Do you not quite fit the definitions of either an introvert or an extrovert?
No, nor do a lot of people, which is why this article is going to dive head first into your true nature as a shade of gray between the black and white of the two extremes.
Of the countless handy categorizations that people have dreamed up with which to label one another, ambiversion seems to be one of the most appealing. If you’re not yet familiar with the term, it refers to a person who is neither a complete introvert, nor an extrovert, but falls somewhere along the spectrum between the two. The average ambivert may lean more on one side than another, but might also bounce all over the scale depending on how they’re feeling at the time.
In any case, being an ambivert has a wonderful array of benefits, so if you identify as one, chances are you’re a magical golden child amongst your peers. Instead of being polarized to either the introvert or extrovert camp (thus risking the ire of your assigned opposite), you rock the middle ground and are likely able to adapt to any situation in the same way that a chameleon can shift and shimmy to match wallpaper swatches.
You’re Comfortable On Land And In Water
…wait, that’s an amphibian. Well, same idea: as an ambivert, it’s more than likely that you are just as comfortable rocking out in a crowded club as you are in a quiet café, playing board games with a few of your friends. You have a solid grasp about which scenarios will energize you and which will deplete you, and you know how long you can handle each of them before you start to go loopy and need to either withdraw, or immerse further in order to balance yourself out.
For example, if you’re slightly more on the introverted side, you probably won’t absolutely freak out at the idea of going to a party where you won’t know many people and will have to socialize a fair bit, but you are aware that you’ll only be able to tolerate that situation for a couple of hours. If you’re more of an extrovert, you’ll only be able to handle your partner’s book club meeting for a little while, and then you can excuse yourself politely to go do shooters with your friends at the biker bar down the street.
You’re Everyone’s Favorite Person At Work
Whether you’re bouncing around a meeting, being enthusiastic about the marketing department’s latest projections, or diligently completing your quarterly reports, you’re the person who’s most adored by everyone at the office.
When you can draw from either aspect of your personality, you have the ability to thrive no matter what you’re doing. The average introvert will feel really anxious and uncomfortable in board meetings, for example, especially if they have to give any kind of presentation to others. They’ll also be twitchy and irritable if they have to work in an open-concept office, where everyone can see and hear everyone else all the time.
The average extrovert, on the other hand, will likely be bored out of their minds when they have to focus entirely on tasks that they consider to be tedious, like data entry, and they prefer those communal workspaces over individual offices, which they consider to be claustrophobic and isolating.
Since you straddle both worlds, you can excel in any situation. You work as well alone as when part of a team, and you’re comfortable both as a leader, and as a subordinate. See how awesome you are? Have a biscuit.
You’re Unlikely To Make Embarrassing Social Mistakes
As you’re comfortable in most scenarios, you’re unlikely to make the kind of social faux pas that would mortify an introvert or get an extrovert blackballed. You know when to speak up and when to shut the hell up, and you can handle just about anything with grace and dignity.
If you accidentally spill your drink on your date, you probably won’t vomit in humiliation, but can make a joke out of it and suggest that maybe the best course of action would be to get naked. (Yes, that approach often works – try it sometime.) You probably also have enough self-restraint that when you’re at a party, you won’t insult someone you despise while surrounded by people who adore them; you can just be subtly passive-aggressive instead.
You Can Understand And Empathize With Both Introverts And Extroverts
Since you likely have moments when you’re extremely introverted, and other periods in which you’re totally extroverted, you can understand others who are firmly plunked on either end of the spectrum. You can empathize with introverted friends when they want to cancel social plans, and are likely cool with bringing over pizza and a movie so you can hang out together quietly. You can also absolutely understand when an extroverted companion may be getting jumpy because the art lecture you’re at is making them want to crawl out of their own skin.
Most arguments between friends and partners occur because of a lack of understanding. Unless someone has experienced something firsthand, it’s often difficult for them to truly understand and empathize. Since you’ve probably experienced both ends of the spectrum, you can put yourself in another’s shoes really easily, which is undoubtedly appreciated beyond measure.
Unlike those on the ends of the spectrum, you’re unlikely to deal with emotional or psychological extremes like crippling social anxiety, or sociopathic arrogance. You’re not the kind of person who’ll freeze up and piss yourself in a situation where you may have to address a crowd, nor will you alienate people because you’d rather hog the high-energy spotlight than listen quietly while they’re speaking.
You’re probably the kind of person who can shake off negativity pretty quickly so you don’t waste time wallowing. You get stuff done. You don’t shirk responsibility, but you’re also not so serious that you won’t be spontaneous and do silly things once in a while. You can handle anything life throws at you without falling apart, with the advantage of introverted self-awareness, and extroverted determination.
You Might Just Be The Ideal Romantic Partner
You’re able to tread that magical middle ground and have both empathy and enthusiasm, so you’re pretty much ideal for the romantic partner of your choice. You can draw from your energy reserves when it’s time to attend your partner’s work party – and thus schmooze with their bosses and coworkers with panache – but you can also sit quietly and talk with them about serious things without getting bored or irritable.
Another wonderful trait about ambiverts is that you can articulate your thoughts verbally as well as you can listen. Many introverts have difficulty expressing themselves verbally, whereas many extroverts like to talk, but have difficulty really hearing what the other person is saying. You, on the other hand, can do both.
When trying to express your emotions to your partner, you can put your thoughts into words very clearly, and deliver what you have to say with tact and diplomacy, rather than with the type of verbal vomit that would otherwise make them react negatively. Then, when it’s their turn to speak, you’re actually listening to what they have to say instead of just waiting for your turn to talk.
That’s a pretty damned wonderful way to be.
Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that ambiversion is a wide spectrum, and people can be at any point on it. You may have difficulty with extroversion if you lean more towards introversion, and vice-versa, but you’ll have a much easier time adapting than someone who’s planted solidly on one end.
The benefit of adaptability is a massive bonus in a world that is ever-changing, and you have it in spades, whether you recognize it or not.
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.