Recently I learned something fairly interesting about myself.
Something shocking, that shook the very corners of my mind.
I am not fully extraverted.
Instead, I’m an ambivert (in case you’re wondering, this does not mean I have special powers).
What is an ambivert, you ask? According to the Myers Briggs personality test, an ambivert is sort of a hybrid between an introvert and an extravert. It’s when you’re too introverted to be extraverted and too extraverted to be introverted. So…you fit nowhere.
I actually figured this out recently through a discussion with my mom. Both her and I came out as extraverted on the Meyers Briggs personality test a couple of years back. Nonetheless, it was sort of a mystery to me why she always seemed so much more outgoing than I was. It wasn’t that I was shy—I grew out of that in high school. It also wasn’t that I didn’t like being around people—honestly, I love interacting with others.
So, what was my deal? Why is it that I sometimes suddenly get quiet in social settings, or sometimes need to go to my room after a long day out of the house? Apparently, it’s because I can function like both an introvert and an extravert. Because I literally got almost half and half every time on the test, I have tendencies of both types within my personality.
And this is what it looks like in real life.
1. I can relate to both introvert and extravert problems.
I literarely go crazy if there’s silence for a long period of time. In a social setting, I prefer that at least one person in the group is talking, and when I’m alone, I like to play music for background noise. On the other hand, I’m not always going to be the one to initiate small talk. I often strongly prefer listening to talking, unless I have something important to say, and sometimes get energized simply by watching other people talk. I get energy from being around people, but in social environments, I often come off as more of an introvert
2. Depending on who I’m around, my extraversion levels can go way up or way down.
I’m not the same level of “talkative” around every person that I meet. When I’m with my closest friends, or talking with my family, I can be super extraverted. However, when I’m in a room full of strangers, I immediately get worn out and quiet. It’s not that I’m not open to meeting new people—I totally am. I just feel less energized. It takes more out of me to be social, and sometimes, I need sort of a ‘social hiatus‘. I shut down, daydream, and go into my own internal world—often without even realizing it, in order to try to quickly ‘recharge‘. I need a burst of energy so that I can keep going.
3. On the other hand, I sometimes shut down around people I know.
If I’ve been out of the house for a long time, in a super talkative and high paced environment, I sometimes get quiet regardless of who I’m with. Like in the last scenario, I don’t do it on purpose, and I’m often really enjoying myself. But I have a difficultly keeping my energy levels up. I can’t think of anything to say and I start to feel as if I had just run a marathon. I get a boost of energy when I first get to the destination, but after a while, that energy levels begins to wane.
4. I often crave deeper connections, but don’t quite know how to get there
As an ambivert, I function best when when I’m around people that I have a deep, meaningful connection with. I value close friendships and ties between family members, and feel happiest when I’m around people who I know like the back of my hand. Nonetheless, getting to that place isn’t always easy for me. Between being somewhat private by nature, and an ambivert, it can be hard for me to forge close friendships—especially when I’m around a lot of people I don’t know very well.
5. Sometimes, I honestly don’t know what I want
When you walk the fine line between being energized around people and getting drained after being around them too long, trying to figure out what you need at the moment can be a real challenge.
6. Nonetheless, despite all of that, there are still perks to the ambivert life. I can relate to both introverts and extraverts and appreciate both time with people and time alone.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
How about you? Do you function more as an extravert, an introvert, or an ambivert? I’d love to hear about you guys in the comments below!