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You could be neither an Introvert nor an Extrovert, but an Ambivert instead

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From our childhood, we are fed certain fallacies that we grow up with. In this post, I will shed light on one such misconception.

See, our society roots for extraverts. You know the gregarious lot who seem to have a godly expertise in small talk. These people can strike sweet conversations with total strangers and make a clique of their own wherever they go.

Nothing is off limits for them. They can navigate any social situation. Their insatiable curiosity about people helps them build quick rapport and relationships.

Intraverts, on the other hand, are considered a drag on society. Ok, not really, but, most people harbor this notion. I mean nobody wants their kids to be intraverts. My mother always had this deep fear. She would often tell me, “You can’t be shy and be the class monitor. How are you ever going to participate in debates?”

So if you are an introvert, chances are you don’t have many friends. But then introversion comes with its own benefits, declares Eric Barker, the bestselling author of Barking up the Wrong Tree.

Isaac Newton apparently was an introvert. He had zero network and zero resources yet he developed optics, calculus and gravity, all on his own. Introverts become proficient in their domains, underlines Robert Greene in his bestselling book Mastery.

You might think I am trying to sell you on Introversion. No, I am not. I am merely trying to point out the conventional misconceptions about personality types.

The traditional view accomodates this black and white dichotomy as if there is no scope of gradualism. The truth is that most people are neither complete introverts nor complete extraverts. Most personalities exist along a continuum.

Most people are ambiverts. They are somewhere between the extremes.

What is an Ambivert?

An ambivert is someone who embodies both introversion and extroversion in some measure and can switch into either depending on context and goals.

Professor Adam Grant of the Wharton School published a paper in 2013 with some intriguing findings.

What is an Ambivert?

He found that ambiverts achieve greater sales productivity than extraverts or introverts do. The reason why they can do that is that they engage in a flexible pattern of talking and listening. They exhibit a balanced, more mature outlook.

It’s safe to say that ambiverts possess the best of both worlds. They have the talkativeness of extraverts and they have the laser-sharp focus of introverts that makes them proficient in their work.

They have this great power to slip into either mode at will.

If you don’t like to hang out late at parties, then no amount of company can keep you engaged. Your interest and enthusiasm will start to fade as the clock ticks away. Slowly, you’d lose interest and your mood will start to inch towards the introvert zone.

Similarly, if you feel home in a particular environment or company, you’d thrive. Let’s say you are a book blogger and you come across this group of people who share your interest, then there will be no stopping you.

There is no right or wrong personality type. The only right thing to do is to live, act and address who you really are. Find your north star, get rid of toxic people and situations and get to know your true self.

If this post has piqued your curiosity, I suggest you try this Ambiversion assessment from Daniel Pink, the author of the New York Times bestseller To Sell is Human.


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You could be neither an Introvert nor an Extrovert, but an Ambivert instead

3 comments

  1. I am an introvert but I can be the life of a party. I’ve heard it explained this way: An extrovert goes to a party and comes home energized. An introvert goes to the same party, has the same amount of fun, but goes home zapped. That’s me. Enjoyed your post.

      1. No I don’t think so. I did the Myers-Briggs testing and I’m deeply introverted. I can just “turn it on” in a crowd when it’s expected. But my best self is a loner for sure.

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