If I would ask you if you are an introvert or an extrovert, would you immediately know the answer? Perhaps it would take you a few moments, but ultimately, you would know which side in your life is the dominant one. Introverts and extroverts both have their own set of struggles and strengths and both sides are equally great. But what if you feel like you’re neither? What if your introverted side is just as strong as your extroverted side? What if some days you feel like giving a TED talk speech and other days you feel like you should move to an island away from everything? Naturally, we all fluctuate between the two depending on the circumstance. However, not all of us exhibit such behaviour almost on the daily. If this sounds somewhat familiar, I want to perhaps ask ‘Are you an ambivert? Are you an in-betweener?’.
In this blog post, we are going to talk about life in between introversion and extroversion. The struggles, the strengths and all the stuff in between.
AMBIVERTS. who are they?
First off, we have to establish the very basics of extroversion and introversion. Extroverts are usually very out-going, sociable, talkative and often like to take centre stage. They enjoy being surrounded by people and meeting new faces. Introverts on the hand, enjoy their time alone, prefer keeping their circle small and often have social anxiety. They do not enjoy being the centre of attention and love to analyze things. This does not mean that you have to be a typical extrovert or an introvert.
To put it simply, ambiverts are people who exhibit characteristics of both, extroverts and introverts. Their choices and reactions to certain situations may depend on their mood, values, beliefs, and goals.
I do not think that labels are necessary, however, I also know that they often help people understand their needs, build stronger relationships with themselves and others. Labels don’t always have to put you in a box, sometimes they are freeing as well. My entire life, I was not able to fully identify with extroverts, although, introverts didn’t exhibit the same behavioural patterns as me either. This didn’t keep me up at night but it did make me feel a bit uncomfortable. It almost made me feel like I don’t know myself well enough.
When I was younger I knew that I am good with people. I acknowledged the fact that I am a strong communicator that thrived during presentations. For this reason, I put a strong ‘I am an extrovert’ on my first ever CV. A few years down the line, I recognized the fact that as an empath I needed my alone time. I started noticing that although, I have fun working in a team, sometimes I just prefer driving the boat by myself. Often, I found happiness in books and gatherings at home rather than going out. I started thinking that I may simply be a social introvert. However, the more I noticed my own behaviour, the more confused I was and just stopped identifying myself with either side of the spectrum.
Then one day I got my ‘aha!’ moment when I learned about ambiverts. It somehow made me feel a sense of comfort knowing that fluctuating between either side of the spectrum was normal. Does this sound like something you have struggled with throughout your life? Are you a fellow ambivert, my friend?
ARE YOU AN AMBIVERT? | POSSIBLE SIGNS
There are many signs that may make you an ambivert. Again, labels are not necessary, use them only when they feel freeing and comfortable, rather than constraining.
We all may exhibit signs of introversion and extroversion and it’s normal. Only you are able to decide whether you identify with both equally.
SOCIAL INTERACTIONS FUEL YOU BUT HAVE TO BE LIMITED.
While keeping to yourself for too long feels alienating, going out once feels more than enough for a while. If you have to meet people two days in a row or only have one day to yourself in between, you feel tired and drained. In other words, the more exposed you are to social interactions, the more time you need to recover from them. That being said, people live close to your heart, you enjoy meeting new faces and even being the life of the party when the mood is right.
LEAD OR SUPPORT? BOTH ARE OKAY.
While introverts may avoid taking centre stage and extroverts grab opportunities to be there, you are okay with both. Hence, you are comfortable with having eyes on you when needed and have no problem being lead by others as long as your values remain intact.
IS EVERYTHING OKAY? YOU SEEM QUIET.
I can connect with this one so much. Two days ago you were singing your lungs out on the way to a bar and couldn’t shut up. Today you seem a bit quiet and decided to take the observer’s seat. It’s not a mood swing, you feel completely yourself, but you have moved to the opposite side of the spectrum. People who have an ambiverted friend may be used to it but those who barely know them may feel extra confused. ‘Are you okay? You seem quiet today’ which is a totally natural question to ask. Don’t be concerned though, I am just an ambivert.
EVERYTHING SPARKS INTEREST AND IT'S OVERWHELMING.
If you are an ambivert, you probably often face the difficulty of making a choice or taking on too much at times. Everything seems interesting, you want to learn different things and you want to do different things. It almost feels like ‘just lemme experience multiple realities at the same time’. Thus, knowing that as a human in your physical form you only have a limited amount of time here on Earth, really weighs you down. My family and friends often comment that I’m a literal poop at making decisions and I often get excited about too many things. There are so many options, give me 5 different careers to pursue and unlimited amount of hours in a day lol!
IT'S ALL ABOUT PERSPECTIVE AND NEGOTIATION.
Being on both sides of the spectrum, you don’t find yourself having aimless arguments often. It’s about empathy, intuition and great ‘people’ skills. People feel like you genuinely listen to them and are able to have fruitful conversations. Similarly, you know when to speak up and when to shut up (because well, sometimes we have to..for our own and other people’s sanity).
Many ambiverts may seem quite calm and quiet when you first meet them. Thus, they may seem pretty introverted. They like to take the observer’s seat first and this is especially true if they find themselves starting a new job or meeting lots of new faces. Nevertheless, after some time passes, their extroverted side comes out full force.
STRENGTHS OF AN AMBIVERT
Perhaps the most obvious advantage of ambiverted peeps is that you most definitely are quite flexible in all areas of your life. You are able to adapt to different situations at a workplace, work alone and in a team. As an ambivert, you can take centre stage when needed and be comfortable with remaining in the shadows. There is a similar pattern in your relationships as well. You enjoy all sorts of activities and keep things interesting which may also mean that your friend circle even if small, is quite colourful.
INTUITion & empathy.
As ambiverts themselves are quite multi-layered, relating to and empathizing with other people comes pretty easily to them. This builds a strong foundation for great intuitive skills and being able to read situations and people often effortlessly and almost ‘automatically’. As previously mentioned, an ambivert will intuitively know when to speak up and when to shut up. Their tact skills are sharp. This also comes in handy when being around different personalities as ambiverted people are quite the chameleons. Ambiverts have a strong gut feeling and like to follow it. This manifests on a spiritual level as well. They are great with people and can often become strong mediums or healers.
Ambiverts possess great listening skills and have no problem keeping the conversation flowing. More often than not, they respectfully let the other party speak and genuinely listen to them. They will also be the first ones to break the ice in case of awkward silence or shyness of the other person.
Some of the most amazing leaders that I had the pleasure to work with could fall under the ambiverted category. They have a good sense of balance between leading and letting the other person lead. Remember, you do not have to be ambiverted to be a great leader. However, generally, ambiverted leaders tend to be quite humble and aware of different needs within their team.
STRUGGLES OF AN AMBIVERT
Although being flexible is great, it can often create problems as well. Indecision is one of the greatest struggles when it comes to being an ambivert. Being able to see the pros and cons in everything can really mess with your head. As I mentioned before, ambiverts love options and they struggle with making a choice. Believe me, I’ve been there. For small decisions and tasks, I would recommend using a 3-second rule. Count to 3 and choose. Whether it’s right or wrong, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are taking control.
This can also be prominent in situations where you have to decide whether to stay in or to go out. 5 hours ago you may have felt like going to a rave party and now may be dreading your decision.
STRUGGLING WITH DIRECTION & PURPOSE.
Sharing both sides of the spectrum may come in handy in some situations, however, it can also cause a lot of chaos in the ambivert’s life. More often than not they struggle finding direction and sticking to one thing. Remember the curiosity that I was talking about? This also causes them to lose their sense of purpose from time to time because they simply have a hard time choosing and committing. Especially when it’s something as big as their career.
Overthinking is again closely related to indecision and the tendency to overanalyze things. If faced with a difficult decision, ambiverted people may stress themselves way too much. Ambiverts need to practice trusting their own judgement more and simply surrendering. Whatever happened, it’s already in the past. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Whatever needs to happen, will happen. Trust your instincts and judgement.
A HIGHLY SENSITIVE EXTROVERT OR A SOCIAL INTROVERT?
If you do not feel like you are an ambivert or an introvert, or an extrovert, you may simply be a social introvert or a highly sensitive (or empathetic) extrovert. To be honest, I could see how such people may be called ambiverted as well. If you feel like you are not an even mix of both, notice your own tendencies in life. Learn more about yourself by establishing a deep and genuine connection with your mind, body, and spirit. Remember, you don’t have to find the perfect label, but only you can decide which one feels the most natural.
Namaste. I am proud of you.