Do you consider yourself an ambivert? I’ve always been perplexed by the question:
“Do you consider yourself an extrovert or an introvert?”
I, like many others, do not fit neatly into either category. I’d like to introduce you to the concept of an ambivert in this article.
What exactly is an ambivert? An ambivert is someone who has traits of both introversion and extroversion and can switch between the two depending on their mood, context, and goals.
Ambiverts have also been referred to as:
- Introverts who are outgoing: Introverts who can be outgoing in certain situations, around certain people, or when absolutely necessary.
- Antisocial extroverts: An extrovert who requires time to recharge before socializing or prefers to be alone more than the average extrovert.
- Social introverts: Introverts who can switch to extroversion when necessary.
Extroversion and introversion describe how a person responds to other people. Ambiverts react to people in a variety of ways.
Ambiverts can become extroverted in the right situation, in the right mood, and with the right people.
Ambiverts can become introverts in difficult situations, such as when they are tired or cranky, or when they are around toxic people.
Here are some key distinctions between extroverts, ambiverts, and introverts:
According to research, how we react to people is physiological. According to the findings of this study, we immediately judge someone’s level of extroversion or introversion–often based on facial structure. As an example:
We can also choose our proclivity for extroversion. Which of these explanations sounds more like you?
I am drawn to people; I get a lot of energy from social gatherings and am quite outgoing. (Extrovert) Being around a lot of people is exhausting. I prefer solitude, peace, and quiet time. In my spare time, I usually crave solitude. (Introvert) It is dependent. (Ambivert)
For the sake of the article, I’ll use the terms as labels, but let’s get one thing straight:
Ambiversion Is a Spectrum, Not a Label.
Instead of thinking of extroversion or introversion as labels, consider the following extroversion spectrum:
Why Are Ambiverts Amazing?
Many people believe that extroverts are the best at sales, leadership, and career success—WRONG! Adam Grant, an associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, examined 35 separate studies and discovered a statistically insignificant relationship between extroversion and income.
He conducted a personality survey and gathered three-month sales records for over 300 male and female salespeople.
Ambiverts were the best salespeople because they were balanced in terms of extroversion and introversion.
“Ambiverts generated 24% more revenue than introverts and a mind-boggling 32% more revenue than extroverts!”
According to Grant, ambiverts appear to strike a balance between the two more extreme personality traits:
“The ambivert advantage stems from the tendency to be assertive and enthusiastic enough to persuade and close, while also carefully listening to customers and avoiding the appearance of being overconfident or excited,” Grant explained.
Do You Consider Yourself an Ambivert?
First, let’s see where you fall on the scale. Do you think you’re an ambivert? Or do you know someone who does? Take the Ambivert Quiz to find out if you’re an ambivert.
Introversion in a specific situation.
Ambiverts typically oscillate between the extremes of the spectrum depending on the situation, context, and people around them. This is what I refer to as situational introversion.
Certain places, for example, make me extremely nervous and quiet—nightclubs, rooftop bars, and stereotypically ‘chic’ places make me feel extremely out of place. In contrast, you can’t get me to stop talking in learning environments like classrooms, workshops, or seminars.
I always have my hand up, make friends with everyone within ten feet of me, and always ask for extra credit.
If you want to master your people skills, you must first lay a strong foundation.
The Advantage of an Ambivert
It is advantageous to be able to balance extroversion and introversion. Examine the following traits, courtesy of Larry Kim:
- Flexible: Ambiverts are more adaptable to their surroundings and situations.
- Stable: According to psychologist Hans Eysenck, who coined the term “ambivert” in 1947, ambiverts provide a good balance between some introverts’ hypersensitivity and some extroverts’ domineering attitude.
- Ambiverts, according to Daniel Pink, “know when to speak up and when to shut up, when to inspect and when to respond, when to push and when to hold back.”
With all of that freedom comes some risks. Because ambiverts are so adaptable, they frequently encounter the following issues:
- They enjoy conversing with others but prefer to plan ahead of time.
- They say yes to too many things because they are unsure of what is best for them.
- Their extroverted side agrees to things in the future, but their introverted side has had a bad day and does not want to go.
- Nothing sounds fun when they’re in a bad mood.
- They only enjoy going out when they are in the right mood and with the right people.
Increase Your Ambiversion
Now I want you to take advantage of your ambiversion! Here’s how to do it:
“The ambivert advantage stems from the tendency to be assertive and enthusiastic enough to persuade and close, while also carefully listening to customers and avoiding the appearance of being overconfident or excited,” Grant explained. Recognize when to employ the traits that benefit you in a flexible manner.
I want you to take charge of how you spend your time and with whom you spend it. I’m giving you permission: you don’t have to spend your time with people or in places that drain you.
Life is too short to waste time with toxic people and in draining environments!