I may not have taken any officially recognised tests, but an Ambivert I am.
Loud, opinionated and jumping up and down with excitement. Mild and harmonious, reserving of judgment, laissez-faire and laid back. And then silent, listening, unassuming, understated and shy. Sometimes switching from one extreme to the other within the space of an hour.
Yes, today I discovered there’s a new word for being all of those things at once – #ambivert. And since the world has always been full of us unfathomable creatures, I’m pretty sure this fairly recent addition to the dictionary is here to stay!
But what is an Ambivert?
Quite simply a person who has both Introvert and Extrovert characteristics and tendencies. Psychologists may have coined the term long ago, but to those of us who try hopelessly to label ourselves as either Introvert or Extrovert, it should come as a welcome relief that we no longer need to attempt to fit square pegs in round holes. We can be Ambivert and proud! We don’t have to be one or the other, this or that. There is nothing ‘wrong’ with us if we don’t fit in either camp. If one minute we adore being centre stage at the party but a couple of hours later crave the solitude of our cosy home, a good book and whale meditation music, well, it’s simply because we are Ambivert!
Which isn’t to be confused with any mental health imbalances…
We Ambiverts are just the kind of people who feel inclined to express different parts of our personality at different times and according to the social situation. In other words, it’s all about balance. I know my Ambivert tendencies are definitely people led. When I am around the vivacious Lady Lolita and The Duchess for example, I am more likely to be the mouse of the trio. But spark up a conversation I am passionate about, introduce cake to the proceedings or play some Muse in the background… and I will be dancing on the table with the most Extrovert of them.
Likewise, with a group of shy and less socially vocal friends, I will naturally find myself taking the lead and doing most of the talking.
But I can indulge in neither extreme for too long. And perhaps that is why I am often referred to among my friends as the ‘grounded one’, not in the boring yawn sense (I hope), but in the sense that I balance out most social gatherings. I restore calm in an argument… though not always, I am still a Taurean and will always have the Extrovert’s volcanic bull-like stampede of an outbreak when push comes to shove! But as an Ambivert, I am perhaps one of the best people to have at a party. I see the good in pretty much everyone. I chat with pretty much everyone. I mingle well. I don’t get too caught up in the drama. And I am also a dab hand at walking away from negative conversation traps… no matter how well the trap has been laid!
It’s a pendulum thing.
And perhaps nobody explained it better than Carl Jung in these simple terms:
“There is no such thing as a pure extrovert or a pure introvert.”
In that sense, perhaps we are all Ambiverts then?
Well, I’m not sure I agree with Jung in terms of us all being somewhere in the middle, neither do I think we are all fluctuating from one end of the spectrum to the other either. I am smart enough to spot an Extrovert and an Introvert from a mile off… and have come across many, many classic examples of each in my time!
But I do agree with his quote above when it comes to those of us who don’t consistently identify with being one or the other. And I rather like that I ‘get’ the choice. It’s pretty cool to adapt my personality according to need.
I mean, where can the Extrovert go when they have a challenge?
And what about the Introvert?
But as the mostly ‘level-headed’ Ambivert, I can stay right where I am… Or I can go hell for leather into any one of my super positive Extrovert Fairy Godmother/Equality For All, or I CAN DO THIS and I WILL characters. And the rest besides… And if I am not feeling that way inclined, I can go hermit-like instead, batten down the hatches, re-set my inner compass with some peace and solitude.
In short, I frickin’ love how my options are so open to me. Sometimes it feels like I’m being an actress, true, but the fact is I have been doing this all my life with ease. It’s what come natural to me. It’s just the way I am.
Like a chameleon, us Ambiverts are masters of adaptation.
We read our situations way ahead. We rarely go in all guns blazing. We will usually calculate and then take the risk. But oh, on those days when we gloriously abandon sense and rationality – let me tell you this much: there IS no greater feeling!
Ambiverts are THE biggest surprise.
Like when you are clothes shopping with the usually plugged-in-and-earthed Ambivert, you receive bad service in a shop and she mysteriously turns into Joan Collins with the most Diva-like of demands. All completely, totally and utterly randomly out of the blue. Yes, Ambiverts revel in the thrill that comes with a moment. After which…
‘It’s always the quiet ones…’
People will say. And they are right. Our what-am-I-about-to-do moments of spontaneity (although coupled with sheer clarity) get our pulses racing and put the fire in our belly like nothing else. Because we know how stunned those around us will be. It just adds to the fun that being an Ambivert is!
Which commands Ambiverts respect.
You might assume we are fence sitters, perched leisurely right there in the middle between two absolute extremes. But just watch what happens when an Ambivert gets passionate about changing the world! His or her fuel to ignite a ripple effect is something else. All that latent energy from spending a few days introverted and BANG, that’s one powerhouse of a fire. The biggest of Extroverts could never compete.
And when we’re done, we’ll calm it all back down again… ready for next time.
So how to best sum an Ambivert up?
One of the best passages I have found while researching this whole new term today was this beauty, taken from a Are You an Ambivert?:
“Neither fish nor fowl, ambiverts occupy the expansive space between the polar extremes of extroversion and introversion, embodying and adopting key attributes of both psychological archetypes. For example, ambiverts are uniquely equipped to move comfortably between raucous social settings and intense solitude, and while they know how to assert their opinions, they refrain from being aggressive or boorish.”
Oh my goodness. I don’t know about you, but this gives me goosebumps! It couldn’t paint a more accurate picture of me if it tried.
And how about you? Are you still unsure of where you ‘belong’?
Are You an Ambivert? Try this Ambivert Personality test and find out.
Let us know how you get on!