Not an Introvert, Not an Extrovert? You May Be An Ambivert

Not an Introvert, Not an Extrovert You May Be An Ambivert

I’m sure you would have been asked this question many times in your life – Are you an Introvert or an Extrovert?

For some people it is easy to choose between the two but for majority of us it is difficult to choose one way or the other.

Personality traits exist on a continuum and most of us aren’t introverts or extroverts –we fall somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

According to a study conducted by Adam Grant in The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, two – thirds of people were Ambiverts – who had both introverted and extroverted tendencies.

 Let’s consider Introversion and Extroversion as a spectrum, where Ambiversion lies in the middle.

Ambiverts have a unique advantage over Introverts or extroverts because they have traits of both Introversion and extroversion and they can adjust their approach based on the situation.

Another interesting myth that was busted during the Grant’s study was that Extroverts are good sales people.

His study proved that ambiverts’ greater social flexibility helped them to outsell other groups, moving 51% more product per hour than the average salesperson.

Here are some key traits that suggest that you might be in the middle of the Personality Spectrum, i.e., – An Ambivert.

1). You have the traits of both Introversion and Extroversion.

The terms introversion and Extroversion were popularized by Carl Jung. Extroverts gain their energy by being around people, they are outgoing, love being the life of a party and like to talk things out.

Introverts gain their energy by spending more time alone; they prefer intimate conversation to large social set up and prefer to think things through instead of talking out.

 Do you feel that you identify with the traits on both sides of the spectrum? Then you’re Ambivert.

According to Paulette Kouffman Sherman, Psy.D, psychologist and author of The Book of Sacred Baths, if you‘re an Ambivert, you’re emotionally flexible.

“Ambiverts can get energy from being with people and from being alone and they can be self-reflective in situations and also work things through by talking with others.” explains Sherman.


2). You like social gatherings as much as you crave alone time.

Sometimes you are outgoing and like spending time with people but sometimes it completely exhausts you.

You go through phases where in you want to go out and spend time with people and phases where in you want to retire in your zone to recharge yourself.

The trick is to grow your self-awareness and plan your activities in such a way that you enjoy both ends of the spectrum – being alone and being social and engaging in outdoor activities.


3). You are productive in both solo and group work assignments.

If you are an Ambivert, you are pretty flexible and can work well in both solo and group work assignments.

“This is because ambiverts can draw on extroverted traits while they’re in group settings, feeding off the energy and creativity, facilitating conversations and amping up the brainstorming, and they can also back off and give air time to others in the group without having to take over,” explains Grant Brenner, MD, a Manhattan based psychiatrist and “When they are working alone, they can use their introverted traits to buckled down and dig deep, pulling the assignment together with the group in mind.” adds Dr Brenner.

Written by Elizabeth Bernstein

Columnist, The Wall Street Journal.In more than a decade at The Wall Street Journal, Bonds columnist Elizabeth Bernstein has covered education, philanthropy, psychology and religion - all areas in which personal relationships loom large. In her work, she has ranged far and wide, from exposing the backlash against excessive emailing of baby photos to a detailed narrative reconstruction of a matricide. She has received awards from organizations including the New York Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists' Deadline Club, the Education Writers Association and the American Psychoanalytic Association. Now, Elizabeth is using her acquired insights and expertise to explore the manifold aspects of human interactions, whether at home, at work or among friends.Previous to her current position, Ms. Bernstein was a reporter for the Journal’s Weekend Journal section, where she wrote about religion and higher education and focused on national trends. She also launched a weekly philanthropy column at the Journal and served as the Journal’s philanthropy reporter.Before joining the Journal in 2000, Ms. Bernstein wrote for various publications, including New York Magazine, Forbes, the Chicago Tribune, the Village Voice and Publisher’s Weekly.Ms. Bernstein received a bachelor’s degree in journalism and English from Indiana University and a master’s degree in journalism with honors from Columbia University. In June, 2008, she completed a Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT, which focused on brain science. She lives in Miami, where she is an avid sailor and scuba diver.


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