Ever since Susan Cain’s book Quiet was published and became an enormous hit, many people have wondered if they were introverts or extroverts. Personality surveys show that two-thirds of us fall under the category of ambiverts.
In most situations, ambiverts fall in the middle of the introvert/extrovert spectrum. Upon arriving at a large party, for example, do you want to leave the minute you arrive, or be the last man standing? Many people would want to stay for a while then make a graceful exit, and they are ambiverts. Where do you fall on the spectrum?
Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung popularized the terms introversion and extroversionin the 1920s. He identified a third group, but never fully described and labeled them. Psychologists began using the term ‘ambiversion’ in the 1940s.
Introverts, while socially well adjusted, generally try to balance social time with alone time. They recharge and energize when they are alone, or when engaging in a solitary creative pursuit. They are thoughtful and process their thoughts before speaking. They usually speak only when spoken to. They are often mislabeled as shy, but that is incorrect. Introverts usually socialize easily, but they prefer one on one encounters.
Extroverts get energized being around other people. They don’t seek out alone time, and if they find themselves alone, they seek company. They are very social and love to chat. They exude warmth and approachability. They are fun to be with and their outgoing nature is infectious. Extroverts make decisions, are charming and make sure the trains run on time. They are well liked. They are able to express their complaints, fears, hopes and desires in a clear, unemotional way. They love to brainstorm with others.
Ambiverts exhibit traits from both introverts and extroverts and many people identify with ambiversion. Ambiverts have a limit to their exuberance, are flexible, emotionally stable, and intuitive, according to an Inc. article. They love to be with people, but they also love to spend time alone. They’re not wild about small talk and try to avoid it. They are friendly and happy to meet new people but grow tired after too much social time. Ambiverts love spending time alone but an entire day can be too much. Ambiverts value their personal time as well as their social time. They are good communicators because they know when to listen and when to talk. Ambiverts adapt to whatever situation they are placed in – a loud social scene or a one on one encounter.
Whether you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, learn to love it. You were born that way, started exhibiting the behaviors of one of them possibly in infancy, and will remain that way. These personality traits are difficult to change.
Want to learn a little more about Ambiverts? Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity, a website for those interested in scientific personality assessments. Here is her blog on Ambiverts.