Table of Contents
- How Are Introverts and Extroverts Different?
- Am I an Introvert or an Extrovert?
- What Is an Ambivert?
- Examples of Introverts, Extroverts, and Ambiverts
- 15 Signs You’re an Introverted Extrovert (Ambivert)
- Why You Should Embrace Being an Ambivert
- Challenges of Being an Introverted Extrovert
- How to Navigate the World as an Introverted Extrovert
We all know the terms “introverted” and “extroverted.” They originated from the research done by psychiatrist Carl Jung in Switzerland in the 1920s. Jung is credited for coining the two terms to describe the personalities of people who are energized by external stimuli (extroverts) and those who are energized by internal stimuli (introverts). Likely all of us have either identified ourselves or have been told by others that we are one of these two types.
Except—what if you don’t quite fully identify with either? What about those who linger right in the middle of this personality spectrum? It turns out, this might be the more common case. Barry Smith, a director at Laboratories of Human Psychophysiology, estimates that 68% of people are introverted extroverts or ambiverts.
Being an introverted extrovert can offer many benefits, personally and professionally. Learn what this term means and how to fully immerse yourself in it for optimum personal and professional success.
- An estimated 68% of people are introverted extroverts.
- Ambiversion tendencies are often misunderstood or miscategorized by others.
- Studies show that introverted extroverts perform better in certain professions.
How Are Introverts and Extroverts Different?
Introverts are characterized by needing time alone to recharge. Unlike extroverts, introverts enjoy solo activities, prefer one-on-one conversations, and become drained by overwhelming or ambiguous social situations. For example, a person who enjoys reading and avoids large gatherings is likely more introverted than extroverted.
Extroverts, on the other hand, glean their energy from social stimuli. They love having multiple conversations about different topics, meeting new people, and can spend long periods of time around others without feeling drained. A person that loves to host parties and rarely enjoys doing things alone would be more extroverted than introverted.
The important distinction between introverted and extroverted people is that no one is 100% one type or the other. Introversion and extroversion exist on a sliding scale. Some may have more tendencies of one type than the other, meaning that their predominant trait is what manifests publicly. Further, some may fall right into the middle of the scale.
As explained in this video by Sprouts, “Jung believed that no one is a hundred percent extrovert or a hundred percent introvert. Instead, we carry both traits, however, most minds tend to lean either to one side or the other.”
Am I an Introvert or an Extrovert?
A person that lands on the introversion-extroversion scale in the middle as an ambivert but expresses more dominantly extroverted traits is an introverted extrovert. While this person can express traits of extroversion temporarily, they can become energetically drained over time. When this happens, the introverted extrovert seeks alone time to recharge, much like a standard introvert.
In many cases, those who are more extroverted or those who are more introverted have remained true to those character traits since childhood. On the other hand, introverted extroverts shift their extrovertive tendencies according to their level of comfort in a particular situation, much like an omnivert.
The Five-Factor Model vs. the Introversion/Extroversion Theory
In psychology, the Five-Factor Model is a widely accepted theory for identifying one’s personality type. According to Simply Psychology, the Five-Factor Model (or “The Big Five Model”), is broken down into the acronym OCEAN or CANOE, which stands for:
- Conscientiousness: This describes how impulsive or disciplined you might be.
- Agreeableness: This describes how agreeable and trusting you might be.
- Neuroticism: This describes how calm or how anxious and pessimistic you may be.
- Openness to Experience: This describes whether you prefer routine or spontaneity.
- Extraversion: This describes how reserved or how sociable you may be.
The Five-Factor Model theory challenges the introvert/extrovert personality model. Instead of labeling someone as either introvert or extrovert, this model theorizes that each trait is in itself on a sliding scale that must be measured individually to determine one’s full personality. For someone to be an introverted extrovert using the Five-Factor Model, they would need to rank in certain ways for each of these five factors.
What Is an Ambivert?
“They are social chameleons who adapt to their environment to maximize their interaction and optimize their results.”Susan C. Young
Ambiverts, or introverted extroverts, are better able to balance their character traits than those who lean more extreme on one side or the other. Therefore, instead of being a particular way most of the time, they make adjustments to fit specific situations.
For example, introverted extroverts may stay at social gatherings for a long period if they feel comfortable. Or, they may decide to leave early if they haven’t connected one-on-one with someone or if they feel overwhelmed. Unlike some introverts, introverted extroverts are compelled to show up, but unlike extroverts, they may not stay long.
Ambiversion essentially means falling somewhere in the middle between introversion and extroversion. You may have some introverted tendencies, but you may also have some extroverted tendencies. Perhaps you really enjoy having downtime and reading fiction novels, but you also crave connection with others and like being around people. These are traits of introverted extroverts.
Other key traits of most introverted extroverts, according to Simply Psychology:
- They’re highly flexible and adaptable.
- They can work alone and on a team.
- They’re able to regulate their behavior.
- They’re good at speaking and listening.
Research by author and professor Adam Grant revealed that ambiverts, and not extroverts, possess more desirable professional qualities than extroverts. This is because they are better able to remain balanced and monitor themselves.
Examples of Introverts, Extroverts, and Ambiverts
“Extroverts sparkle, introverts glow. Extroverts are fireworks; introverts are a fire in the hearth.”Sophia Dembling
- Dislikes public presentations
- Prefers deeper conversations to small talk
- Likes to express themselves through writing, music, or art
- Takes time to carefully consider options, responses, and ideas
- Prefers a smaller group of friends even if making friends comes easily
- Quicker to respond to things and can be impulsive
- Gets energy and motivation from being around others
- Feels comfortable expressing their opinions and feelings
- Prefers to work and be in group settings rather than be alone
- Is less dismayed by negative situations and generally remains upbeat
- Isn’t overly reserved or expressive
- Can be quick and flexible when the situation demands
- Can work alone just as well as they can work in a group
- Appreciates social settings as much as having alone time
- Spends time considering options but can decide fairly quickly
15 Signs You’re an Introverted Extrovert (Ambivert)
“You’re outgoing, but not as carefree as you let on. This behavior shows you have a mixed personality type.”Diary Of An Introvert
If you’re unsure where you fall on the introversion-extroversion scale, some clues can help point you in the right direction. Here are 15 clear signs that you may be an introverted extrovert.
- Your personal space is your priority.
- You’re more vulnerable than people may realize.
- It takes you a moment to warm up to new environments.
- You love spending time at home and doing things alone.
- Having too many social commitments is exhausting to you.
- You spend more time with your thoughts than people realize.
- Your energy level is determined by the tone of your environment.
- You prefer to mentally prepare before engaging in social activities.
- Some people may perceive or describe you as flirty, even if unintended.
- You’re not a fully open book; you keep some personal details concealed.
- You sometimes need to be convinced by others to do things most people enjoy.
- You “host then ghost,” meaning you enjoy seeing people but may go under the radar after.
- You desire attention and recognition but you also don’t want to be in the limelight.
- You enjoy talking with others, but you may avoid engaging in some calls and texts.
- You’re not as quiet as some may believe and can be the life of the party sometimes.
Why You Should Embrace Being an Ambivert
Adam Grant’s personality test on 340 sales representatives reveals how being an introverted extrovert can be professionally advantageous. By observing the representatives, Grant found that those who could toggle between introverted and extroverted tendencies while exercising flexibility to the customers’ needs achieved greater sales success. This was compared to those who were more extroverted, overconfident, and less able to throttle their character traits.
Social flexibility and adaptability are major reasons ambiverts do so well professionally. As explained by BetterHelp, “Research has shown that you’re better able to connect with a wider variety of people; that you’re able to recalibrate the way that you communicate with others based on this social flexibility that you have.”
Challenges of Being an Introverted Extrovert
While being an introverted extrovert has advantages, there can also be challenges, particularly if you don’t understand your personality. To get the most from certain social and professional situations, cultivating strong self-awareness and discernment is key.
Tips for overcoming challenges as an ambivert:
- Set boundaries with others to protect your energy.
- Identify scenarios that drain or energize you, and make decisions accordingly.
- Avoid forcing yourself to be extroverted when you’re feeling introverted, and vice versa.
Perhaps one of the biggest challenges introverted extroverts face is the lack of understanding they often get from others. Because ambiverts find themselves in the middle of the sliding scale, their personality traits can come off as a bit ambiguous to others.
As Annie, an ambivert, explains to clinical psychologist Michael Alcee, “It’s hard to explain to people that I love reading Jane Austen and yet also want to be a pro-wrestler like John Cena or The Rock. People just don’t get that mix.”
Developing an understanding of yourself and communicating your needs to others can help dispel any misconceptions others might have about you.
How to Navigate the World as an Introverted Extrovert
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.”Carl Gustav Jung
When exploring introversion and extroversion, it’s important to remember that neither of these types or anything in between puts you into a personality box. Wherever your tendencies fall on the scale merely explains how you expend and absorb energy. However, having an understanding of the particular scenarios that both drain and recharge you is key to living successfully as an ambivert.
Tips for embracing your introverted extrovert personality:
- Be honest with yourself.
- Become okay with communicating your needs.
- Practice patience and flexibility with yourself and others.
- Get clear on the sources and situations that restore and deplete your energy.
- Seek professional paths, like jobs for introverts, that complement your ambiversion.
For continued growth and direction as a fully-realized introverted extrovert, read “How to Create a Vision for Your Life: A Must for Leaders.”
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- Holohan, Meghan. “Are You an Ambivert? What to Understand about This Winning Personality.” TODAY, 8 Feb. 2016, https://www.today.com/health/winning-personality-advantages-being-ambivert-t70236.
- “Carl Jung’s Theory on Introverts, Extraverts, and Ambiverts.” YouTube, 24 Oct. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=acg6HivAu5E.
- Lim, Annabelle. Big 5 Personality Traits – Simply Psychology. 15 June 2020, https://www.simplypsychology.org/big-five-personality.html.
- Charlotte Nickerson. What Is an Ambivert? An In-Depth Definition and Guide. https://www.simplypsychology.org/ambivert.html. Accessed 12 Jan. 2022.
- Grant, Adam. “Rethinking the Extraverted Sales Ideal: The Ambivert Advantage.” Sage Journals, vol. 24, no. 6, Apr. 2013, https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/0956797612463706.
- “20 Brilliant Ways to Know You’re an Introverted Extrovert.” YouTube, 12 Nov. 2021, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vjgJw3wgOY.
- “The Ambivert Personality Explained | BetterHelp.” YouTube, 22 Oct. 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niIzP0dgLng.
- Michael Alcee, is. “The Unique Gifts and Challenges of Introverted Extroverts.” Psychology Today, 1 Nov. 2022, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/live-life-creatively/202110/the-unique-gifts-and-challenges-introverted-extroverts.