Everything that exists is made up of energy, and our energy can be drained quickly if we don’t know ourselves well or keep putting ourselves in situations that are depleting. Therefore, the more we discover about who we are, and what charges or drains our energy, the more powerful our chi (life force energy) will flow, so that we can be more fulfilled, productive and of greater service in every area of our lives.
Being an empath, one of the most common questions I’m asked is if I am also an introvert. For me, it’s an instant answer: “Yes, I am. However, not everyone resonates with being either an introvert or extrovert so easily.”
I am constantly seeing the introvert/extrovert question bouncing around, but I rarely people being asked if they are an ambivert—a mixture of both introvert and extrovert—which is surprising, considering studies carried out by Adam Grant found that two-thirds of the population are ambiverts.
Psychologist Carl Jung believed that generally humans are not solely introverted or solely extroverted, and that they often demonstrate qualities of both types. However, many people find that one type is much more dominant. Jung explained in his book, Psychological Types, “There is, finally, a third group…the most numerous and includes the less differentiated normal man. He constitutes the extensive middle group.”
Ambiverts don’t have a dominant type; instead, they have equal qualities of both, and they can tap into the strengths of either whenever they need to.
For those who aren’t predominantly introvert or extrovert, it can become confusing, especially if they aren’t aware it is possible to be a healthy balance of the two. This is why I’ve decided to describe the traits and tendencies of an ambivert and provide a link to a test, so that people can find out if they identify—and if so, gain a greater insight into their core characteristics.
Below I have outlined a brief explanation of introverts and extroverts, so that it is clear to see how an ambivert sits in the middle of the two.
Introverts are introspective, and they recharge their energy internally (when they’re alone) by going within. They prefer calm, peaceful environments where they can think clearly and feel deeply without interruption.
Extroverts recharge their energy externally, when they are around other people. They prefer active, loud, busy environments where they can connect and exchange energy with others and be emotionally and mentally stimulated through their external environment.
Ambiverts can recharge their energy alone or when they are in high-stimuli social situations. However, when they are among gatherings of people, they prefer to communicate in very small groups, one-on-one, or to be alone with their thoughts. They are equally charged when in calm, peaceful environments, as they are when they are in high-stimuli ones.
A “people-watcher,” who sits in a busy café—in the middle of a vibrant city, watching the world pass them by—is a good example of how ambiverts recharge.
Introverts tend to be easily influenced, as they feel intimidated by aggressive, highly assertive energy. Extroverts are not easily influenced and have assertive, confident energy. Ambiverts are a mix and can be influenced by introverts or extroverts—however, when they need to, they are also capable of standing up for themselves and holding their ground against both introverts and extroverts. They have the intuitive ability of knowing when to speak out and when it is safer to stay quiet and maintain peace.
Introverts usually prefer soft, uncluttered, pastel-shaded visuals and silence or natural sounds that occur when outdoors with nature.
Extroverts tend to feel more at ease with vivid, bold external visuals, loud music and noisy gatherings, or the company of others for stimulation.
Ambiverts appreciate quiet and noisy environments, and they like being in crowded places—however, it is often so that they can blend in and not be noticed. They like to be out and about, but they do not enjoy being center of attention.
Unlike introverts, ambiverts are happy to be out and about in busy shopping malls and city centers. However, if they spot someone they know, they may try to avoid them. This is because they are only comfortable communicating when they feel fully at ease, and when they are either in familiar surroundings or in the company of people they trust and know well. Whereas, extroverts adore spontaneously bumping into people and will actively go out of their way to catch the attention of people they know.
Introverts rarely engage in small talk, and extroverts can small talk all day and night. Ambiverts find pleasure in both. They are content to politely communicate, as long as it is sincere, and they also gain immense enjoyment from deep, intriguing, intellectual conversations. Often, while ambiverts are conversing, they are also observing facial expressions, tone of voice and the general vibe they are giving off. They naturally maintain an equal balance of talking and listening.
Ambiverts can quickly shift their energy from high to low to match the energy of the person they are with. If they are around quiet, gentle and sensitive types, they will soften their energy—and when they interact with those whose energy is louder and far more expressive, they are also able to supercharge their energy to engage fluidly. This means they are able to relate to people well and form strong bonds within their friendships and relationships.
They are comfortable talking to strangers, although that is only if they are accompanied by friends they feel safe and secure around.
In some ways, ambiverts are like chameleons, as they are able to effortlessly alter their energy to adapt to their environment. In this situation, it is important for them to remain aware that this is happening, otherwise they may subconsciously mimic other people’s accents, mannerisms or body language.
Ambiverts are just as productive when in a team setting as when they are working alone. Ambiverts can party all night long, but when they return, they find themselves exhausted and may have to rest for a day or two afterwards to recover and rebalance their energy.
Ambiverts deliberate before coming to conclusions, and they may feel as though they are incapable of making decisions—or that they don’t know themselves very well. However, this is only because they do not have strong preferences between choices, as they are usually content with either option. For example, they love partying, but equally love staying in with good company, fine food and a fascinating movie. Their interests vary wildly, and so does their taste in music, clothes, food and the types of people they deeply connect with. Ambiverts are generally non-judgmental and open-minded, and they are willing to explore and experiment, so that their experiences are filled with variety.
Ambiverts process their situations through introspection—however, to gain a full understanding and put their thoughts, feelings or circumstances into context, they also communicate with friends to gain a wider and vaster perception. They have balance between their hearts and their minds, and they don’t tend to let either one rule them—and if they do, it isn’t for long.
Although there are numerous tests that can be taken, one simple way to figure it out is to consider if various people would describe you differently. If some friends, colleagues or your family would describe you as an introvert, while others would say you are an extrovert, it’s highly likely that you are neither, and you are actually an ambivert!
Writing: Alex Myles
Main Image: unsplash Persnickety Prints