Do you want a soundtrack while reading this post? Here’s some instrumental jazz fused with Disney.
My Story as an Ambivert: Are You One Too?
Have you been asked this question before: Are you an extrovert or an introvert?
My question to you: do you have a hard time deciding? We’ll get more into this later 🙂
The Introverts Are Rising Up
It’s the extroverts’ world. You might ask why, and it’s simple, extroverts are outgoing enough to make the world theirs. Introverts are more pensive and witness the extroverts boisterously making their presences known.
Sometimes it’s hard for introverts to grasp control from the extroverts but many have accomplished great tasks by adapting to the extroverts. Here are some examples:
- Johnny Carson gained confidence by performing magic as a kid where he learned that he could control the stage.
- Rosa Parks was soft-spoken and timid yet became a symbol of courage during the Civil Rights movement.
- Steven Spielberg found a way to escape into the realm of films so he could express himself.
- JK Rowling had an epiphany about the story of Harry Potter yet was “too shy to ask for a pen.”
Nowadays, introverts are getting a lot of attention in books, TED talks, and articles. A community of people want to make their presence known so the introverts are banding together.
Here’s a TED Talk with over 14 million views about the subject:
But, what if you don’t identify yourself as an introvert? Where’s your community?
What if You’re Neither?
Do your friends and family automatically peg you as one or the other yet you don’t always agree?
Here’s my story. I was raised and groomed to be an extrovert. My father told me that I should go into sales because of my outgoing nature. My mother is an extrovert and made sure to plug me into the family’s social life where I learned how to “work a room.”
Yet, as an adult, I reflect on how introverted I was as a child. Some of my favorite play activities were being alone outside of the garage playing roller hockey, figuring out how to best organize my toys in their fictional worlds, and going on long walks throughout the neighborhood. Some researchers say that personality types start surfacing as an infant and it’s hard to change throughout life. So I must be an introvert right?
It took a while to realize but now I understand that I’m an ambivert.
Embracing the Ambivert
Extrovert vs. introvert. It doesn’t have to be one or the other and situations are rarely black-and-white. Add your own letter to the Myers Briggs Assessment. No longer will it be just an an “I” or an “E”. So let’s embrace the grey and realize that it’s a spectrum.
Carl Jung, a world famous psychologist from the 1920s, popularized extroverts and introverts. He mentioned a possible third party but never named them. In the 1940’s, ambiverts began getting more attention.
Nowadays, ambiverts are being recognized as some of the best sales people due to their empathy and ability to adapt to both personalities. One researcher says that ambiverts make up 66% of all Americans where both extroverts and introverts share the other third equally.
If you’re feeling like you’re ambivert, realize you’re not alone. I hope this article gives you some confidence to explore how being an ambivert is pretty rad. Yet, it’s still an extroverted world and now introverts are making their voices heard. There’s no community for ambiverts yet so below are some strategies on how to make you more comfortable.
How to Balance Your Two Sides
Whenever alone time is needed, I sometimes feel that something must be wrong with me. If I’m not being social, then am I hermit? Again, this is a problem with my psyche being pressured to be part of the extroverted world. It takes discipline to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Here are some of my favorite habits that you can implement in your own life to help you maintain your proper balance.
- Isolate yourself with activities
When I need downtime, I try to have reasons to excuse myself. Recently I was on a multi-day rafting trip in the Idaho wilderness with lots of extroverts. I balanced being social with alone time where I sat solo writing in my travel journal and reading. By having these go-to activities, I didn’t feel bad about being alone and it didn’t come across like I was snubbing the social scenes.
- Mark times on your calendar to be alone and other times be social.
Plan your own social life with mingling activities. Say “yes” to personal social invitations to hang out with friends and then enjoy interacting with familiar and new people. I also try to be part of different groups (structured and informal) to mix up my social circles with different types of people from all backgrounds and ages.
Those habits take care of the extroverted side, now it’s time to feed your introverted self. I plan disc golf days to go on the course solo and excursions like road trips. These are great times to be alone and just unwind. I also enjoy exercising, puzzles, reading, and walking the dog as activities to be by myself and recharge.
Find your own activities and then mark them on the calendar to either be social or solo.
- See “extrovert” and “introvert” as chosen identities: For example, “Right now, I’m going to be an extrovert.”
Understand that you’re both and have the unique ability to adapt. Instead of giving yourself a hard time for not being one or the other, say to yourself, “Which side is necessary in this situation?” You have both sides in you so embrace that.
Still unclear of which personality type you are, fill out this four-minute assessment from Daniel Pink’s website: http://www.danpink.com/assessment/
Thanks for reading and please be sure to check out our other articles on this blog for Personal Finance help as well as Personal and Professional Development topics.