What Does it Mean to be An Ambivert? (Most of Us Are!)

For those of you who like personality tests and psychology read on!

I assume that most of us have heard of the terms “introvert” and “extrovert” at least a couple of times in our lives. The terms were introduced in 1921 by Carl G. Jung in his book Psychological Traits, and have since been used as key determining factors in personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs personality inventory, the Big Five traits and the 16 Personalities Test (All fun and informative tests! If you haven’t taken them do it now!) 

For those of you who do not know, introversion means that one draws energy from being alone while extroversion means one gains energy from interaction with others and being in social situations.

There is also a third term that is talked about significantly less often, yet people with this identity make up a greater population than the number of introverts and extroverts. Carl Jung even argues that this third, middle type is, “the most numerous.”

This personality trait is the ambivert: a person who sits between extrovert and introvert almost perfectly. Someone who enjoys going out and socializing, enjoys going to parties, is capable of small talk yet loves to be alone and in the comfort of their own space, entertained by purely themselves and are not at all bored in their quiet solitude.

I bet most of you reading that description thought to yourself, “yup, that’s me.” And I bet you are! Psychologist Adam Grant said in a Wall Street Journal interview that ambiverts actually make up between half and two-thirds of the population. My own 16 Personalities Test resulted in INFJ but found that I am 51% introvert and 49% extrovert, the closest I have ever been to being perfectly situated in the middle!

I remember feeling so annoyed and put down when I saw articles published to major magazines and newspapers about how the extrovert is the one who succeeds, how introverts are creepy and unsuccessful. Most things aren’t so black and white. I felt as though whoever wrote these articles was misinformed or did not do their research thoroughly enough to understand what it means to be introverted or extroverted, and disregarded the fact that most of us are actually ambiverts. Most importantly, to be either an extrovert or introvert both have their pros and cons!

What’s interesting though is that psychologists have found that it is not the loud, enthusiastic extroverts nor the quiet and less social who do best in work and society, but the ambiverts. Articles will try to make a clear line between the polar opposites, pegging one as the loser and the other the winner, but in reality, we are not that divided! 

Here are six key positive traits of ours that should be something to be proud of that I pulled from my own experience, fellow ambiverts, and from psychological articles:

  1. Ambiverts are overall balanced. They understand the need for it and are successful in practicing it, which is key to becoming a well-rounded person.
  2. They are flexible. They do not tend to prefer one way over the other and are open-minded when making decisions. They can feel equally satisfied mingling and laughing at a party or curled up in their quiet home. Deciding whether or not to go out or stay in can sometimes be a dilemma because they know they would enjoy both scenarios.
  3. They are emotionally stable. They can regulate their emotions best, meaning that it may be rare they come off as outwardly rude or quick to judge. Instead, they have a healthy balance between optimism and pessimism and can typically look at situations with a clear, level-head. Ambiverts have a great balance between being hypersensitive, like an introvert, but also not easily influenced by outside factors, like an extrovert. They understand how they would react in varying situations and know how to gauge their reactions and decisions based on this emotional intellect.​
  4. Ambiverts are intuitive. They know when to speak up and when to shut up, they know how to react one way versus another and at times. This can make them feel different among the polar introverts and extroverts who appear so jarringly one way. Ambiverts have a deeper, follow-your-gut intuition when making decisions or in-the-moment reactions. This trait serves extremely well in business and life in general.
  5. They are influential. In sales roles, ambiverts make about 24% higher hourly revenues than extroverts. This could be due to their more relaxed, empathetic, and relatable personality.
  6. Ambiverts are naturally empathetic. They are great listeners and show that they understand where a person is coming from, making sure to ask questions before posing solutions.

 

No matter which type you fall into: introvert, extrovert or ambivert, just know we all have pros and cons and we’re more than just a category! Taking the personality tests above may help you learn just a little more about yourself and shine a light on aspects of your personality that you have always wondered about but they shouldn’t be taken entirely seriously. No one will completely fit into the descriptions psychologists create in these assessments and that’s okay! Remember to focus on your strengths, become aware of blind spots and weaknesses to learn from, and purge toxicity in your life. To be emotionally intelligent and self-aware is extremely rewarding and can help lead to a more balanced, healthy life.