Many of us identify as either an introvert (a shy, reticent person) or an extrovert (an outgoing, socially confident person). But like gender, sexuality and other ways we define ourselves, personality is a non-binary spectrum. The vast majority of us may actually identify as ambiverts — a mix of both an introvert and an extrovert.
An ambivert is someone who embodies both introversion and extroversion.
In fact, a study from researcher Adam Grant at Wharton
found that two-thirds of us don’t strongly identify as either introverts or extroverts. The bulk of us boast both introverted and extroverted tendencies, which vary depending on the situations in which we find ourselves.
This means that ambiverts have an easier time adapting to different circumstances and establishing rapport with all types of other people. In short: Being an ambivert is beneficial because there are undeniable pitfalls and strengths to both personality types.
Answering "yes" to these seven questions may mean that you're an ambivert, too.
1. Can you work alone or in a group, as you don’t have much of a preference?
If you can work efficiently and effectively both solo or in a group, you might be an ambivert. Introverts tend to prefer to work alone, while extroverts tend to prefer to work in groups.
If this is the case, you'll thrive in different workplace situations. You should absolutely play up your adaptability here.
2. Do you feel comfortable in social settings, but still value your alone time, too?
If you feel comfortable in social settings, but you don't feel like being social all the time, you might be an ambivert. Social situations can make some introverts feel anxious and uncomfortable, while extroverts tend to thrive. And extroverts don't enjoy spending too much time alone, while introverts feel the most comfortable in their solitude.
If you're comfortable in social settings, but still value you're alone time, it's important that you engage in social situations — sign yourself up for meetups, go out with friends, join a club team, go to happy hour with your colleagues, etc. — but also set boundaries for yourself. Know your limits and, when you think you need some solo time, carve out a day or two for it. Self-care is important.
3. Can you get lost in your thoughts, just as much as you can get lost in good conversation?
If you can enjoy a rumination with yourself just as much as a conversation with others, you might be an ambivert. Introverts tend to spend a lot of time thinking and looking inward, while extroverts like to share their thoughts and conversate with others.
If you're one of these people, it's important to do a lot of thinking and talking. It's healthy for you to have conversations with others, especially after you've thought quite a lot about the topic you're discussing.
4. Do some people think you're very quiet, while others think you're very social?
Do you have some groups of friends or specific friends who think you're an introvert, while others would define you as an extrovert? This is perhaps because you're an ambivert who feeds off other people's energies and adapts to the situations at hand.
If you're both an introvert and an extrovert depending on the friends with whom you spend your time, keep that up. It's likely that you keep those friends because your personalities mesh so well. You don't need to fit into one box or the other.
5. Do you get bored if you spend too much time alone, yet drained if you spend too much time with others?
Introverts love spending time alone, and extroverts love spending time with others. If you need a balance, it might be because you're an ambivert.
If you're bored spending too much time alone and drained spending too much time with others, again, set boundaries. Get out there and socialize, but understand when to say "no."
6. Do you like attention, just not all the time?
If you enjoy being the center attention — just not for too long — you might be an ambivert.
If you're an attention seeker just some of the time, get out and try to do some activities that give you the spotlight for just a little while (read: standup, open mic nights, slam poetry, sports that depend on your skills, etc.).
7. Do you enjoy spending the weekend relaxing inside and going out socializing equally?
While introverts tend to spend their weekends relaxing, hanging out and being homebodies, extroverts tend to use their time off to go out and socialize. If you enjoy doing both, depending on the weekend, you might be an ambivert.
If you're one of these people, it's important to find a good balance. Spend some weekends going out with friends and family, but make sure you carve out time to relax and unwind, as well.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreport and Facebook.