I’ve been an introvert—or at least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself—for most of my adult life.
Yet, as an individual who has spent a significant amount of time self-reflecting—and enjoys introspection—I often find myself questioning the validity of this self-professed label.
The questioning arises during social interactions when I find myself actively engaging and enjoying the company of others, only to later crave solitude.
It comes from friends who note my ability to navigate both social and solitary situations with ease. It comes from my own introspection, as I wonder whether I’m truly an introvert or if I’m a closet ambivert.
As I grapple with these thoughts, several questions surface:
Am I the only one who feels this way?
Is it possible that many of us are incorrectly labelling ourselves?
Could it be that we’re more adaptable and flexible in our social interactions than we give ourselves credit for?
I believe there’s a sense of pressure within our society to neatly categorize ourselves into the introvert or extrovert boxes. This pressure can lead individuals to misidentify their true personality type, potentially limiting their personal growth and relationships.
By the time you reach the end of this article, my aim is to have helped you recognize the possibility that you might be a closet ambivert. I hope to show you that there is no shame in identifying as an ambivert—someone who enjoys both social interactions and solitude—and that embracing this balance can lead to a more fulfilling life.
Ultimately, our self-perception should be based on our authentic experiences rather than societal expectations or labels.
1) You enjoy social gatherings, but also crave solitude
This might be a difficult concept to wrap your head around.
The term “ambivert” is a blend of the characteristics typically associated with both introverts and extroverts. However, understanding this concept requires us to let go of the rigid categorization of personalities.
Let me elaborate.
Consider your social experiences. You might find yourself genuinely enjoying a friend’s party or a networking event. The energy of the crowd stimulates you, and you actively participate in conversations and activities. Now, consider your alone time. After the social gathering, you feel an irresistible urge to retreat into your solitude, to recharge and rejuvenate.
If you’re truly an ambivert, it’s essential to accept that you oscillate between these two states. You function instinctively, based on your internal energy levels and external environment.
It’s crucial to release the societal pressure that pushes us to identify as either introverted or extroverted. Our personalities are not binary; they exist on a spectrum. Your actions, which swing between sociability and solitude, are most powerful when they occur naturally, instinctively.
If you can embrace this fluidity in your personality and create conditions in your life that honor your need for both social interaction and solitude, you’ll live more authentically. You won’t have to force yourself into situations that deplete you or deny yourself the experiences that energize you.
You will be able to find balance in your social desires, without trying to control them.
2) You are both the life of the party and the quiet observer
This might seem a bit contradictory at first.
Most people assume they either flourish in the limelight or prefer to keep to the shadows. However, understanding your ambivert nature requires acknowledging that you can inhabit both roles comfortably.
Here’s what I mean.
Imagine yourself at a social gathering. There are times when you’re leading the conversation, cracking jokes, and keeping the energy levels high. You’re indeed the life of the party. But then, there are also moments when you step back to observe, to listen, and to reflect. You’re comfortable in your quietude amidst the chaos.
If you can recognize this duality in your social interactions, it’s a strong indicator of your ambivert nature. You don’t need to suppress one aspect of your personality to accommodate the other.
It’s crucial not to give too much power to societal definitions that limit our understanding of our own personalities. We are not just our outgoing selves or our introspective selves. We are a blend of both.
Now, I don’t feel compelled to always be the entertainer or always be the observer.
Sometimes I’m engaging in lively discussions; other times, I’m quietly contemplating the dynamics around me. I’ve come to realize that this balance is not only acceptable but also a unique strength of being an ambivert.
3) You adapt easily to different social settings
This might seem like an ordinary trait, but it’s actually a significant sign of being an ambivert.
Consider your versatility in various social scenarios. At one moment, you could be comfortably engaging in a deep, one-on-one conversation with a close friend. In another moment, you find yourself equally at ease speaking up in a group discussion or delivering a presentation to an audience.
This ability to adapt isn’t about being fake or wearing different masks; it’s about genuinely enjoying both intimate and collective interactions.
Recognizing this adaptability is a crucial step in understanding your ambivert nature. It’s about acknowledging that you don’t have to be confined to one type of social interaction.
Embrace your versatility. Understand that it’s okay to enjoy both small talks at parties and profound discussions during quiet evenings. This adaptability is not only acceptable, but it’s also one of the unique strengths of being an ambivert.
4) You value both deep connections and casual acquaintances
Think about your relationships. You cherish your close-knit circle of friends, valuing the deep, emotional connections you’ve cultivated. Yet, you’re equally comfortable with having a wide network of casual acquaintances.
This isn’t about being a social butterfly or a recluse; it’s about acknowledging that you appreciate both depth and breadth in your social interactions.
Recognizing this equilibrium is crucial in understanding your ambivert nature. It’s about accepting that you don’t have to restrict yourself to either intense relationships or superficial connections.
Embrace your relational diversity. Understand that it’s okay to enjoy both profound friendships and light-hearted relationships. This balance is not only acceptable, but it’s also a unique strength of being an ambivert.
Stop trying to fit into a singular social mold and start creating social conditions that honor your need for both deep connections and casual acquaintances. In doing so, your social life will become a reflection of your authentic self, without the need for forced interactions or controlled friendships.
5) You can switch between leading and following with ease
Here’s an example from my own experience. A few years ago, I joined a local community project. Initially, I took a backseat, learning the ropes and following the guidance of more experienced members. But as I became more comfortable, I found myself stepping up, taking charge of certain tasks, and even leading teams.
This wasn’t about being dominant or submissive; it was about recognizing that I could be both a leader and a follower, depending on the situation.
If you find yourself shifting between leading and following with ease, it’s a clear indicator of your ambivert nature. It’s about understanding that you don’t always have to be at the forefront or in the shadows; you can inhabit both spaces comfortably.
Embrace this flexibility in your roles. Understand that it’s okay to take charge when necessary and step back when required. This adaptability is not just acceptable; it’s a unique strength of being an ambivert, and it can open up new opportunities in your personal and professional life.
6) You are comfortable with both listening and speaking
Consider a well-known psychological study by Carl Jung, the pioneering psychologist who introduced the concepts of introversion and extroversion. He noted that while introverts are typically more comfortable with listening and extroverts with speaking, ambiverts could easily switch between the two.
This isn’t about being talkative or reticent; it’s about acknowledging that you’re equally at ease with expressing your thoughts and absorbing others’.
Identifying this duality in your communication style is an essential step towards embracing your ambivert nature. It’s about realizing that you’re not confined to either speaking up or staying silent; you can do both comfortably.
Embrace this communication balance. Understand that it’s perfectly okay to voice your opinions in one moment and lend a listening ear in another. This ability to adapt is not only acceptable but is also a unique strength of being an ambivert, enhancing your interpersonal relationships.
7) You thrive in both routine and spontaneity
You may have a structured routine that brings you comfort and stability. You wake up at the same time, follow a similar work schedule, and have a predictable bedtime. Yet, you also find joy in the unplanned, the spontaneous weekend trip, the unexpected lunch date, or the sudden change in plans.
This isn’t about being rigid or impulsive; it’s about understanding that you can appreciate both order and unpredictability.
Recognizing this dichotomy is key to embracing your ambivert nature. It’s about acknowledging that you don’t have to stick strictly to your plans nor live entirely on a whim; you can do both comfortably.
Embrace this balance. Understand that it’s perfectly okay to find solace in routine while also seeking excitement in spontaneity. This ability to adapt is not only acceptable but also a unique strength of being an ambivert, enriching your experiences and enhancing your adaptability.
8) You need both social stimulation and alone time to recharge
This might seem like a paradox, but it’s a core characteristic of an ambivert.
Take a moment to reflect on your energy patterns. You likely draw energy from being around others, engaging in lively discussions, and soaking up the vibrant social atmosphere. Yet, you also recharge during moments of solitude, when you can reflect on your thoughts and experiences, read a book, or simply enjoy your own company.
This isn’t about being dependent or independent; it’s about realizing that you can derive energy from both social interactions and alone time.
Recognizing this dual source of energy is fundamental to embracing your ambivert nature. It’s about understanding that you don’t always have to be surrounded by people to feel energized nor always be alone to recharge; you can do both comfortably.
Embrace this balance in energy sources. Understand that it’s perfectly okay to seek social stimulation one moment and crave solitude the next. This fluidity is not only acceptable but also a unique strength of being an ambivert, allowing you to adapt and thrive in various environments.
Final thoughts: It’s about balance
The complexities of our personalities and social behaviors often have profound roots in our psychological makeup.
One such element is the concept of ‘psychological ambidexterity,’ which refers to individuals who span the spectrum of introversion and extroversion, those who can adapt and thrive in various social situations.
For ambiverts, this psychological ambidexterity could be their secret superpower. It enables them to enjoy both the buzz of social interactions and the tranquillity of solitude, to speak up when required and listen when necessary, to lead when called for and follow when appropriate.
Whether it’s finding themselves in the middle of a crowded party, leading a team project, or spending quiet evenings lost in thought, the underlying psychological flexibility enhances their experiences.
As you reflect on these signs, remember that being an ambivert isn’t about fitting into a specific box; it’s about embracing the fluidity of your personality. It’s about acknowledging and celebrating your ability to adapt to various social circumstances without losing your authentic self.
In essence, being an ambivert is about balance. And perhaps, in this ever-changing, fast-paced world, balance is what we all need.