When extroverts put words in your mouth

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Dear Introvert Zone,

Have you ever run into the problem where extroverts “push you around” with what you may be thinking when your still thinking. For instance — if they ask you if you like the red or the blue shirt and then shortly exclaim (or carry on a small conversation) that you probably like the blue one and walk off making the decision for you instead of letting you hash out the two options in your head. Is there a term for this? Is there a way to stop them from projecting decisions onto you in this manner? I seem to attract many extroverts that are keen in doing this when I want to be silent or need to think on the question they asked.

Thanks in advance.

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29 Comments

  1. In fear of offending, some extroverts tend to shoot from the hip when it comes to talking. If there is a five-second gap between a sentence, it needs to be filled. At least, that is how they think it is, for everyone.

    This is the hard part. Telling them to stop. Based on your standards, what they are doing is rude and very blunt. You have to kind of “retaliate” in the same way. Tell them that you’re not interested in unsolicited “advice”.

    The thing with introverts is that we take pride in making well thought-out decisions. Decisions and opinions we rarely regret having or making. I’m not saying extroverts make poor decisions and can barely make up their mind. It’s more that introverts apply this to anything and everything in life. This is our pride. The same way that most extroverts pride themselves in being able to talk non-stop.

    I know it’s hard for some introverts, but be assertive. Make them understand that if you want suggestions, help, etc, you will ask for it – that you’re not interested in being treated like a child, being told to do each step you take in life.
    Dokter Waldijk´s last post ..Dokter’s Weekly Biowaste #0

  2. It is not easy to deal with extroverts in various situations. It’s very hard when they put words in his mouth, when they opine and say it was you. In many situations I prefer to be alone or with people who think like me

  3. Extroverts do have a tendency of “father knows best” type behaviour. Making a decision for someone else allows them to gain control and makes them feel important. Partly because they feel like they are helping “meek little you” make a decision and partly because it’s too hard for them to listen (they often lack the patience). It is however, also a way for them to connect with you as they may be trying to show you or others that they know you in some way.

    Three terms come to mind: bullying, control freak and disrespect

    That all being said, there is a lot of generalization in the answer. Most extroverts do not act like that often, only some of them. There are introverts that may do the same things.

    Instead, if you are feeling someone is making a decision for you or “pushing you around” speak up for yourself. Dokter makes some good points. If these people are repeat offenders, take the time to address them and let them know in no uncertain terms that you are quite capable of making a decision and expect to be treated accordingly if they want to continue conversations with you.

    If you don’t know the answer yet consider a rote answer for immediacy purposes but indicates it may not give them correct information. Try something that inserts the word “probably I will like/think” in front of the “decision/topic” and then add “but if you give me a minute I’ll have a more accurate answer for you”. If you are careful you can tactfully add sarcasm without being caught by adding a clause similar to “and that would be more useful, wouldn’t it?”.

    Always trying to make things a win win seems to work. Giving them a partial answer with promise for accurate one later means both parties get what they need.
    simply stephen´s last post ..10 ways to beat the winter blues

  4. When someone asks me questions and seems likely to answer for me if I don’t answer immediately, I find it useful to say straight away, “Let me think about that for a minute and get back to you,” or “I’ll tell you when I’ve had time to think about it.” That way the immediate answer is provided, but I still get my thinking time, and usually both people are satisfied. Most people will be polite and understanding about you wanting to think for a minute, once they understand that you need to. But you have to tell them.

  5. I think most introverts come across this at one point or another, unfortunate as that is. Maybe it stems from the fact that our thought process makes us seem indecisive to those who are more capable of making snap decisions. Still, that’s no excuse for the treatment; it’s extremely presumptuous and condescending. I’ve had this happen not only with answers to questions, but also with thoughts in general. For instance, I’ve had people tell me “you probably think I’m (fill in the label)” or “I’m sure you think that’s …” I took it for a long time, preferring (as most introverts do) to avoid conflict. But as others above have said, you really do just need to be assertive and stand up for yourself. It’s difficult for an introvert but these people need to know that the behavior bothers you and is unacceptable. My response is usually something along the lines of “don’t tell me what I think/how I feel”. In those words. It’s blunt and to the point and a little harsh (at least in my opinion) but it hasn’t failed me so far, and I never hide how irritated I am. The person might be a little taken aback but they should stop. If they don’t then remind them. And hang in there, it gets easier the more you do it. Good luck and hope this helped. ;)

  6. The extrovert is usually the loud (and a lot of the time obnoxious) one generally standing up (when everyone else is sitting down) shouting (when everyone else is talking or even whispering) trying to get as much attention as possible (when most people are trying to keep themselves to themselves). Based on this, they are quite easy to spot and easy to ignore. The more you fuel their ego the bigger it gets.
    Lovejoy´s last post ..Shelterbox Uganda

  7. Nicolas Cailot on

    Almost every extrovert does this. But there are many who have become extroverts when they were initially introverts. I think as soon as they ask you the question you must tell “I think” and then pause to think and then give the answer. When you say this phrase the questioning extrovert will expect an answer from you and will not go away.
    Nicolas Cailot´s last post ..L’Homme est-il un polygame refoulé ? Partie 1/3 : l’homme, ce parasite sexuel.

  8. It’s just a matter of adjustment. I do understand that there are really people who decide for you in that manner without you giving more time to think. If you are with people like them, and then they decide things for you, you are free to react, interrupt, and of course to talk. It doesn’t mean that your introvert, you just let them do that for you. Just talk and express your feelings.

  9. I really agree with what simply stephen (and a few others) have said. This behavior can seem like bullying, but it’s most likely innocent behavior. Next time just speak up more. I know its hard, but all you need to do is let them know that you’re thinking. A real friend will respect your thought process and let you make a decision.

  10. I don’t really like extroverts doing that to those who are a bit shy of making impulse decisions.If that happens to me, I will definitely talk to that person and make that person understand that we still have our own decisions to make.

  11. John, all I’m siyang is that you can’t tell an introvert to be more extroverted and expect it to work. That’s a common response by extroverts, because it’s what they understand. Boy I wish it was that easy! It also works the other way: telling an extrovert that they need to learn how to spend time by themselves doesn’t actually help them much…Eric

  12. Making a decision for someone else allows them to gain control and makes them feel important. Partly because they feel like they are helping “meek little you” make a decision and partly because it’s too hard for them to listen (they often lack the patience).
    Mary´s last post ..Better Job, More Jobs

  13. I deal with this almost every time when my family is going out. My extrovert husband always tells me what to do, on what to wear that will suit me. Wearing comfortable clothes is always my choice but for him it is not a good option. Good thing I’ve got a lot of patience.

  14. As a lifelong introvert, I have often come across this problem. My weapons to counter an overbearing extrovert are humor and sarcasm. I also fake it to make it, pretending to be an extrovert just to get out of an uncomfortable situation. It’s funny how when us introverts speak up for ourselves, we are targeted as the bad guy or as being too sensitive. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why I prefer my solitude.

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