You’re Not an Introvert or Extrovert…Are You An Ambivert?
Have you ever heard of an ambivert? It’s a relatively new term that experts use to describe someone who falls between the category of an introvert and an extrovert. The personality comes with both positive and negatives, but gaining some knowledge will help you understand it better.
Understanding an Ambivert
Extroverts are the life of the party, while introverts need to be alone and have time to recharge their batteries. One prefers solitude while the other one wants people all around them. Well, the ambivert’s personality is a mixture of both.
The individual with this charisma isn’t as quiet as the introvert, but they’re not as loud or outgoing as the extrovert either. The range from introversion to extroversion has many facets, and it’s not always a straight line. Think of it as a personality that comes with many curves along the way.
You can’t always package people up into an excellent little category, as many folks will fall somewhere in the middle. When you’re riding the center lane, you’ll draw attributes from both sides, which means you have the best of both worlds.
Do You Think You Might Be An Ambivert?
So, how do you find out where you fall on the spectrum of personalities? An easy test is to ask yourself what you do when you come home after a hard day at work. Do you head straight to the club, a restaurant, or some other social engagement, or do you prefer to get into your pajamas and relax in solitude?
Maybe you want to sit on your porch or take a walk in nature as you destress from the day. Now, from these analogies, the extrovert is the one that has a hopping social life and prefers to be with people. However, the introvert wants to be alone and doesn’t need stimulation from other folks.
However, the ambivert falls right in-between or in the cracks. Sometimes they like to go out and socialize, but they don’t want too much of a good thing. Other times, they like to be alone with their thoughts and to have time to reflect. Their mood dictates what they will do that night and which personality type they will nurture.
The Hardwired Brain
Each brain consists of a hardwired system that affects how someone will respond to stimuli. Did you know that as a baby, the hardwiring is already in place? Think about all the babies you’ve encountered.
Some of them love to be cuddled and hugged and be the center of attention, while others are content to be alone in their swing, cooing away. No one showed these children how to act, but it was hardwired in their brains from birth. You often hear mothers describe their babies as either “good” or a “handful.”
Some children are very content and learn to self-soothe from an early age, while others need constant stimulation from their parents. Is it possible that being your personality is determined before anything happens to you in life? The extrovert needs that activity from external stimulation, but the introvert does most of their internal processing.
According to Laurie Helgoe, Ph.D., at The Ross University of Medicine, one personality turns inward, while the other turns outward.
Seven Key Indicators That You Might Be An Ambivert
If you’re still not sure where you fit on the personality spectrum, there are a few ways that can help you decide. Here are common characteristics of the ambivert that you might be able to identify.
1. Focused and Not Easily Distracted
Unlike the extrovert, external stimuli don’t bother the person who rides the middle of the curve. A study was conducted in Malaysia and published by the International Journal of Science. They want to see how this personality type is measured when it came to brain response.
They found that their focus and ability to stay on task were remarkable. The brain scans proved that most of the responses were coming from the front area of their brains, which is why they reacted the way they did.
2. Flexible Enough To Roll With the Punches
Another characteristic of this personality is that you can act either like an introvert or an extrovert, depending on the situation. You can chat with employees while riding an elevator, but the difference is that you’re listening to every word they say and carefully analyzing it. Think of it like flipping a light switch; you know which personality characteristics to bring out when the situation warrants.
Having a personality that balances in the middle means that you can adjust to various people and places. Many people wrongly think that introverts lack social skills or emotional intelligence, but they can be quite charming. The difference is they prefer to step back and observe more than speak.
Paulette Kouffman Sherman, Psy.D., says this about ambiverts in her relaxation guide, The Book of Sacred Baths:
“Ambiverts can get energy from being with people and from being alone and they can be self-reflective in situations and also work things through by talking with others.”
3. Very Persuasive
Did you know that the ambivert is an ideal sales professional? They make way more money than the introvert and extrovert combined. Why are they so good at this kind of career?
For starters, they are listening to your needs and wants before you tell them. They’re very in-tune with their customers, so they want to find the product that makes your life better. They want to make a sale, but customer satisfaction is a big priority.
To be a good salesperson, you need to know how to be enthusiastic and listen to the customer’s needs. In fact, Psychological Science, a psychology journal, published a study noting how this gift of persuasion translates to a fruitful sales career for many ambiverts.
Study author, Adam M. Grant, with the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, stated the following:
“…ambiverts are likely to express sufficient assertiveness and enthusiasm to persuade and close a sale but are more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.”
4. Standing up for Yourself
Many people think that the introvert is shy and won’t speak in public, which is not valid. They will speak in public only after they’ve determined they absolutely must, and they’ve connected all the dots. Sadly, they can often become paralyzed by the analysis they feel needs to be done.
The ambivert loves to share their ideas, but they aren’t as boisterous with them as the extrovert would be. They know when to speak and when to hold their tongue, which comes hard to the extroverted personality.
5. Decision Making Is Challenging
Making a simple decision like where to eat dinner that night might be draining. The third personality type uses a lot of energy because they’re not too far to the right or left, which is like lacking a home base. Introverts know not to go to a party because they hate small talk and crowds.
The person in the middle might waffle a bit on their decisions. It takes them a great deal of energy to make any choices, so it creates an even more challenging dynamic.
6. A Lack of Direction
Have you ever seen a car that’s crashed and is sent spiraling in all directions? The personality that rides the middle lane can be like that at times. You’re very self-aware, but the freedoms that you have can be very overwhelming.
You may be very indecisive, which can be annoying to a spouse.
7. Change Like the Wind
Do you tend to change your mind like the wind? One minute, you’re ready to jump in the car and head on a spur-of-the-moment vacation, but the next minute you come back to your senses and realize it’s a foolish move. When you flip-flop, it can be very confusing to those around you, and it can make some folks downright mad.
The problem is that you were sure the idea was great about an hour ago, but you’ve had a change of heart. Being stuck between introversion and extroversion can lead to some mental confusion.
Final Thoughts on Being an Ambivert
Whether you go to the left, the right, or stay in the middle doesn’t matter, you need to learn to embrace yourself and your gifts. While some folks with this third personality like to be stimulated, the other half will hate being in a crowd. It would help if you acknowledged the introvert and extrovert characteristics you like to form your own identity.
Gaining self-awareness will make your life much easier. If you’re unsure how you do that, you should try taking a few personality tests to help you identify patterns. You need to figure out if you’re more of a person who loves a low-key atmosphere or one that’s revved up.
The beautiful thing about being this third personality is that you get to pave the way for your life and bust through typical stereotypes. There is no general rule with these folks, and you can shift between introversion and extroversion with ease. Don’t beat yourself up because you don’t fit into a specific mold. Instead, try doing what feels good for you.
If you feel lost in your thoughts and feelings, you may want to keep a journal. Writing things down can help you during the times when you feel lost or out of sorts. It’s also an excellent way to keep checks and balance records so that you can help to identify the things that work for you and those that don’t. Once you start tracking these things, you might realize that you are neither an introvert nor an extrovert. Indeed, you are an ambivert!