Interrupted and Ignored by the Extroverts in your Life

"Effervescent" by Mimi Stuart ©

“Effervescent” by Mimi Stuart ©

“I am often the one who does most of the listening. I am introverted, and am attracted to extrovert energy. The beautiful, warm, interesting stories at first are a delight, but quickly start to overwhelm me as the relationship develops. Often, when I feel ready to talk, I am not listened to with the same attention, or even worse, interrupted and ignored.”

One-sided extroverts, one-sided relationship

Extremely extroverted people can be fun and interesting to have as friends, as they entertain and radiate energy. Extroverts generally like talking and being the center of attention. Since the extrovert’s vibrancy is enjoyable, and his or her dominance shields you from having to share your own ideas and thoughts, the dynamic of being ignored and interrupted by extreme extroverts may at first go unnoticed. In the early stage of the relationship, you may feel comfortable that there’s no pressure to reveal yourself.

Yet after a while it becomes frustrating and overwhelming to be in a one-sided relationship where most of the attention is focused on the extroverted individual. Extreme extroverts tend to be self-involved and often lack depth because they are generally not self-reflective. Thus, they tend to be disappointing as best friends, confidantes, or long-term romantic partners.

Developing balance

More balanced people, on the other hand, may not be as exciting at first, but they are often more capable of reciprocal interaction, showing interest in you, and enjoying two-way conversations, all of which are ultimately more stimulating and fulfilling in a long-term relationship.

When you are attracted to a person who is the opposite to your personality, it usually indicates a need for you to develop some of that trait. In your case, becoming a bit more extroverted might involve becoming more comfortable putting yourself out there and developing outgoing energy when you choose to. You can start with small steps—for example, by giving your opinion or telling a story rather than asking questions and prompting further monologues by the extrovert.

As you push yourself to become a little more balanced, and avoid being drawn in too closely into the orbit of super magnetic (i.e., self-absorbed) extroverts, you will develop more well-balanced relationships. If you get involved with people who are more balanced from the beginning, you are less likely to become resentful.

Dealing with extreme extroverts

When dealing with an extrovert who interrupts and ignores you, be direct and up-front. “Hey, I need to talk to you. Is this a good time?” or “You seem distracted. I was hoping to provide some input. When would be a better time?” or “I have something I’d like to talk to you about. Is now convenient?” It’s important that your tone of voice does not convey weakness, resentment, or anger. Be matter of fact. But don’t continue the conversation if you’re being ignored. While you cannot control another person, you can avoid giving up your power by no longer participating in a one-sided relationship dynamic.

In essence, my advice to an introvert who suffers frustration with extreme extroverts is threefold:

1. Develop relationships with people who are more balanced,

2. Do not be a passive co-conspirator. Challenge yourself to give your input, opinions, tell stories, and shine your own light rather than simply ask questions and listen, and

3. When dealing with an extrovert, speak up for yourself in a matter a fact way, without resentment or anger.

by Dr. Alison Poulsen


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2 thoughts on “Interrupted and Ignored by the Extroverts in your Life

  1. Laurel

    Love this, thank you so much. I was going to ask about how to deal with an overbearing extrovert in more casual situations, like first dates, but in writing my question, I answered it for myself, I think.

    I guess I have a hard time listening to my gut. I make excuses, or THEY make excuses like “sorry I’m talking so much, I guess I am just nervous!” So rather than walking away and not putting any more energy into the relationship, I give them more chances, and then I get infatuated, and then….I’m sucked in!

    So it’s not like I have an important matter to discuss, more just the” getting to know you” stage of dating, wanting to share life stories. And then I realized, if, on a first date, the other person is doing all the talking, and not asking me for life stories….that is a major red flag, and I should just let it fade away. If they aren’t interested on a first date, they never will be.

    Reply
    1. Alison Post author

      I totally agree with your last paragraph. It can be fun to have casual friends and acquaintances who are big talkers, if they are interesting or exciting, but they are not likely to change and become interested in you other than as a listener or admirer. For dating, it’s a big red flag. It’s best to set uptwo acquaintances who are like that and see them talk over each other–see who wins. 🙂

      Reply

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