Home IT services Don’t Feel Extrovert Or Introvert? The 7 Signs You Could Be An Ambivert

Don’t Feel Extrovert Or Introvert? The 7 Signs You Could Be An Ambivert

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Don’t Feel Extrovert Or Introvert? The 7 Signs You Could Be An Ambivert

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Most people don’t like being put in metaphorical boxes. Labels have their place, but they often oversimplify and miss nuance, especially when referring to aspects of someone’s personality. Introvert and extrovert labels have soared in popularity thanks to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator personality test and Susan Cain’s book, Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that won’t stop talking. But what if you don’t resonate with either term? What if you don’t feel completely extroverted or introverted?

One theory is that rather than being binary, extroversion and introversion are on a scale. Similar to other concepts such as sexuality, healthiness and spiciness of food, there are multiple pointers on the scale, and ambivert covers everything in between. Although you may tend towards either end or have a natural disposition, it’s definitely not black and white.

If you don’t feel like extrovert or introvert adequately describe you, here are 7 signs you might well be an ambivert.

1. You value alone time and social time

A surface level comparison of extroverts and introverts might say that extroverts love crowds of people and being where it’s busy, whereas introverts prefer dark corners and being curled up at home with a book. One is sociable, friendly and outgoing, the other prefers their inner thoughts and ideas.

Ambiverts enjoy both scenarios, and quite happily flex between the two. A room full of people or a shelf full of books can spark joy in equal parts. Within you there’s a healthy balance of extrovert and introvert indicators, and which you emulate can vary at any given time.

2. People can both drain and energize you

Think of extraversion and introversion in terms of how someone gets energy. While an extrovert is energised by people, an introvert is slowly drained by people and needs alone time to recharge. But it’s not that simple, and the people around you play a significant part.

You might be energized by some and drained by others. You might love or hate hanging out depending on how you’re feeling that day, what else you’re doing, or who happens to be around. An inspiring conversation with a few kindred spirits is very different to shallow niceties on a bachelorette party. It can depend on them, not you.

3. You can be both shy and confident

A stereotypical extrovert is always confident. With their head held high they barrel forward with their thoughts and never avoid a new encounter or person they haven’t yet met. Their introverted counterpart prefers to assess a situation before speaking up and might come across as shy or reserved to potential new friends.

If your personality has both shy and confident sides, and both show up at different times, you could well be an ambivert. Without a clear winner of style, you switch between the two depending on how you feel. You might not say that one comes naturally, there are multiple other factors involved.

4. Your personality has evolved over time

You might be an ambivert if the reason you don’t hold a fixed identity of extrovert or introvert is that you’re different now to who you once were. Maybe you used to be loud and showy and now you’re more subdued, or you’re happier in your own skin and you speak your mind more readily.

Are you finding yourself or are you losing yourself? Change signals one or the other. If your circumstances to date have dictated how you show up, you might not fit either label. Ambiverts can flex throughout the course of a day or lifetime.

5. You’re different things to different people

Perhaps your mum thinks you’re an introvert and your best friend thinks you’re an extrovert. Who is correct? You exist as a different person within the mind of everyone you meet. If other people give you a different label, how do you know which is the real you?

This might be a clear sign of your ambivert truth. If the people you know see you as both, because you play different roles in different scenarios or because you’re not consistent with your approach, you don’t sit at either end of the spectrum. You’re happy to be somewhere in the middle, and you don’t seek a definitive assessment.

6. You can empathise with both types

In a group of people each vying for attention, you’re happy to hang back and let them get on with it. For an event where no one seems to want to take charge, you’ll assert your opinion and communicate your plan. You can empathise with others, meet them where they are at, and modify your approach. Extroversion and introversion are tools in your toolbox, and you use them as you deem necessary.

Ambivert entrepreneurs have a huge advantage. They can be chameleon-like in their demeanour, making those around them feel at ease. The extroverts know you’ll listen and not interrupt, the introverts know you won’t leave them hanging. Your ambivert presence brings safety to both.

7. You’re different at work and home

You might have no choice to be extroverted at work. If your role requires an outgoing personality, a sociable approach and the ability to express your intentions and lead a group, you might happily adopt that professional personality. If you become a different person once the uniform is off, that indicates you can adapt to a situation.

The other way around is also true. Your social calendar might be packed, you might always be on the phone, and you would never consider living alone, but at work you zoom in and concentrate for hours on end. You forget people even exist as you go deep on focused work. If you tick a different box at home and work, you could well be an ambivert.

Labels are useful when they lead to insight and action, not when they are used to simplify too far and miss the real story. Rarely does a label totally describe something as complex as a human being. If you never enjoyed having to choose between extrovert and introvert, because you know there’s more to you, start calling yourself an ambivert and keep everyone on their toes.

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