Understanding Extroverts: The Survival Guide

PinExt Understanding Extroverts: The Survival Guide

party girl Understanding Extroverts: The Survival GuideFinding 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.

Photo: Copyright PhotoXpress.com

PinExt Understanding Extroverts: The Survival Guide

7 thoughts on “Understanding Extroverts: The Survival Guide

  1. I am a contradiction. In every personality test I’ve ever done and in every therapist evaluation, I always register as exactly 50% extrovert and 50% introvert. One might think this would allow me to revolve easily in both circles. No! Oh heck no! Not only did I have trouble relating to both introverts and extorverts, but I had trouble relating to myself.

    I had to learn to listen to and understand my feelings and emotions so I knew when I needed alone time and when I needed social contact. I also had to learn to say no to my extrovert friends when I was having an introvert day. They were way more understanding than I thought they would be. I also had to learn to adapt my social outings to fit with the desires and engergies of my introvert friends. That took a little work, but together we found a way.

    The most important thing I learned was that I just needed to talk with my friends. Communication about feelings and plans was key. Good communication goes a long way to understanding any relationship.

  2. I just can’t live with extroverts. Being an introvert myself, I like to read in a quiet environment. However, as I am living with a bunch of extroverts, I can’t help but to think that extroverts are very irritating. From my point of view, these extroverts are people who are very vain, who like to talk about superficial issues and who like to talk so loud such that people like me are being forced to notice them. Yes I know, extroverts work in a different way. But can’t they be more considerate? Do they know that by socializing non-stop throughout the day, they are actually feeding off energy from introverts around them? I hope any extroverts who happens to read this comment can learn to be more considerate. Yes, introverts need to understand and work with extroverts. But I believe extroverts need to learn how to work with introverts too.

    • First of all, I believe you said you live with a bunch of extroverts. Why would you live with a bunch of extroverts, and then expect them to NOT be social? Is it inconsiderate of extroverts to be social when together? Or is it inconsiderate of an introvert to expect many extroverts gathering together to not be social, just because that one introvert does not like it?

      This is what you signed up for when you decided to live with a bunch of them.

      And no, we don’t feed off the energy of introverts, what we do is feed off the energy of being around people, of having social interactions. And perhaps you didn’t read the entire article when you mentioned the superficial conversation, because it was clearly stated that the extroverts will bounce from conversation to conversation because we value breadth of experience over depth.

      • You are correct, but I would like to bring up another issue I have about your comment. It seems to imply that you think Introverts should learn to accomodate Extroverts. Why should it not also be the other way around? We Introverts are already made to live in an incredibly extroverted world and many of us gave learned to know when to act the part. However, I cannot see this ever happening the other way around. This is probably made more difficult with the fact that a negative social stigma is stuck on being an “Introvert”. We’ve really got to stop perpetuating such ignorance. Both personality types have big advantages but also big disadvantages.

        • As someone who is a flat 100% extrovert, I think you need to recognize that not all ‘extroverts’ are true extroverts, in the same way that not everyone who likes quiet time and reading is a true introvert. Given this, society isn’t necessarily favouring Extroverts over Introverts. A good example is how western society now frowns on random conversations being started out in public. If I’m on the train, I’d love to strike up a conversation with someone else on the carriage, but this is pretty much social taboo. What you’re expressing is that society is not fond of either extreme, even though it tries to categorize everyone into them.

          With this is mind, I think it’s unfair to expect people to take into consideration your introversion unless you’ve specifically told them about it. If you let your housemates know that you need your down time to build up some energy levels and they fail to take this on board, they’re not extraverts: they’re just dicks.

  3. This is a very good article and has helped me quite a bit. Now I am going to do some other reading. I live with a BIG Extrovert. When we were dating and I could retire to my home as an escape, it was working pretty well. We both enjoy adventures so that brought us together.

    However, now that we are living together, it is not working. I exhibit all the introvert things listed above. I like smaller groups, I shutdown in large gatherings unless they are a group I know well and I am comfortable with them. My girlfriend can overrun me and not even know it and she talks constantly when we are in a group. This has practically killed my love for her. She really does a poor job of trying to understand me. I do understand her better now but I doubt I want to work on this enough to continue the relationship.
    Thanks for posting the guide.

  4. I am an extrovert, through and through, and I tend to find these guides enlightening in the sense that they allow insight into the introvert’s mind. I live with an extreme introvert. For us, it works, but it works as much because he tries to understand me as much as I understand him. He has to tell me when he wants to be left alone because I honestly don’t know, and if he doesn’t tell me, I assume he’s mad at me. He also recognizes the “small talk” as simply my way of easing into a deeper conversation–I’m not superficial or silly, but I also don’t want to alienate someone by jumping into heavy topics. I find a lot of introverts to be incredibly selfish. They expect extroverts to accommodate their needs, but they have no desire whatsoever to work with the needs of extroverts. It’s not a one-way street. I need interaction, and I need social validation, and these are every bit as valid as an introvert’s needs. Your extrovert doesn’t understand you? Have you tried communicating, or, God forbid, understanding your extrovert?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge