There's another option besides being introverted or extroverted. I’m likely an ambivert. Who knew?!
I've always thought of myself as a staunch introvert who 90% of the time would rather have a quiet night in than a loud night out. People who meet me for the first time would say otherwise. They're always shocked to hear me describe myself as an introvert given how outgoing I can be in social situations. I get the same two responses every time, "really? ya could've fooled me" or "huh, I wouldn't have pegged you as an introvert." The truth is, I'm exhausted after about an hour of tap dancing for an audience.
The level of fatigue I feel after social situations has always led me to feel introverted. I may be alert and highly engaged in groups, but I'm also the first person to go home. Also, it takes a lot of pep talking to get me to keep social engagements, especially when there is a couch and pizza available. However, I totally get why someone wouldn't describe me as an introvert based on social interaction. It's because of my ability to "turn it on" and "turn it off" that my entire life I thought I was faking my extroversion.
Being an introvert has been quite the ride. I've had people over the years claim I needed "fixing" because my inherit introversion meant there was something wrong with me. I was told that to be a good salesperson I needed to be really extroverted. The Myers-Brigg test nearly disqualified me from a few jobs as a result. There were decades when introverts were treated like weirdo lepers and now it feels like the "in" thing to be an introvert. The truth is that 60% of the population are neither introverted nor extroverted. The vast majority of us have been picking sides when we're really ambiverts. The term ambivert has been around since 1927 and was coined by social psychologist Kimball Young in Source Book for Social Psychology. Ambiversion is described as someone who exhibits both the characteristics of an extrovert and an introvert.
I've been misinformed my entire life and I want a refund. No one EVER mentioned anything about there being an in between. Therefore, I needed to pick a side and I picked the one that most frequently resonated with me. Then, when people were shocked by my identifying as an introvert I would tell them that the extroversion wasn't real; it was just something I taught myself to do. Although I know better now, I think I'll stick to my former explanation it made for an interesting flow of conversation.
So what do you think? Are you enlightened? Does this help explain why you never really fit into the introvert or extrovert column?
In Forbes's 9 Signs That You're an Ambivert article, the author included the below list and I thought it would be fun to go through an add my responses to each. Add your responses in the comments section below.
1. "I can perform tasks alone or in a group. I don’t have much preference either way."
Actually, my preference is to work alone.
2. Social settings don’t make me uncomfortable, but I tire of being around people too much.
Yeah, this one sounds right.
3. Being the center of attention is fun for me, but I don’t like it to last.
Yep, I can vibe with this one as well.
4. Some people think I’m quiet, while others think I’m highly social.
If I'm quiet around you it's either because I really like you or I really don't trust you.
5. I don’t always need to be moving, but too much downtime leaves me feeling bored.
It takes a LOT of downtime before I get too bored.
6. I can get lost in my own thoughts just as easily as I can lose myself in a conversation.
7. Small talk doesn’t make me uncomfortable, but it does get boring.
8. When it comes to trusting other people, sometimes I’m skeptical, and other times, I dive right in.
Yep, that's me 100%.
9. If I spend too much time alone, I get bored, yet too much time around other people leaves me feeling drained.
Again, it takes an extreme amount of alone time for me to get bored. I keep myself pretty well entertained.