What most of us don't discuss with our friends are our deepest, darkest feelings about ourselves. Who are we? Who do I want to be?
A lot of us would probably agree, there are two types of people at parties. Those who thrive on being the centre of attention, and those who are happier playing wall flower, or would rather not even be at the party at all.
Most of the time this can be traced back to our personality types, being either an extrovert or introvert. But why do we have to fit into one of these categories?
What is the definition of an extrovert and introvert?
Extroverts are the social butterflies, those who flourish in the spotlight and demand the attention of a crowd. While introverts fill their cups in private, usually in the form of Netflix or a good chat with a bestie.
By now, most of us will have filed ourselves under one of the two. Or, it may be the case, that you have never really felt like you fit into either of these extremes. If this sounds like you - it might just be that you fit into a third - more rare - personality type! An ambivert.
What is an ambivert?
Think of an ambivert, as the unicorn of social personalities - in that, some people claim it doesn’t actually exist. However, many remain adamant that it does.
Unlike introverts or extroverts, ambiverts tend to portray a blend of characteristics that are usually ascribed to both ends of the spectrum. For example, you might be a good communicator (extrovert) but also a good listener (introvert). Or you might be comfortable in social situations (extrovert) but also love your alone time (introvert).
Think this sounds like you?
5 signs that you may be an ambivert:
- You’re good at listening AND communicating
- You can perform tasks in a group or alone
- You have the ability to adjust your behaviour to fit the crowd
- You don't always have to be moving, but too much down time is boring
- You feel comfortable in social situations but also love your alone time
- Empathy comes naturally to you
- You’re able to provide balance in a group dynamic
- Small talk doesn't make you uncomfortable but it does get boring
What are the benefits of being an ambivert?
Ambiverts are likely to prosper in their relationships given their unique ability to engage socially, and hold the attention of a crowd, while also being receptive and a good listener.
Ambiverts have a distinct advantage over introverts and extroverts. Their personality doesn’t lean too heavily in either direction, and they have a much easier time adjusting their approach to people based on the situation. This enables them to connect more easily, more deeply, and with a wider variety of people.
Being an ambivert can also be an advantage in the work place. A study published in the Harvard Business Review found extroverted leaders were more likely to manage successfully when leading passive workers. However, this was not the case if they were in charge of proactive workers, who were more likely to thrive under a more introverted boss.
In this context, ambiverts might be at an advantage as they can fluctuate between introversion and extroversion as required, knowing when to step up and when to step back.
Regardless of whether you colour yourself an introvert, extrovert or the more nuanced ambivert, understanding your natural personality type can be an advantage. It can help you learn where you feel most comfortable, both socially and professionally.