10 Signs You’re an Ambivert (Hint: You Probably Are)
Not totally sure where you fall on the personality spectrum? Here are some key traits that suggest you might be smack in the middle, AKA, an ambivert.
You relate to the characteristics of both an extrovert and an introvert
While most of us are more familiar with the opposite ends of the personality spectrum, introvert and extrovert, we’re actually more likely to identify with the in-between, also known as ambivert. “An ambivert is someone who possess traits of both, meaning they may have the charisma and assertiveness of an extrovert and share the thoughtfulness and listening skills of an introvert,” explains Helen Odessky, PhD, psychologist and author of Stop Anxiety from Stopping You. Extroverts are generally energized by being around other people, love being the life of the party, avoid being alone for long periods of time, and prefer to talk things out then leave things unsaid. Introverts, on the other hand, make alone time a priority, enjoy more intimate conversations, stray from large gatherings, prefer to think things through instead of talking things out, and are energized by alone time. Do you find things in common with each? If so, you’re likely an ambivert. “You’re emotionally flexible,” says Paulette Kouffman Sherman, PsyD, psychologist and author of The Book of Sacred Baths. “Ambiverts can get energy from being with people and from being alone and they can be self-reflective in situations and also work things through by talking with others.” This gives you the advantage of having both skills as tools.
You love being social but also crave alone time
If spending time with other people sometimes energizes you and other times completely exhausts you, you’re an ambivert. “You’ll find that you go through phases where you want to be around people, but then at some point you’ve had enough and need to retire from company to restore your energy levels alone,” explains Grant Brenner, MD, a Manhattan-based psychiatrist. “You can be reserved and quiet when you’re not in the mood to be around people, but when you’re looking forward to being around people you can be confident and outgoing.” This can be great, assuming you’re in the right mood at the right time, though there will be times when you wish you could be more interesting, but just can’t find it within you. There may be some days when you’re craving alone time and enjoy doing things around the house and other times when you feel stir-crazy and just need to be out with people. The trick is to work out the timing or learn to harness both ends of the spectrum, so you can enjoy being social and engaging and also set aside some alone time. These conversation starters make you instantly interesting.
You have a good sense of when to trust
“Extroverts tend to trust others more easily, sharing more about themselves early on and becoming more friendly right off the bat,” says Dr. Brenner. “For example, they’re typically more quick to use nicknames rather than more formally sticking with full names even when it seems too stiff.” Introverts, on the other hand, tend to open up more slowly and prefer to keep some distance between themselves and others until they get to know exactly who they’re dealing with. Ambiverts can do either. They can sense when they need to listen or be assertive and know how to adapt to the environment or person they’re with. These are the subtle habits that make people trust you.
You’re comfortable in most environments
Ambiverts like both stimulating and non-stimulating environments. They can seek social interactions and pull back when they need a break. This makes them very versatile and well adapted to whatever situation they might find themselves in. For example, they can thrive at a protest or demonstration march just as well as they can enjoy a quiet evening alone watching Netflix. “Because they gain energy both from spending time with others and from alone time, most situations and environments can suit them,” Dr. Brenner says. “They are flexible, which can help them to speak to crowds and spend time alone in a work setting in front of a computer researching or writing.”
You often feel the need to dial back your social time
Ambiverts like to do a lot of different things so they don’t get bored, but they also need to take breaks because it sometimes gets to be too much. “Extroverts, on average, do many things differently in their personal and professional lives, but may not get into many of them in depth because they seek a higher level of stimulation from the external environment,” says Dr. Brenner. “Introverts, on the other hand, tend to need less stimulation and, in fact, may find being around other people over-stimulating.” Ambiverts can seek social interactions when they need stimulation and pull back when they need a breather. They might find themselves in the middle of a big crowd having a grand old time, but when it gets to be too much, they might retire to the quieter part of the party to have a deeper conversation with one or two people with similar interests, and get a lot out of that as well. Use these tricks to joining a conversation at a party without being awkward.
You’re a good communicator
Ambiverts love delving into those deep, intimate, one-on-one conversations just as much as they enjoy engaging in small talk with a stranger on the subway. They are good listeners and have a distinct intuition about when it’s appropriate to speak and when it’s better to listen. “Taking on the qualities of both introverts and extroverts allows them to have enough time to think before they speak, which helps them avoid saying something irrational or impulsive, and are also able to speak their mind freely and share their ideas,” says Dr. Sherman. Here’s what good listeners have in common.
You often feel indecisive
Because ambiverts can be both introverted and extroverted, they’re not always sure what will give them the energy they crave. This may lead them to question whether it would be best for them to sit home and read a good book or go out to a networking event to meet new and fascinating people. “Seeing equal pros and cons to all different scenarios can lead to bouts of confusion,” Dr. Sherman explains. Sometimes simply being in one of the two extreme situations can encourage ambiverts to adapt and relax in either environment, but other times it can be problematic. “When you find yourself in a social situation that you’re not in the mood for, you might become irritable or unusually quiet,” says Brenner. “Or, you may find yourself completely bored when you’re alone at home, even though you know in the back of your mind there’s a book you’ve been meaning to read forever or a project you have to do.”
You work well both solo and in groups
Ambiverts can be excellent team players and thrive in a group setting, mainly because they have the perfect balance between needing to be the center of attention and needing to be the “quiet one.” They’re also happy to take on solo assignments and find no problem sourcing knowledge or information themselves. “This is because ambiverts can draw on extroverted traits while they’re in group settings, feeding off the energy and creativity, facilitating conversations and amping up the brainstorming, and they can also back off and give air time to others in the group without having to take over,” explains Brenner. “When they are working alone, they can use their introverted traits to buckled down and dig deep, pulling the assignment together with the group in mind.”
You’re comfortable around a range of different personalities
Since ambiverts can usually relate well to both introverts and extroverts, they often connect with both extremes and are easy to get along with. Instead of challenging the personalities they come across, they blend in and adapt like a chameleon, taking cues from others for how they should behave. If the person they’re talking to is energetic and talkative, they find it easy to dial things back and allow that individual to shine. And when they’re talking to someone who’s a bit more quiet and reserved, the ambivert has it within them to lead the conversation and be more talkative and alert than the introvert. These are the golden rules of conversation to always follow.
You have the qualities of a good entrepreneur
Ambiverts can be both good leaders and good followers. “They can be team players and great managers because they can relate to their introverted and extroverted coworkers and great salespeople, thanks to their ability to be assertive, friendly, and approachable,” says Dr. Sherman. In fact, one study published in the journal Psychological Science found that ambiverts, rather than extroverts or introverts, excelled at sales. This is due to a unique combination of displaying a measured degree of assertiveness and enthusiasm.