Finding it difficult to live with the life of the party?
Extroverts are sometimes hard to understand. Their actions and motivations can be so puzzling and counterintuitive to those of us that are introverts.
If you are an introvert that has an extrovert in your family or close to you, then this survival guide will help you see things from an extrovert’s perspective. Understanding extroverts can be a tremendous aid in helping you to get along with your friendly party-goer.
Beginning to Understand Extroverts
Extroverts gain energy from socializing. They are the most “on” when they are around a large group of people. They feed off the energy and easily bounce from one conversation to another effortlessly making small talk along the way. For an extrovert, it isn’t so much what they are doing as who they are with. They love parties and being with others. When they are feeling low, they’ll call friends to go out.
Extroverts generally have a lot of people that they refer to as “friends”. They greatly value knowing a lot of people. An extrovert will strike up a conversation just about anywhere. Extroverts are very uninhibited about reaching out to others. They’ll meet people at Starbucks, in the checkout line at the supermarket, at church and, of course, at parties. They seem to live by the famous Will Rogers quote, “I never met a man I didn’t like.”
They are outgoing, talkative and generally love being the center of attention. They come alive when the spotlight is on them. They never want to leave a good party and find the action stimulating and addictive.
Extroverts tend to value breadth of experience over depth. They will often bounce from one thing to the next. This includes hobbies, interests, conversations, friendships and social events. They just can’t get enough of life, but they don’t want to get bogged down in the details. They want to see it all, do it all and talk to everyone.
They are often dreamers and visionaries. They are constantly coming up with the next big idea. However, they often lack follow-through. They just can’t get buried in all the minutiae. They would rather hand off the specifics to someone else and move on to the next thing that enthuses them.
Extroverts can be a lot of fun. They are exciting, vivacious and full of energy (as long as they are surrounded by people). They like to live life in the fast lane. All of this adds up to relational trouble between introverts and extroverts.
Where the Problems Arise with Extroverts
For introverts that treasure solitude, quiet time and depth of experience, the extrovert can sometimes seem draining, overbearing and superficial. Their social schedule is just too much for us. Yes, we love how exciting extroverts can be, but ultimately we are easily worn out by their need to be with others and to connect. We just want to go home, but the extrovert will have none of that. They want to move on to the next place to see and be seen no matter what the hour.
Introverts will usually wind up feeling pressured and imposed upon if they are in a close relationship with an extrovert. Introverts can only tolerate parties and social engagements for a limited time because these events drain them of energy. If they are already tired or feeling low, then they will especially resist the extroverts prodding. This can produce feelings of resentment and rejection on both sides.
Over time, the stark differences between introverts and extroverts can really add up. Repeated fights, disagreements and misunderstandings will create a level of underlying tension that puts both sides on edge. This can be a downward spiral that will ruin the relationship if you let it.
How to Survive the Extrovert
Overall, a little understanding can go a long way. For the longest time, I struggled to get along with extroverts because I didn’t really recognize the differences in our needs. Once I discovered that extroverts are just wired in a radically opposite way than I am, then it was much easier for me to accept them as they are and to accept myself too.
Knowing that you see the world differently and that neither of you are defective in some way is a relief that usually has an immediate positive impact on the relationship. I used to feel that the extroverts in my life were just completely blind to my needs and in a way I was right. They often see situations from such a totally opposite perspective that my view of the world, as an introvert, would never occur to them as a possibility even in their wildest dreams.
So, what is the best way to survive living in close relations with an extrovert? I’d say that you need to do all you can to educate yourself and your social butterfly about the real differences between introverts and extroverts. Talk it out, but do this when you are both calm and have plenty of time. As you learn more about one another’s needs, then you’ll be able to come up with creative ways to cope.
Do you live with one of these opposites? Have you learned to get along? Share your experiences in the comments section of this article.
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