The Audience Dynamic
You know these interactions. You are visiting with another person, but mostly you are listening to them talk about themselves. When you begin to share, you are interrupted by a joke, comment, or another story. In these situations in the past (and sometimes the present) I often felt unseen, discounted, or part of the scaffolding holding another person upright. In response, I'd usually keep trying to express myself, jump in to get equal time, or bristle quietly and then hold resentment.
Looking back, I can see that I had often put others in the audience role, too. When I considered my underlying motivations for doing this, a theme emerged. This happened a lot more earlier in my life when I had less awareness of my spiritual nature, and I was identified with my ego/personality. Because I didn't have a solid sense of self, I became real through the telling of my story, and I looked to the reactions of others to feel energized, valued, and accepted.
As I worked to heal, I released what I was carrying, and became more grounded and centered. As I grew in self awareness, I no longer needed to put others in the audience role, and I moved away from relationships where my primary role was to be that audience.
When we become more peaceful, independent, and grounded, we are able to connect in ways that aren't about propping ourselves up. We no longer need to lead or to follow another person. Instead of needing and wanting attention; we desire connection.
As we grow in awareness, it becomes easier to see when we are being put in the audience role, or when we've hopped onto the stage ourselves. Then instead of automatically playing out these dynamics, we can choose how to respond. Here are a few options for moving forward in a life-giving way when we get wrapped up in the audience dynamic from either side.
Gently move away from the situation/conversation.
Lower your expectations that the person will connect with you in the way you desire.
Share the part of you that connects with that person.
See the other person with compassion.
Give the other person the gift of being seen.