People tend to group their personalities into one of two categories—either they’re an extrovert or an introvert. However, those personality types aren’t so clear-cut. Some extroverts might enjoy spending time alone, while some introverts might like going to parties.
It’s important not to look at these personality types as one or the other. From psychiatrist Carl Jung on down, experts have long advocated for a more nuanced approach. Dan McAdams, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University, has argued for the extroversion-introversion spectrum, a way to view personality as a continuous dimension. “You lose all kinds of precision if you say, well, everybody from 50th percentile over to the left is an introvert,” McAdams said on the Science Diction podcast, “and everybody from 50th percentile over to the right is an extrovert, especially since most people find themselves somewhere in the middle of this distribution.”
Therapist Megan MacCutcheon backs up the idea. “We all utilize both sides of the spectrum in various circumstances,” MacCutcheon said. “In order to be most successful in the world, it’s important to develop skills to exercise both ends.”
You’re not alone if you feel like you don’t fit into the stereotypical “introvert” or “extrovert” trope. Chances are, you probably are neither (or both). If you feel like you don’t fit into a single category, you might actually be an extroverted introvert, which many people associate with being an ambivert. It all depends on the balance—as ambiverts are balanced in their qualities of introversion and extroversion.
In this article, find out more about the extroverted introvert personality type and signs you might actually balance introversion and extroversion as an ambivert.
What Is an Extroverted Introvert?
An extroverted introvert is someone who largely dwells on the introverted side of the personality spectrum but possesses many extroverted traits. An extroverted introvert is sometimes referred to as an outgoing introvert or social introvert. Extroverted introverts don’t have problems being in social situations, and they often find them enjoyable and fulfilling.
Extroverted introverts are most similar to ambiverts, or people who balance introversion and extroversion well. Psychiatrist Carl Jung first came up with the concept of these two personality types in 1910, with introverts and extroverts representing extreme ends. However, the introvert vs. extrovert question isn’t one that only has two possible answers. Few people live on the extremes. At the same time, no one is perfectly balanced and rests right in the middle. Most people lean in one direction more than the other at different times. If you find yourself leaning more toward extroversion as a way to refuel your energy, you might be more of an extroverted introvert ambivert.
The Pros and Cons of Being an Ambivert
Any talk of being an outgoing introvert usually shifts to the qualities of an ambivert. In the discussion over ambivert vs. omnivert, ambiverts are well-balanced and less likely to exhaust themselves or lack energy when around others. Ambiverts are the picture of stability. They can engage in small talk, but they can also take moments to think and listen.
While the extroverted personality type might seem like it can be the most successful, research from professor Adam M. Grant shows that ambiverts excel more often. In his experiment, he found that ambivert salespeople sold more per hour than average. According to Grant, their success came from their emotional intelligence, knowing when to give customers more room or try a more forceful persuasive approach. Grant described ambiverts as “more inclined to listen to customers’ interests and less vulnerable to appearing too excited or overconfident.”
Research shows that ambiverts excel in business more often.
That’s not to say that being an ambivert provides nothing but advantages. Often, ambiverts have a tendency to try to adapt to changing situations. While this can be helpful, it does introduce issues. Karl Moore, an associate professor of management at McGill University, has stated that constantly adapting the way many ambiverts do can drain their energy. “You need to act like both,” Moore said, referencing being both introverted and extroverted. “The problem is, it’s exhausting.”
Another issue is the difficulty people may have possibly relating to ambiverts. As many people have subscribed to the extrovert-introvert dichotomy, they may find it strange or even off-putting that someone can show both aspects in their personality. This can create further confusion in future interactions. While this isn’t necessarily an ambivert’s fault, it’s something they need to be aware of.
Researchers say ambiverts can become exhausted when they have to constantly adapt to changing situations.
10 Indicators You Are an Extroverted Introvert
You may be an outgoing introvert even if you don’t realize it. If you’re curious about whether you fall into that category, the following are just some of the signs you’re an extroverted introvert.
1. You can get lonely when you’re on your own for too long.
While you like to spend time on your own to help you recharge, going for long periods of time without social interactions can weigh on you. As a social introvert, you end up feeling lonely and isolated before too long.
2. You spend most of a conversation listening, but you can talk when you need to.
During a conversation, you like to listen to what the other person is saying. You take the time to understand others. At the same time, you’re fully prepared to keep the conversation flowing when necessary.
3. It takes you a moment to get comfortable in social settings.
If you go to a party or after-hours activity, but you spend the first part of it quiet before getting comfortable, that might mean you’re an extroverted introvert. There’s often a warm-up period before you start talking to people and getting to know them.
4. You speak passionately about what you know but tend to keep quiet otherwise.
Talking about your interests and honest opinions comes naturally to you. You’ll jump right into a conversation when it’s about a hobby you enjoy. Small talk, on the other hand, can feel awkward to you or even boring, so you try to avoid it.
5. You enjoy recognition but don’t go out of your way to seek it.
After putting in a lot of hard work, you feel good when someone recognizes you. However, that doesn’t mean recognition is something that drives you. In fact, you might feel a little self-conscious if your boss talks about what a great job you did in front of other people.
6. You prefer one-on-one conversations over big group discussions.
When you’re in a group, you can speak up without issue, but you prefer to stay mostly in the background. A one-on-one conversation is much more up your alley, and you really come alive in that situation.
7. You like it when you know about social situations ahead of time.
You don’t like to be thrown into a social setting unprepared. Instead, you much prefer to know when social activities are taking place with enough time to prepare yourself for the event.
8. You thrive among friends but struggle around strangers.
When you’re with friends, you act very much like yourself. You’re talkative, energetic, and comfortable. Things change when you’re with strangers. In that case, you tend to keep to yourself and stay quiet. Because of this, you try to avoid situations where there will be a lot of strangers but love going to social outings when among friends.
9. You show unwavering loyalty to a core group of friends.
As seen above, you tend to be selective about who you hang out with. As a result, you likely have a core group of friends you keep close. This is the group that you are loyal to. You’ll do anything for them and always have their back.
10. You may not answer messages right away.
As an extroverted introvert, you need to be in the right mood to communicate. That includes responding to messages you receive. Because of this, you sometimes don’t answer a text message, email, or voicemail right after getting it. Often, you have to work up the energy to respond, which can take some time.
Not an Ambivert? Here’s How to Balance Your Introversion and Extroversion
After looking at those signs, you may feel the ambivert label doesn’t really fit you. However, if you do want to become more balanced between your introverted and extroverted traits, the following tips may help.
- Be more consistent in scheduling times to be with your friends.
- Schedule enough alone time to recharge.
- Don’t be afraid to take a couple of steps outside your comfort zone from time to time.
- Find groups that share your interests and hobbies and make time for them.
- Note what personality traits you want to improve and work on them.
- Gain an understanding of what can cause you to withdraw.
As an outgoing introvert, your job can have a profound effect on you. If you would prefer a job that allows you to work by yourself more often, check out some of the best jobs for introverts.
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- “Introvert: The Invention Of A Type | Science Diction | WNYC Studios.” WNYC Studios, 16 Mar. 2021, https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/science-diction/articles/introvert-the-invention-of-a-type.
- “Extroverts, Introverts, and Everything in Between.” Healthline Media, https://www.healthline.com/health/extrovert-vs-introvert.
- Editors, Biography. co. “Carl Jung.” Biography, 4 Nov. 2015, https://www.biography.com/scholar/carl-jung.
- Guy-Evans, Olivia. Introvert and Extrovert Personality Traits – Simply Psychology. 9 Feb. 2021, https://www.simplypsychology.org/introvert-extrovert.html.
- Lufkin, Bryan. Why Ambiverts Are Better Leaders. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20210319-why-ambiverts-are-better-leaders.
- Houston, E. B. (2022, November 18). Introvert vs Extrovert: A Look at the Spectrum & Psychology. PositivePsychology.com. https://positivepsychology.com/introversion-extroversion-spectrum/