No matter which article you read, personality descriptions can almost always be whittled down to a few basic characterizations:
- If you’re an extrovert, you’re a social butterfly, think the life of the party
- If you’re an introvert, your free time is spent with your head in a book avoiding the party
Both descriptions, I feel fall flat in fully describing the complexity of personality which is why I tend to follow Carl Jung’s theory of personality. A Swiss psychiatrist, he developed the ideas behind personality types noting that the introversion/extraversion dichotomy was more about one’s orientation of energy. Huh?
Well, his idea was that extroverts focus on the outer world and restore their energy by being around other people. Whereas, introverts focus on their inner world and restore their energy by reflecting on thoughts and ideas while preferring to spend more of their time on their own.
But what happens if you show preferences for both? Cue the struggle of the ambivert!
An ambivert is someone who falls in the middle of the introvert/extrovert continuum; having a blend of traits from both, as well as their own unique strengths. More often than not (and depending on the mood, context, and goals of the person) you can flip back and forth between the two types.
Sometimes ambiverts are called:
- Outgoing introverts: An introvert who can be outgoing in certain situations, around certain people, or when they absolutely need to be
- Antisocial extroverts: An extrovert who needs time to recharge before socializing, or who likes to be alone more than a typical extrovert
- Social introverts: An introvert who can dial into extroversion when needed
And this is where I come in: the outgoing/social introvert.
Some days I’m completely content spending a weekend, day, or evening in the quiet of my apartment. I could even say that I have to, in order to dispense some of what I can only guess is active energy that comes from being a busy beaver. So I’ll spend those quieter moments catching up on chores, getting ready for the week ahead, organizing, surfing the net or just enjoying alone time.
On other days, I thrive being around people, love being “a part” of the life of the party, or even striking up a conversation with anyone anywhere (though this is super rare).
Best explanation? I’m a walking conundrum. But on the bright side, I have the best of both worlds! And what a life it is, striking a balance between the two polar opposite personality traits.