I’m an ambivert. And if you’ve ever felt like you don’t quite fit into the introvert or extrovert crowds, maybe you are too!
I spent most of my life assuming I was an introvert, but not a very good one. A broken introvert perhaps. I didn’t like being alone all the time, even though I could certainly enjoy some solitude. I was never one to shy away from social events, but I’d often feel super drained after going out (or would sometimes bail at the last minute if I wasn’t feeling up to it).
I liked making new friends once we got past the awkward first meeting. I could be the life of the party — if that party were small and full of people I knew. In fact, I sometimes liked being the center of attention. A lot of “extrovert” characteristics seemed to be hidden in my personality, but I knew full well I couldn’t possibly be an extrovert. Talking to strangers made me anxious. Crowds made me claustrophobic. Feeling energized after social interaction was not a thing for me. Ever.
However, when I discovered there was a third, middle ground option, my life totally changed. It turns out; I’m not just a weirdo without a distinct personality version to call my own. I’m an ambivert. And if you’ve ever felt like you don’t quite fit into the introvert or extrovert crowds, maybe you are too!
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Understanding that I was an ambivert was a game changer because it allowed me to play to my strengths, instead of assuming I wasn’t good at being an introvert or extrovert. Now I maximize my alone time, instead of wondering if I should go out. I take care of my close friends and don’t stress about making more than I can keep up with. I glide from one end of my personality to the other as the situation demands. Being an ambivert means I’m flexible and get the best of both worlds, not the worst.
If you’re wondering if you might fall into the center of this awesome-cake, here are a few clues you might be an ambivert:
You like social events... until you don’t.
I say yes to lots of social outings with friends, and I always have a really good time. However, if I am out too long, I have a very intense turning-back-into-a-pumpkin moment. The party side of me will abruptly shut down, and I will want to be home 10 minutes ago. Word of advice to other ambiverts: leave on a high note, so you don’t regret your night of fun.
Small gatherings are your forte.
Party of Five isn’t just an excellent '90s sitcom — a party of five is my magic number for having fun with friends. While big parties can be fun, there is nothing better than getting a small group of friends together to eat, drink, and be merry. The conversation can get real, dirty, and deep. Sounds inappropriate, and it probably is, but that’s the beauty of it. You can get comfortable in a hurry, and stop feeling so self-conscious about adopting a party persona.
Alone time is a must, but sometimes you get bored by yourself.
A lot of the time, I want nothing more than a day of solitude (especially because I’m a mom, and solitude is way hard to come by). I have always enjoyed alone time — reading, running, meditating, long showers, naps, are all among my favorite things. However, being an ambivert means there’s a limit to how much I can enjoy my alone time before I am craving social interaction.
Your personality adjusts to the people around you.
One of the biggest personality magic tricks I have as an ambivert is being able to tone myself up or down depending on who I’m with and where I am. It’s not that I’m insincere, but there are lots of different facets of my personality to draw on to make the people around me most comfortable. Having all these different “versions” of me sometimes means people have wildly different opinions of me. Some think I’m quiet and reserved; others think I’m raunchy and hilarious. Neither are wrong. I’m both!
You spend a lot of time in your own head.
I sometimes feel like I can’t shut off the voice in my head. I am constantly thinking and processing, to the point where it can become exhausting. On the plus side, I usually don’t open my mouth without thinking twice (or more).
Talking to strangers is awful (unless your friends are there).
I don’t mind meeting new people, but talking to strangers alone gives me major anxiety, and not just because of stranger danger. I need multiple buffer people to help me feel comfortable when meeting someone new. That’s why most of my “new” friends, are always friends of my closest friends. It also helps me feel at ease knowing that new-to-me people have already passed trust (and likely inappropriate joke) tests with people I care about.
You like having a few close friends.
I love my friends, but I don’t have a ton of them. I can name the people closest to me off the top of my head without hesitation. I don’t need a huge social circle to feel like I matter. I simply need a few really reliable people in my life who I know I can trust deeply, and who I am willing to put it all on the line for.