Also known as an ambivert, it comes as no surprise that an extroverted introvert is someone whose character displays both introverted and extroverted qualities. I never really felt like I fit into either of the traditional categories so news of this hybrid was music to my ears.
In an average week, I can go from wanting to be surrounded by people, super chatty and somewhat of a social butterfly, to wanting to literally spend the entire day curled up in bed and not wanting to leave the confines of my bedroom. I typically really enjoy smaller parties, miniature meet ups and humble gatherings, but the thought of any of these being on a large scale, simply do not appeal. Without getting too much into the realms of social anxiety here, I would never willingly want to venture into a nightclub with more than a handful of people. I would much rather prefer a civilized get together in a bar and hopefully have some food.
In light of this, I decided to list some of the things us ambiverts would like the rest of the world to understand or even just be aware of!
- Our introvert-ness and extrovert-ness can vary day to day, hour to hour.
This really depends on where we are, who we are with and what we are doing. We might go from being affable around those we are most comfortable with to being strong, silent types in the workplace or in new environments in which we are unfamiliar.
- Small talk is a general no.
We can talk to strangers but not about the weather. We often oblige but any conversation that we do not find socially stimulating won’t consume our energy for very long. We have little enough social energy as it is and we do not like to waste it on Boris on the bus, talking about how rainy the morning is. Luckily here in London this is not something that happens very often especially on public transport. We will strive to talk about something else or more often than not just shut the conversation down. Cue the resting bitch face – although I did have an in depth conversation one evening on a train journey home about the technicalities of London stage shows with a theatre boffin – shout out to him!
- There is a difference between being alone and being lonely
For me, the difference is well defined by some New Year’s Eve celebrations a few years ago. In 2016 I made the choice to stay in the house by myself, write, cook and reflect. It was brilliant; peaceful and a really nice way to end/start the year. In 2017, I had nobody to do anything with. Away from my family, I had a handful of people messaging me, but nobody that cared enough to invite me to anything. My New Year’s sucked and I felt really down about it for a good couple of days into the new year. Observe: difference.
- We love to do new things, but proceed with caution
New challenges really excite us and we like to try something new, no matter how small, everyday. This being said, we will often stay at the back of a room or on the outside of a group discussion, observing instead of actively partaking. As soon as someone becomes familiar to us, we have a tendency to gravitate towards them – not in a pathetic sort of way, but more like ‘seeing a familiar face’ syndrome.
- We can come across as aloof, maybe even snobs to some
This is really not our intention (most of the time). As I mentioned just before, our social energy is very limited and we have to be extremely selective as to who we use it on. We prefer smaller groups, going out in clusters of 2, 3 or 4 at a push. With this being said, our friendships tend to be stronger and more meaningful than those of someone with 100s of casual acquaintances.
- We are great listeners
We are observers. If we are appropriately engaged we can also talk for hours, but more often we are listening as we recognise its importance more than some groups of people. I tend to find that a lot of creative people are great listeners. Based on my personal experiences as well, creative people often have a better understanding and empathise more with issues relating to mental health, which ties in really well with being a good listener.
Putting it simply, us ambiverts are often extroverted in low stimulating environments and introverted in high stimulating environments. I know labels are not cool, but which category do you find yourself in?