Ambivert — one whose personality type is intermediate between extrovert and introvert.
As I write, today is the Madison, Wisconsin OutReach Pride Parade. I’ve marched in our community’s LGBTQ pride marches sponsored by different organizations many times over the years. I’ve volunteered on the planning committees, emceed the kick-off rally, introduced featured speakers such as U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin, now a Senator from Wisconsin, and produced and emceed post-march entertainment.
While I have my “let’s-start-the-day cups of coffee,” I’m flooded with ambivalent thoughts and feelings about whether I want to march today, or not. I’m fighting some resistance and over the years I’ve learned to pay attention to what I resist. When I do, I usually discover new insights of who I am and how I am in the world.
Now a disclaimer: I acknowledge that there are many more important issues and problems facing people personally and globally, and my dilemma about whether or not I march in a pride parade pales in comparison, yet this is the first decision I’ll make about how I spend my time and energy today and it seems much more complicated than it should.
The growth of social media and advances in modes of communication and technology have influenced the discussion of differences between introverts and extroverts, how members of different generations prefer to communicate, and how we use social media and technology to create windows to our lives or erect barriers.
Many of my friends declare for themselves, “I’m an introvert.” Those same friends, family and colleagues have often described me as an extrovert, and for many years I believed that was an accurate assessment. Recently however, especially as I’ve grown older and lived alone, I’ve identified many more characteristics in myself as an introvert.
I grew up during the sixties and the naval-gazing “me generation,” so it’s not unusual for me to spend a lot of time trying to figure out how I land on the introvert-extrovert spectrum. I have a history of self-examination. When I came out as a lesbian, I entered another period of my life analyzing my preferences. As a person in recovery from alcoholism and the family legacy of addiction, I spent a number of years taking my personal inventory, looking back at my life, and learning about myself free of numbing substances and behaviors. In the past few years after my last committed relationship ended, I looked again at my needs and feelings to help determine how I want to live the third act of my life.
Introvert, Ambivert or Extrovert
“There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum.” — Carl G. Jung
I’m a sucker for some of the entertainment features of Facebook like the psychological tests to determine personality type, relationship compatibility, or perceptual learning and communication-style. It didn’t take me long to find quizzes to determine whether I was an extrovert, introvert or ambivert.
First, I took an 81-question, 25-minute survey on Psychology Today. According to the summary report, I score 57 on a scale of 100 for “sociability.”
“According to your results you appear to be the type of person who enjoys socializing with both large and smaller, more intimate groups of people. You don’t mind being around big crowds, but that doesn’t mean you’ll want to crash every party you’re invited to. Having an active social life and extending your network of friends is relatively important to you, but it isn’t the most crucial thing. You’ve managed to strike a great balance between actively involving yourself in your larger social network, and spending some quality time with a few intimate friends. Although you may not always be the conversation-starter or the “life of the party”, you are generally a very outgoing individual, whether among friends or people you are less familiar with.”
It further describes my preference for needing personal space. I scored 87 on the “need for space” scale with 100 being the greatest need. To receive a comprehensive report, including graphs and scales I was encouraged to pay $6.95.
I took another quiz, this one absolutely free and probably less scientific and more based on pop psychology, from LonerWolf.com. I scored 60 on the test, plotting me on the high end of the Ambivert scale, approaching Extrovert. This feels like an accurate result and matches my self-assessment.
If your score was between:
0 – 20 points: You’re predominantly an Introvert.
20 – 40 points: You’re an Introvert with some Ambivert functions.
40 – 60 points: You’re an Ambivert.
60 – 80 points: You’re an Extrovert with some Ambivert functions.
80 – 100 points: You’re predominantly an Extrovert.
From the LonerWolf.com quiz results:
As a fairly equanimous person, you display both introverted and extroverted characteristics. While on some days you like being surrounded by many people, on others you prefer to relax on your own and take some time out. As such, you can easily relate to both extremes on the personality spectrum, and have an easier time delving in and out of the internal and external worlds. This may lead to feelings of confusion as many times you feel like a “walking contradiction”, feeling one thing one moment, and another thing the next. Your friendship circle tends to consist of 3, 4, or 5 people. To summarize, these are some of your defining characteristics:
- Enjoys socializing, but also being alone at times.
- Behavioral decisions usually rely on “how one feels”, or the context of the situation.
- Usually has a small group of friends.
- Ability to appreciate both inner and outer worlds.
Famous Ambiverts: George Carlin, John Lennon, Celine Dion, Rowan Atkinson, Angelina Jolie, Marilyn Monroe, Julian Assange, Richard Dawkins, Princess Diana, Johnny Depp, William Shakespeare, Jesus of Nazareth, Leonardo DiCaprio, Stephen Spielberg.
Following are the descriptions for both Introverts and Extroverts:
While not necessarily shy, you prefer to spend a lot of your time alone to recharge your limited energy. Quite simply: people drain you, and you prefer your own inner world of thoughts and passions to the external world of people and events. As such, you tend to have few close friendships, and are very selective when it comes to relationships. You prefer to think before you act, and people describe you as being thoughtful, cautious, quiet and introspective. To summarize, these are some of your defining characteristics:
- Enjoys solitude.
- Energized alone.
- Has a rich internal world.
- Thinks before speaking and acting.
- Prefers a few intimate friends.
- Doesn’t enjoy loud, sociable situations.
Famous Introverts: Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, J.K Rowling, Mahatma Ghandi, Eleanor Roosevelt, Larry Page, Tim Burton, Dr. Seuss, Keanu Reeves, Gwyneth Paltrow, Michelle Pfeiffer, Grace Kelly, Tom Hanks, Mother Teresa, Friedrich Nietzsche, George Orwell.
As a great social networker, you love to socialize, mingle and make as many friends as possible. You gain your energy from the external world of people and events, and prefer thinking and carrying out your daily activities amongst other people. Unlike introverts, you find alone time draining and miserable and prefer to be in the spotlight surrounded by other people. People describe you as gregarious, talkative and even “larger than life” at times. To summarize, these are some of your defining characteristics:
- Sociable and outgoing.
- Energized by social interaction.
- Has many friends.
- Friendly and easy to approach.
- Assertive and competitive.
- Speaks and acts, and then thinks later.
- Easily distracted.
Famous Extroverts: Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher, Marie Antoinette, Muhammad Ali, Winston Churchill, George W. Bush, Oscar Wilde, Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, Bruce Willis, Tom Cruise, Napoleon Bonaparte, Walt Disney, Deepak Chopra, Hugh Hefner, Whoopi Goldberg, Pablo Picasso, Weird Al Yankovic.
Now you may be wondering; what decision did I make? Did I march in the parade, or did I stay home and spend my Sunday afternoon alone? If you guessed the latter you would be correct. As I began taking quizzes, researching then writing this blog post, I spent the afternoon in my own company and reverie. I was grateful that others marched in my place this year. Because of my extrovert characteristics I was curious how others spent the day, and of course, logged on to Facebook to see the photos and status updates from friends and allies.
Perhaps next year, it will be easier to know whether I want to be part of the crowd and celebration, or watch from the sidelines and the comfort and solitude of my home and own company. The reality is this, I’m an ambivert, I could go either way…
Here’s another article describing how I land on the introvert-Extrovert Scale. You may recognize yourself too: