What is an Ambivert and Why Should You Care?
So I’ve been writing all month about being an introvert and what that means for me as a person and as a writer. But there’s probably something you should know about me. I’m not truly an introvert. Or, I should say, I’m not entirely an introvert. Did you know there’s a third category and that many introverts fall into it?
Ambiverts are people who have traits of both introverts and extroverts and can wander back and forth between these personalities depending on the social context, their mood, their mental energy level, and goals. Sometimes, we’re called outgoing introverts. The reason this is important is that, despite saying I’m an introvert, I’ve had people in my life tell me I can’t be because I’m outgoing and fun to be around. Well, that’s true sometimes. Let’s take a closer look.
Comfort Levels with Situations
Every year (when there isn’t a pandemic) I attend an event called Dragon Con. Most people who have never been to Dragon Con can’t even imagine the scope of this convention. It’s a fan-run pop culture/sci-fi convention that spans 5 days and 5 hotels in downtown Atlanta. It’s not a conventional convention (see what I did there). It’s more of a pop-up city with parties, panels, and events every hour of every day. Each year it gets bigger and 2019 had an official count of 85,000 attendees.
I love Dragon Con. I love being with all those people who all love various forms of popular culture like I do. I love dressing up in costumes, attending parties where people are packed shoulder to shoulder.
I do not love this kind of activity pretty much any other time of the year. But at Dragon Con, most people are like me and we all feel like we’re finally home.
Comfort Levels with People
Dragon Con is an extreme example, but it’s an extreme place. Ambiverts can also have different comfort levels with different people. I am fiercely loyal to my friends. I enjoy hosting parties at my own home. And I enjoy getting together with my friends for games, dinner, drinks, or whatever other shenanigans.
Sometimes it’s difficult for ambiverts to make new friends. Because we are okay being in social situations but only with people we know. So we can’t meet new people if we don’t want to go where new people are.
My weird brain handles this by putting myself in leadership positions. I want to meet new people, I host a meet-up to meet new people. I make an effort to go to events or other meet-ups. I can tell pretty quickly if I feel comfortable or if I just want to escape.
Recharging the Batteries
One trait most ambiverts share with true introverts is that our batteries often need to be recharged. When we see fully extroverted people in the wild, we wonder how exactly they get that much energy. After I have a social engagement, whether it’s one I was looking forward to or not, I need some time alone to completely recharge before being social again.
It’s also how I deal with a crisis, by the way. I call it “Hermiting.” When I feel like I just can’t even anymore, I tend to stay put and watch a lot of TV. I don’t want to talk to or see anyone. I’ve been struggling with that during the pandemic because I both crave human interaction and don’t want to leave my apartment at all.
Flipping the Switch
What sets most ambiverts apart from introverts is the ability to flip the switch. Some people in my life only see me when I’m socially engaged. They have no idea that when I leave them, I’m fully drained. Sometimes that feeling makes me unable to handle even the most basic things, so I have to spend some time recovering and recharging. But then the switch can flip again and I’m ready to be the life of the party.
This is one of the things that informs my work. I’m able to see life from multiple perspectives and can understand how someone with a more extroverted mindset thinks.
I'd love to talk to you more about your work and how someone like me can help you. Contact me to learn more today.