5 Signs You Could be an Ambivert
Ambidextrous. It means you are equally skilled using both hands. Ambivalent. It means you have both good and bad feelings about something. Now comes ambivert. It’s really not a new term, but it does refer to a large percentage of people who are both introverts and extroverts. In fact, the majority of people are some combination of both, and they move back and forth along a continuum, depending on the situation and their mood/feelings at the time. Are you a part of this large group? Probably so.
A study out of Wharton College determined that 2/3 of the population actually moves along the continuum and is largely placed in the middle of this continuum most of the time. In fact, they adjust according to the situations in which they find themselves- they thus have what the study called “social flexibility.”
Here are some common characteristics of ambiverted people: See if you fit:
There may be projects at work that require group meetings to iron out responsibilities and to check progress along the way. You actively participate in these meetings and share your views. However, you are happy to go back to your workspace and dig in all by yourself, with little to no contact with others until it is time for another meeting. You enjoy the solitude of completing tasks on your own, but you also have comfort in reporting that progress to others.
When you have an accomplishment that merits public praise or attention, you are comfortable receiving it publicly. But you only want so much of this, before you become uncomfortable and prefer that the limelight is placed on someone else. You have moved from the extrovert end of the continuum toward the introvert end, and that indicates that you are an ambivert.
You relish spending time alone with yourself. This can be an introvert “thing.” But too much time alone has you feeling bored and ready for some contact with other human beings. On the other hand, too much time with others, especially at work and in social situations, can have you feeling “drained.” And you long to get off by yourself and “re-group.” So, you find a quiet corner and renew yourself before you re-join the group.
Obvious extroverts can be found comfortably engaging in small talk and in deeper conversations. They want to contribute and do so with apparent ease. In fact, they often dominate conversations. Introverts tend to remain very quiet and just listen, taking it all in. Ambiverts respond a bit differently. They may find themselves comfortable with small talk for a while but ultimately tire of it and “opt out.” When deeper conversations are involved, the ambivert is happy to contribute if s/he feel knowledgeable on the topic. But once s/he has made a contribution, taking a “back seat” and just listening is common.
Above all, ambiverts have the flexibility to adjust to a variety of situations, in which they may participate and yet withdraw when they feel the need to do so. And they adjust to the energy of the people around them, at least for periods of time, until they are drained or bored.
These are just five major characteristics of ambiverts. But they should give you an idea of where you fit on the continuum and if, in fact, you are a fit. The important thing is that you identify where you are on the continuum and if you are able to move back and forth at will and be at least somewhat comfortable in both large group environments where there is a lot of energy and in smaller intimate settings. And certainly, it is important to be comfortable being alone with yourself. The more insight you can gain into your own personality, the better you can prepare for a variety of situations and environments and function successfully in them.
Research does seem to show that those who are ambiverts and who can successfully navigate back and forth on the continuum between the two extremes end to be more successful. Take sales as an example. Full-blown extroverts can be seen as too aggressive, unwilling to ask important questions of a prospect, and thus failing to listen to that prospect’s needs. A full-blown introvert will not do well in sales, because it does require approaching strangers. An ambivert, on the other hand, can approach prospects with some confidence and yet back off and listen. They have a balance that results in success.
Pat Fredshaw is a freelance author and enthusiastic blogger at Essay Supply. She is fond of blogging, e-learning, and career development.
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