressed I have this gift.....their words, not mine. I actually thought everyone had these same feelings about other people and was surprised to find out otherwise.
When I meet someone for the first time I can 'feel' whether they are a troubled soul or not. Sometimes I feel like I want to help them....just by being a shoulder. Sometimes I really do help. Then again, sometimes the feelings are so strong that I want to get as far away from that person as possible and as soon as possible.....they feel toxic to me. Please don't misconstrue this as judging because it's not like that. I can't help what I feel. I'm having a hard time explaining it. But I have learned to respect it. It has saved me and my family from a lot of heartbreaking circumstances....in one case it involved a child molester years before it was discovered that's what he was. It's interesting to note that my son inherited this ability, but not my daughter. My daughter thinks that everyone she meets is basically good and kind. No matter how much she's been burned, she continues to feel that way. I'm not sure it's a bad thing.....it's just a dangerous thing.
I truly believe that if we would all listen to our inner selves....no matter what it may be about.....that we would be happier and safer in the long run. We tend to push those inner feelings aside and plunge into a situation without giving it a second thought. We all have an instinct to danger but we tend to push those fears aside, thinking ourselves to be silly or having over-active imaginations and go right ahead and walk down a dark path or open that door to a total stranger.
I think the reason why most people don't pay attention to their "hunches" is the fear of ridicule. Afraid that their friends will think they are "weird" and talk about them. Do me a favor please.....if you're ever in the company of someone you trust who, for example, suggests you take a different route or maybe eat at a different place, and they really can't give you a reason..... try and respect the feelings they may be having. It just could save your life or, at the least, from food poisoning.