Ambiversion: The Lost Personality Type

Ambiversion: The Lost Personality Type

There is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum. ~ Carl G Jung   

It was when he started saying things like “you must be an INTJ” and “thinkers are more objective than feelers” that I became more interested in staring outside the window than listening to this guy – a psychology student. Personality types are fascinating to talk about, but depending on who’s doing the talking, it can get a bit too stiff for me.

Often I’ve wondered why I’m less than enthusiastic about my personality type, or types. There are as many personality tests based on Introversion and Extroversion as there are types: Jung’s Typology, Big 5, Myers Briggs, Socionics, Enneagram. Sometimes I’m an introvert, others I’m extroverted, sometimes a feeler and others a thinker. For many, personality types provide a lucid way of understanding what were felt to be the abstract traits of ones character. Finally we can share on our Facebook and twitter pages that we’re “INFJ’s!”, “ISTP’s!!”, “ISFJ’s!!!”  We seem to believe that our entire emotional and mental functions as a human being perfectly correlate with this well thought out, 4 letter description of who we are. Introspection and self-analysis just became a whole lot easier – just 70 questions away to discover who you really are.

But amidst all the introvert and extrovert extremist polarity hype there exists one forgotten type.  The Ambivert.  I had once remotely read of the term Ambivert while perusing through Young’s “Source Book for Social Psychology“. I’ve scoured the internet extensively and found very little on the subject. It seems this ambiguous, complicated, mythical creature is nowhere to be found.

Continuum Personality Scale

Ambiversion: The Lost Personality Type
Introversion and extroversion are typically viewed as a single continuum. In other words: to be high in one, it is necessary to be low in the other. Jung and Briggs proposed that everyone has both an extroverted side and an introverted side, one having more predominance than the other. However, Isabel Briggs Myers only strictly allowed the classification of these two types, even though she based her work on Jung’s theory.  Jung was of the idea that there was a third “middle” group.  The Ambivert.

“There is, finally, a third group… the most numerous and includes the less differentiated normal man… He constitutes the extensive middle group… I call the first group extraverted and the second group introverted.” (p516, Psychological Types)

This would allow for the possibility that the majority of the population are in fact Ambiverts.  Ambiverts seem like a grey area in the personality-type world.  Inconveniently, paying attention to the Ambivert would present a difficult and unnecessary complication – that is, that the entire population couldn’t be squeezed into one of two boxes. Tests can never be accurate because the psyche doesn’t work in percentages. In fact, the introvert and extrovert notion was never intended to be a testable dichotomy. The concept of the Introvert and Extrovert was originally intended to determine whether a function is introverted or extroverted – not a person. However, MBTI asserts otherwise.

Fifty Shades of Ambivert

Ambiversion: The Lost Personality TypeIsn’t is more likely that our personalities are varying mixtures of introverted and extroverted functions instead of say, all functions being introverted or extroverted?

I believe that people are simply more dynamically complex than the way we polarize ourselves. The most shameless of party-goers has his insecurities, and the quietest at work can be the wildest at night. Put simply, when we’re in a comfortable environment, we’re more likely to be ourselves.

The majority of us have traits of both personalities which are contextually driven. In other words, the majority of our behavior is a result of our interactions with a situation.

If an “extrovert” has to present an assignment, he may become an introvert for the day by blocking out exterior stimulation and getting lost in a world of thought. Jung defined introversion as an “attitude-type characterised by orientation in life through subjective psychic contents” (or focus on one’s inner psychic activity).  Extroversion on the other hand was defined as “an attitude type characterised by concentration of interest on the external object” (or the outside world).

This means that just because you are considered an “introvert” does not mean you’re highly introspective and posses much self-knowledge. Most likely, it’s simply your “Extroverted” brain function that becomes over stimulated easily, causing you to avoid socializing.  Meanwhile, you’re still getting lost in a world outside of your ‘self’, just like an extrovert does, by reading a fantasy book, or getting lost in a video game (an extrovert thought function). You may have a big imagination, but the function of your brain that finds ‘fun’ in story lines is the same as the extroverts who find ‘fun’ in experiences. Neither is left in solitude with the introverted function of self analysis and introspection (introvert thought function). Simply put, you can have an extroverted mind while still functioning as an introvert.

However, there are those rare true unwavering personality types who posses almost all dominant extrovert functions and no introverted functions regardless of the situation. Even presenting an assignment would involve yapping away with others. Or for instance, the predominantly introverted functioners who find no sense of fun in celebrating birthdays or anything even with their closest loved ones, and would rather read a book instead.

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The Freedom Of Being an Ambivert

Ambiversion: The Lost Personality TypeFrom my understanding, Jung would say that we all have “preferences” of what we would like to do, but we also have the capacity to be able to be both introverted and extroverted. And as we get older, we slowly migrate towards the center of the the continuum scale in most of our functions, as part of the self-actualization process. The majority of people, although slanted towards one side of the scale, operate using traits and preferences from both sides.

Ambiverts are people who don’t really prefer one way of functioning over another.  In other words, you could say they’re the neutral, middle-ground hippies. They’re equally comfortable in situations where the introvert feels most at home and situations where the extrovert is having a good time. That being said, I would consider myself an Ambivert.  I don’t feel drained from social interaction or going out shopping, and discussion energizes and invigorate me. I constantly seek dare devil risk taking stimulation, while simultaneously relishing quiet time with my books and catching up on scientific essays. I’m both overly confident, but also reclusive and critical in thought.

The freedom with Ambiversion comes in finding both Introverted and Extroverted worlds satisfying and rewarding.  Ambiversion helps you to enjoy a varied life. Ambiverts have enough introversion to slowly absorb the world around them and enough extroversion to be able to propound ideas and express themselves (through writing of verbally) without feeling depleted.

Ambiversion: The Lost Personality TypeThe notion of Ambiversion changed my life. Previously, when filling in a personality type questionnaire, I”d hesitate when answering questions like: “would you prefer to go to a party or read a book?”  My first thought was “Depends on the party or book and also how tired I am from the previous night.” But that contextual option wasn’t available. Now I realize what a gift it is to be sensible, reasonable and well balanced enough to have the freedom of choice.

I don’t consider myself either extroverted or introverted.  Even though I may be 49% extrovert and 51% introvert, I’m equally labeled an INTJ.  Yet other’s with 99% introvert and 1% extrovert are still labelled INTJ’s. Superficially we have the same label, but psychologically we are entirely different.

I’m an Ambivert with 70 shades of Introvert and 30 shades of Extrovert! What are you?

Take our Introvert, Ambivert or Extrovert Test to find out!

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  1. ivy may says

    Hi Mateo, this is a great article! I came across the term ‘ambivert’ when I was searching for an ‘in-between’ on the introversion/extroversion spectrum for a friend. It’s so satisfying to know that there’s not only two terms.
    I have two questions:
    1. Can A (for Ambivert) be put in place of I/E (for Introvert/Extrovert) on your Myers-Briggs personality type?
    2. Can depression cause introversion? Because I’m all my tests say I’m an introvert and I have depression and social anxiety disorder, but I feel like if I didn’t have any mental health issues I would be an extrovert? Because I love interacting with people and socialising but my depression tends to get in the way of that. I’m currently in therapy, so do you think when I finish therapy I could be an extrovert?
    I hope this made sense, thank you!

    • says

      Hola Ivy,

      The world is never black and wide, everything is a whole that we’ve divided with our minds in order to analyze and understand.

      Myers Briggs is a flawed personality classifying system as it polarizes you to either one side of the spectrum of the other. In clinical psychology they use Big 5 Types which basically just tells you what percentage of extroversion you have, as oppose to you being either an extrovert or an introvert.

      So that being said, I suppose you can use A as a substitute but then you would also have to find the middle ground for Thinker and Feeler, Judger and Perceiver etc… and you would end up with something like AxYz, in other words; someone who is in the middle of everything and consequently, with no label.

      Depression cannot cause introversion. Introversion predominance is a personality trait that you are often born with though it can shift during your life and journey of personal growth.

      What can happen however is that when you are depressed, you become more self center (obviously because of the problems your struggling with and are trying to figure out how to overcome them). You stop socializing because you don’t gain the same ‘good feelings” you use to before you were depressed and you feel your friends don’t understand what you’re going through.

      So depression brings many symptoms that isolate you, but just like shyness, it has nothing to do with introversion and more to do with underlying psychological issues you must overcome.

      I hope this answers your questions, let me know if there’s any other way I can help.

  2. Anonymous Commenter says

    I. BLOODY. WELL. LOVE. THIS. THANK YOU.

    I’ve been thinking the same thing about the Myers-Briggs recently–that even if I’m borderline extroverted or extremely extroverted, or somewhat ESFJ-ish vs. STRONGLY ESFJ-ish, I’m still stuck with the same personality profile. Then I stumbled upon this article, and lo and behold, someone else voicing the same opinion (though I’m sure there are many who would agree with that assessment). Still, it felt GREAT to have my thought validated by another party (you, haha).

    Recently, I’ve been on a bit of a MBTI-Psychology spree. People display a variety of behaviors that change with a given situation, and most, if not all people fall somewhere on a spectrum of a given trait (thinking/feeling, judging/perceiving, etc…). As a result, I’m frustrated with the Myers-Briggs test in that it doesn’t seem to account for shades of grey in people’s personalities (then again, I don’t think there is a test that does–it is simply not possible, given the complexity of human personality). I also don’t like being put in a box, as I feel that the test embraces some aspects of who I am and ignores others (again, as would be the case for everyone).

    Anyhow, it’s always good to find people who openly voice the opinion that these tests can be a bit too (understandably, given the subject matter) black-and-white in their approach. Thank you for sharing your idea!

    • Anonymous Commenter says

      Also, I can definitely relate to ambiversion–while I lean more towards the extroverted end of the scale, I definitely possess some stereotypical “introvert” traits.

    • says

      I’ve always been a strong believer that tensions of energy build up within our societies which stimulates many people to have insights and experience very similar ideas at the same time.

      Knowing we’re not alone is a deep urge we all experience I think, but in a time where this awareness of the extroverted – introverted dichotomy is so prevalent, to find like-minded individuals can definitely be a relief.

      Humans in general can never be put into any boxes, we’re far to complex for that. We can be given ‘general’ labels to somewhat try and capture some aspect of our character, but that’s about it. I understand why we have the urge to do so though; when I first discovered these personality types I also found it exciting to be able to fool myself into feeling as though I could “know” someone by what type they were. It’s not the case.

      As humans we are constantly in a flux, an inward flux as well as and external one that is influenced by our surroundings. If the world were so predictable, it would be boring. But our fear of the uncertain craves with great desire to try and find answers and be able to predict aspects of ourselves and others.

      I’m a strong supporter of the helpfulness of many of these personality type tests as they allow people to learn a bit more about themselves, or at least raise some curiosity into what else they might find inside if they explore deeper. But that’s where it ends for me.

      I’m happy you enjoyed the article so much, and thank you for sharing your opinion on this delicate subject :)

    • says

      Hi April,

      I believe in some aspects of astrology, especially the influence of moon signs on people. But I’m wondering, how you connected astrology to Ambiversion? I’m often intrigued but random associations.

  3. Sheena says

    I understand that the test doesn’t talk about ambiverts which makes me mad because i am too but in actuality your wrong. Actually if you look in to it and have actually done your research it doesn’t just tell you that your a pure introvert or a pure extrovert.

    • says

      Hello Sheena,

      I believe you might be misreading the article or having the wrong expectations of it. You will see, as many others have in the comments below, my attempt is to actually clarify that there is no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert, that we are all both in different degree’s (we must be as it’s a polarity spectrum).

      I do not aim at explaining more about Ambiverts because just like Introverts or Extroverts, it would be easy to make another dogmatic identification with the label Ambivert. There is no absolute description of what an ambivert is, because each ambivert has different degrees of extroverts and introversion as well as the sub functions within those two functions, such as gregariousness etc…

      Hopefully, like fine wine, this will taste better after a second read :)

  4. jim says

    I am an Introvert, I know that I have displayed extrovert characteristics. Nevertheless, I am still introverted. I can attest that types are not set in stone; I scored a rather high percentage to introversion. Until I meet my girlfriend, and then I noticed a decline. The test(based on Jung and Briggs) on the human metrics site displays percentages, and for a good reason. Those percentages signify the strength of preference over the other. Also, people also fail to consider the development of other functions from Jung’s theory.

    • says

      You’re entirely correct Jim, the key is first to realize the percentages and to under Jung’s work in its totality. Jung is the type of abstract thinker than can easily be thin-sliced and end up with parts of his ideas as stand alone concepts out of their wholeness.

  5. john smith says

    although i have not read the entire article the term introvert or introvert is not the entire personality more it is the dominate archetype a more refined simplified personality traits look up why him why her in fact there are many types

    • says

      That’s exactly it John, It’s a dominant archetype that has been taken as if it were the absolute and whole. My aim in this article is to try and provide a bit of grey area between the black and white way think whole introvert movement is unfolding.

      Thank you for commenting!

  6. Eric says

    What a breath of fresh air this is. I have often straddled the intro/extro fence, but never known until recently there was a name for that. I can be chatty with a small group of people for ten minutes, but then I can be in a corner surveying the crowd for another ten and enjoy that almost as much. What a disservice the “how to talk to an introvert” meme is doing to us. What a refreshing thing it is to find evidence that there’s a spectrum for this, though in hindsight it should have made perfect sense to me long ago. Yaaay for ambiverts!

    • says

      Hi Eric!

      I couldn’t agree more, this whole extremism of spectrum identification is reaching a point where soon it will begin to do more harm than good. Awareness of our differences is one thing, but fanatical labelling of ourselves and purposefully separating us into groups is slowly becoming a hindrance, especially now that technology is providing an atmosphere that is very alluring to bury yourself into when you believe that you fit in to a group of people who are meant to be asocial.

      It’s great to see the reception this article has had on so many people :), thank you!

  7. Jayjay, dweller of a house says

    Well, I’ve been searching for some information about the Ambiverts because I thought I might be one. The first suspicious thing to me was my test outcome. Yeah, I’m an INTJ, but with introversion 68% only (while my Thinking is a total 100!). I thought something’s wrong, but then I started working as an accountant. Sometimes I just have to talk to my colleagues or go outside to one of our clients’ bureaus, instead of working silently, listening to music. Now I’m motivated to move even closer to the 50% point and have a job where I will be able to listen to music when in need but also base the work on interpersonal contacts. Again, thank you and I wish you all the best!

    • says

      Thank you Jayjay, I also felt the test results were my first red flag there there was something flawed with that system.

      The trick is to find a job that suits your personality well, right now I’m struggling in that area as I like to have a variety of jobs but to find jobs that not only have a specific social exposure, but also that provide me enough time to meditate and enjoy my environment without consuming me into a repetitive task mindless activity .

      I’m happy to see you’re so pro-active about finding ways to be well suited to your temperament :)

  8. Ja Miranda says

    That’s pretty cool. It’s basically like your introverted side is saying that your just as extroverted too, or vice versa. But it’s nothing like that, lol.

    I turned out INTJ when I took a personality test a couple of days ago, and honestly it’s been a blast (mentally). I’m in a pretty dark place psychologically right now, and reading about my type has done nothing but shed light and sort of label and organize my “abstract” (INTJ joke) thoughts about myself. Not that I’m basing my personality or anyone’s on those classifications, but it does help a lot with self-realizations, and other thought processes that I’m sure you’d be familiar with. And the intake of information on a totally new topic for me is just addicting.

    Anyway, since then I felt as if I, for once, was completely in tune with my mind and how it worked. I was aware of everything that demented bastard was taking in and working on (world domination). It has been very exciting for me, practicing my powered-up skills on everything and everyone. Being the only INTJ in a circle of friends, I’ve been taking pride in it, and have been using it to try and psychoanalyze the shit out of them (they’re getting pretty tired of it, lol). But I’ve been pretty much applying it to everything else too. That being the case, I must have “quasi-knowingly” started to become overly introverted. I suddenly became aware of the amount of time I spend in my head, and that made it seem to me like I do spend A LOT of time in there, even more. It’s basically as if when I became aware that I am an introvert, it made me more of an introvert.

    But for some reason, I had this general feeling (probably the Ni talking) that I knew that I wasn’t a complete introvert. I knew I had extroverted traits too. Looking back I’m pretty sure there were times where I was harnessing Ne much more. “Ambivert.” It’s just awesome to know that there is a “name” for it too. I understand that these classifications arent supposed to be set limits or descriptions for one’s self. Personally, I think they can be used as guides at best, but still totally up to the individual as to what they’ll do with such information. I guess it’s just my love for systems and order and labels that drew me to thank you (yes, this is supposed to be an appreciative comment, haha!) for sharing this stuff, more than the realizations of not limiting one’s self to I and E, or anything else. Your article somehow dampened my aggressive approach to learning (and applying) the stuff I read/watch about personalities. It was sort of “take a chill pill” thing for me, which is totally chill.

    I think I’m being too much of an INTJ now. Anyway, thank you! You’ve gained a reader! :)

    • says

      Hi Ja!,

      It’s easy for INTJ’s to enter dark stages through their lifetimes as we tend to put much thought and analysis into everything, we can through much through the folly of what most people do and feel that wouldn’t make us happy. It’s also dangerous to enter negative thought patterns as our minds function analytically, they enter into a cycle that is very hard to escape or un-think your way out of your thoughts (you’re trying to kill your enemy [thoughts] with your enemy [thoughts] defeating the purpose).

      But how to overcome that problem is something I’ll leave for another time. I understand how personality types can work as candle in the darkness. At the beginning, when one’s mind is chaotic and going through darkness, anything that creatures structure and makes sense out of things feels awesome and great. But then as you dig deeper and deeper into your spiritual self and get to know who you are, you realize it is just a label and a dangerous one at that as it creates a mental separation between you and everyone else, just like a religion or any other belief.

      The paradox here, is that it is necessary to first be fooled by this label and then to outgrow it, because initially it provides the stepping stone of stability (which fools your mind into a greater sense of peace that you belong somewhere), and that stability feeling gives you the time and inner peace to truly find who you are.

      So these labels do work by making the Involutionary step of “Self Study” fun and interesting, almost like a game to be able to label everyone with a personality type. They allow you to become more mindful of things, like for example if you’re an “I” then you start focussing on that attribute and suddenly you become aware of how much introvert things you do. So then the mind tells you that you’re definitely an “I” and you believe it. This is where I tell some of my fellow seekers to be mindful of the labels, because the belief in being an “I” might make you direct your life towards reaffirming that belief (picking jobs that are Introvert friendly etc…) and if you start Involuting or growing within, you’re feelings start becoming more domiment, your desire to socialize starts feeling stronger, you might miss the subtle messages inside of you and continue with the mental belief that you are an INTJ.

      I’m so happy you have the wisdom to reconsider your strong aggressive passion to trying to systematise and organize people, I had the same urge when I first encountered these personality types but I immediately realized the consequences of doing so. It’s easier to make predominant Thinkers than feelers reconsider though, as they have an easier ability to separate emotions from rationality :)

      Thank you so much for a great and interesting comment, loved reading it !

  9. F. Charmz says

    REALLY ENJOYED THIS ARTICLE/POST!

    favorite part was:
    “The majority of us have traits of both personalities which are contextually driven. In other words, the majority of our behavior is a result of our interactions with a situation.”

  10. ellen says

    It does make interesting points – and i agree most people are ambiverts in some way. Type descriptions are only meant to be generalizations anyway — so i think its the tendency of the human mind rather than a problem with MBTI as such. I just don’t think people should really look at the personality side all that much . I really feel with Myer Briggs looking at the functions and stack order of the types is more useful than really looking at the personality descriptions. if you are going to use it for personal development. If you are in an ambivert zone that best fit type and function development might help ( eg it is good to know what you 4th function is as often it can 1. either trip you up or 2. be a place of great insight. All the functions have introverted and extroverted aspects so either/ or preferances are always going to be tricky. Eg for years i have tested borderline ENFP/INFP but the general consensus seems to be that in cases like that a person is probably better fit with the ENFP overall. And when i look at my greatest challenge, the sensation function ..that fits. There are sites on cognitve functions that actually do this.. And also, we can have adapted preferances rather than optimal preferances..so all those basic tests , especially the free ones have to be seen as as that – basic. Also cognitive extroversion and extroversion with feeling and people are quite different styles.

    • says

      Hey Ellen,

      I agree wholeheartedly that looking a personality types provides a very superficial understanding of oneself. It creates the same problem that dating sites do; labelling yourself as “funny” is limited by language, funny in a sarcastic way? satirical? Trying to give ourselves an idea of what a person is like based on these labels is like trying to imagine what a pizza will taste like by reading the ingredients.

      As you mention, by getting a result like INFP it immediately pretty much excludes and allows you to ignore entirely valid sides of you (your ESTJ functions) which exists, but simply in smaller scale.

      I personally, recommend the Big 5 types. As not only do you measure simply a percentage of, say, how extroverted you are. But in a thorough test, they also measure the facets that exists WITHIN each function. Like within extroversion, there is: Friendliness, Gregariousness, Assertiveness, Activity Level, Excitement Seeking and Cheerfulness. Calling someone an “extrovert” is assuming that they rank on all those facets equally, which they don’t.

      Thank you for a great comment, I’m glad to see there are many more people out there that are looking deeper into the popular personality types :)

  11. nki says

    I’d like to add to this statement: “Put simply, when we’re in a comfortable environment, we’re more likely to be ourselves.” by saying “with whatever aspect of our personality is warranted, neh, comfortable, in that moment.” My ha’penny.

  12. says

    Being a 60/40 Ambi…..I wonder just how many there really are. Seems like the common sense of the Ambi is a fairly rare thing to find. Granted, most people will fall between the extremes…but there’s something about those who find a balance between, rather than a one way path.

    • says

      Hello Bo!

      I really believe a large majority of us fall in the ambivert area, those few fall around equal amounts 40/60 60/40 and everything in between. So say someone that is 70/30 will of course assume they are entirely introvert.

      Another aspect is that Ambis who embrace their ambiness, arent seeking that egotistical pursuit of labeling themselves with a unique type. Sure we have the Ambi label, but that basically means that we are simply balanced in our social aspects. Many who label themselves Introverts will like to point out how Einstein and Lincoln were introverts as well. Extroverts, seeing as extroversion has always been not only acceptable but a lifestyle in American culture, dont brag about being Extroverted, they simply are.

      Its okay to be predominantly introverted or extroverted, or an ambivert, none is better or worse, they all just share different aspects that make the person who they are.

      Thank you for leaving a great comment :)

      Sol

    • BBDee says

      Hello Brothers Bo & Sol! Your 60/40 (slightly on the extraverted side, “light green” on the color spectrum if you will) Sister here! I have taken Myers-Briggs numerous times in my lifelong failed quest to figure out “what I want to be when I grow up”–51 and still undecided! I have HATED M-B from the get-go and even moreso those who insist on following it like it’s the Bible, Torah, Koran, or whatever… NONE of the 16 types sound like me! Hell, after all this I actually give more credibility to astrology than Myers-Briggs! This “ambivert” article is the first thing even remotely related to the whole subject that I felt included someone like me! Until now, I just sort of explained myself as a “hybrid species” of the DNA of my in-your-face extroverted father and lurking-behind-the-scenes but ever observant mother, with the ability to “sort of” understand both and therefore getting stuck in the role of family diplomat, which has been a crappy job but I guess somebody had to do it! So, to express my extroverted nature, it’s been great talking to you guys, but flipflopping back into introvert land, I gotta go think this over, LOL!

      • says

        Hello BBDee!

        Im happy to know you too have found solace in the discovery of Ambiverts. M B is quite flawed in my opinion, as I have mentioned before. People cannot under any circumstance be classified into one color or the other, we are all shades of different functions of the brain, none is all blue or all red, we are mixes of everything.

        If you want a more accurate reading of your personality I would suggest Big 5 Types as its used in academic psychology and offers you a percentage, rather than a label, of each of your functions.

        Astrology, read by the right person can also be surprisingly accurate in some ways, but thats left for another article and another thought.

        Thank you my Ambiverted sister, for sharing your frustration and joy of the pursuit of your personality type :)

        Sol

  13. Mark says

    I really enjoyed this article.. and most articles here on lonerwolf actually.. I never thought I would see someone as interested in personality types as me! haha. I’ve been taking many personality tests already because I really wanted to know my true personality but it always end up telling me that I have 50% this and 50% that, or have both qualities and such. so am i really an introvert or an extrovert?

    But i know for myself that I am only introverted when with intimidating people or if I just don’t know what to say or do in a particular situation but I also know that I am extroverted when I’m with my family, friends, or whenever I feel energized or excited. And most times these personalities of mine overlap one another! So I also believe that these tests are not entirely true in all aspects of me. So it really is safer to consider myself an ambivert. hehe.

    The test also showed that I am an extroverted ambivert. It’s safer to label myself that I guess. haha

    Thank you for this article. I really appreciate it. :)
    God bless!

    • Jo says

      I too am an ambivert with extrovert tendencies; really interesting as I’ve always described myself as an enigma. I really identified with Mark’s comment about questions about preferences ie party or book. The answer for me too is always contextual and can change by the minute. Made me feel quite normal lol

      • says

        Hello Mark and Jo!

        You both are right in finding it hard to label yourselves, anyone in fact is hard to label because we just dont fit in as neatly as we imagine into black or white, this is a grey world of a whole universe of different traits in people.

        In official academic papers, nobody uses introversion or extroversion as much as the Big 5 personality test, as it meassures levels of extroversion rather than whether you are or not an extrovert. If you want to find more accurate personality types, I encourage the Big 5 tests as they offer much more detailed scaling system of our main personality traits. :)

        Thank you both for sharing your opinions, its great to see such lively commenting on this subject.

        Sol

  14. Ida says

    I was reading the ‘about Sol’ section and I just need to know…is it Sherlock BBC or something else?(Eg. Elementary *sickface*)

    • says

      Hey Ida!

      Hahah, Ive watched both and although I find Elementary slightly amusing in its americanized of the characters, I was referring to the BBC of course, its pure genius! :D

  15. Julie says

    Completely enjoyed this article. And I must say it is a relief to realize I am not the only one who doesn’t fit in either the introvert or extrovert box. The section starting with “The notion of Ambiversion changed my life.” resonates with me. For many years I panicked when I had to fill out questionnaires and struggled with choosing from the provided answers. One day I finally had enough and added a choice I felt comfortable selecting. Since that day, I use this approach for all questionnaires. So using the example from your article “would you prefer to go to a party or read a book?”, my answer would be depends. You could of been reading my mind when you described your first thought.

    Thank You so much for educating me. I now have the correct answer for What personalilty type are you. answer: ambivert.

    • says

      Hey Julie!

      Thanks for sharing your experience, Im happy to welcome another proud Ambivert to the family.

      In truth, I feel there is a large amount of ambiverts out there but all to often we feel that because we dont fit into the social stereotype description of extroverts (which makes them all sound like a bunch of used car salesmen charlatans) we react and think to ourselves in the opposite way “well…I dont like socializing that much so I must be an introvert) but in fact its not the case.

      A healthy middle is they key to a balanced life, just like with diets where its advisable to have a little bit of everything in our diet, so to with our social personalities it applies.

      Glad you enjoyed to article and it helped you understand yourself more to find self-acceptance easier! :D

      Sol

    • BBDee says

      Hi Julie! Hey, how about going to a party attended by people who read books and discuss them? Perfect gathering for us ;) but pretty hard to find… People who go to book discussion group type gatherings usually don’t read the kind of books I would find interesting…so usually it’s a choice between gatherings of snooty pseudo-intellectuals who read boring stuff, and vapid loudmouths who haven’t read a book since 5th grade…sigh…

  16. says

    Your quiz on personality types was fascinating, When reading the article on the ambivert personality, I came across acronyms that I didn’t understand nor were explained. It was in the context of this sentence- Finally we can share on our Facebook and twitter pages that we’re “INFJ’s!”, “ISTP’s!!”, “ISFJ’s!!!” Thanks, Alice Heitland

    • says

      Hey Alice,

      Thank you for your comment :). Im joyful you find the quiz and articles fascinating and am blessed to have been able to be part of your discovery of what end of the personality spectrum you lean towards.

      When I speak of INTJ, or INFP, Im mentioning a few of the different personality types that exist in the MBTI or (Myers Briggs Personality Type Indicator). MBTI is a personality test that was developer with 16 different varieties of personality groups classfied by four main traits in our personality. We all fall under one of those groups like I am a INTP (Introvert Intuitive Thinker Perceiver). For more information visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myers-Briggs_Type_Indicator and if you would like to take a free mbti personality test, try http://mypersonality.info .

      Sol

  17. says

    I am glad I found this because ambiversion is what best fits me. I have a pet grooming business and have to work with people everyday. I also love to write poetry and go to live poetry readings where I have to get up in front of a crowd and read my poems. I can also find a lot of peace of mind and clear my thoughts when I spend time alone, whether at a park running or home reading a book. It is never boring to spend time by myself. Being able to shift gears and deal with inner or outer reality is something I am comfortable doing. I can go some place and not know anyone and create conversations with complete strangers. I never knew what it was called but now I know.

    • says

      Great post Bonnie! Im so happy you posted your comment as it goes to show all the other ambiverts, that being an ambivert is something to cherish. We dont get all the glam and reaction as our extreme cousins (Extroverts and Introverts) do but we however get to live a very balanced life, with the best of both worlds.

      Theres not much point in specializing in anything, even being an introvert or extrovert as being so well endowed in certain areas (like extroverts with socializing) comes at the cost of lacking in other ones, a happy middle ground is the best thing to achieve!

      Thanks for your comment :)

  18. harry_oconnor says

    Recently I was REALLY low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money on the internet. I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills!! I’m so glad, I did this.. – p17o

  19. Eric says

    A refreshing read. I have always hated the introvert/extrovert classification. I am definitely one of those people that shifts back and forth. At one point I held an office job that required analytical thinking while also working as a nightclub promoter. I was able to do both jobs and easily slide my persona to match the given context. I prefer not to be alone, but I am equally able to spend time on my own writing and working on personal projects.

    • SolW0lf says

      Thanks Eric! you´re a brilliant example of the problem with the classification of the introvert extrovert dichotomy. The main problem with this personality typing system is that by being included in one group, you´re automatically excluded from the other, which is just not the case in humans as we all have a bit of everything to different degrees.

      This is exactly the reason why in academic psychology they don´t use the MBTI persinality types as they are ineffective to accurately meassure a personality, but instead, the use the Big Five test of traits (openness, concienciousness, extroversion, agreeableness and neuroticism all in different quantities but none grouping you in one side or the other).

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Eric :)

  20. Anita McClellan says

    Thank you for this, I have always wondered how I am introverted but also confident in social situations, I don’t enjoy parties very much but that’s mainly because I’m not interested in the conversation not because I am unconfident. You can’t shut me up if I’m enjoying the conversation… Nice one! Proud Ambivert :)

  21. says

    Thanks for the great article! I’ve been really confused about MBTI because the % of my E and I keep wavering and they’re always on the brink. I’ve variously gotten ENFP/INFP and it’s hard to see myself as fitting into either category. Glad you discussed the Ambivert as I’ve always identified as one, and you’re right – a lot of things are situation-dependent.

    • SolW0lf says

      Hey Rachel!,

      That’s exactly the problem I was trying to address with this article. It all comes down to degrees of E or I. It’s human nature to find appeal in labeling yourself one or the other in anything, from political parties to personality types. But the truth is that there’s no one label that can encapsulate us, our ideas or beliefs entirely. It’s all contextual to the moment of time. :)

      • BBDee says

        Right on SolWolf! I not only have a problem with the “introvert vs. extrovert” thing because I am both, depending on the situation, but also some of the other “either/or” things MBTI tries to pigeonhole us into. All these aspects of ourselves are situational. Another one I have issues with is “Judging vs. Perceiving.” The first time I ever took it was in college, from a career counselor, because I was struggling with what to major in (I changed majors 3X in college). I tested out as an ENFP. I actually worked for a while in one of the areas recommended for ENFP’s (retail management) and LOATHED it!!! 15 years later I ran across MBTI again in a job situation. My boss was really into personality tests and how to better “facilitate” and relate to those she supervised, a prototype ENFP if ever there was one! Taking the test this time around I came out ENFJ. I think the nature of that job had a lot to do with it. It was very “project’ oriented vs. having a set routine of daily tasks, nothing was very well defined, and I had to sort of invent my own projects as I went along. I think this situation made me long for more structure and definition, hence the “J” for judging. A few years after that, I was considering grad school and again unsure what major to pursue, so the career counseling sites led me back to good ol’ MBTI yet again. At the time I was working at a very different type of job, a horror of repetitive routine, petty rules and micro-managing policy wonks. I think I longed for some kind of intellectual freedom or creativity in this situation as much as I had longed for structure and direction at the previous job, so I tested out “P” for Perception. So I guess I’m as much of an ambidextrous amphibian on that scale as I am on the I-E scale.

        Gotta check out that “Big 5″ you folks keep talking about!

        • says

          Thank you for sharing your experiences, your story is a perfect illustration of the danger of pigeonholing anyone. A great aspect of that danger is also the fact that we arent human beings, we are human becomings. We constantly change in life, we grow, we mature and enter new stages of our life and spiritual awakening. Some people might have been really introverted in their youth but as they grew older their Introversion become less marked, always of course abiding by the characteristics of introversion, but not necessarily as apparent. Same applies for Thinker and Feeler, I was more of a Thinker in my youth and as Ive grown and matured I have evolved more towards my Feeler side.

          It all comes down to this deep need of certainly, and fear of the unknown. These personality tests are a good starting point in your journey of self understanding but they turn into hindrances down the track as the more you learn about yourself and others the more you realize how complex we all are.

  22. Doug Schutze says

    I’ve taken the Meyer Briggs sorter, multiple ones at that, and the only ones I’ve ever received are INTJ and INTP. I try to be as objective as possible when taking it, but I think the fact that sometimes it’s INTP goes to show that my mood can make me see myself in a different light. And of course I take the stupid things with a grain or two of salt. They did help me out and what not, but now I just see myself as a human being with his own personal needs and drives.

    • SolW0lf says

      I think that’s exactly right Doug, it’s all about mood, about the frame of mind you’re in at the time. I also received an INTP type in one I took, and an INFJ. They are useful as crutches of self-acceptance, of self-discovery and understanding…training wheels in a way to feel that you fit in to a certain label, but it ends there.

      There’s no such thing as a “collective” group of people of any kind, label or make believe difference, we’re all individuals first and foremost, individuals that sometimes share things in common and get together trying to form a ‘generalized’ concept of how alike they are as a group in their beliefs and physical traits.

      Thanks for sharing Doug! :)

  23. says

    Great article. A refreshing reminder for us to keep our minds open. It’s so easy to lock into a workable system simply because it’s efficient and internally cohesive. That it might not correspond completely to reality is often forgotten in the rush of self-recognition and a need to belong to something greater than ourselves. We humans are too desperate for solid, workable explanations, and this trait of ours gets us into trouble time and again.

    About introversion and extroversion…I’m not sure where I am in there, though MBTI tests identify me as INFJ. I wish I didn’t get drained by group events and stimulation from my environment and my own mind as it seeks information and insights, but I do. I enjoy many of these activities, especially when the people or topics interest me, but alas, I’ve learned the hard way I must partake sparingly or risk exhaustion.

    I wonder if the introversion/extroversion spectrum is also influenced by biorhythms, time of day, and overall physical and emotional health? I don’t see why not.

    I know plenty of introverts who are not necessarily enlightened or insightful. I think this may have to do with how dominant and in what direction their intuition “faces,” so to speak. E.g., whether it’s Ni or Ne–another systematic way of looking at it. I must beware!–and where these manifest in a person’s “functional stack.”  There’s a great exploration of these concepts on the Personality Junkie website. Take it all, including this comment, with a grain of salt. I’m totally b.s.ing, mainlining my intuition. My intuition made me do it, and it may or may not be in touch with reality.

    • SolW0lf says

      There’s some fascinating psychology behind the desire to be apart of something grater than oneself. It makes us feel special identifying ourselves with ‘collectives’ be in psychological, sports fanatical or in many cases religious. 

      Perhaps your dominant functions of curiosity and activity are introverted, which explains your over stimulation easily, but your interest in meeting people are extroverted? I on the other hand am the opposite. Socializing and large events don’t tire me, I am curious about many things, but my desire to meet people is far more introverted, for I often find them annoying. Sometimes I’d wish they could just resume everything they have to say in a short biography as I think people are forced to summarize the most important aspect of their lives and thoughts into them. Perhaps too practically minded?

      Thats another factor I also was thinking about. Moods of the day are very whisical, as are our personalities. They are constantly evolving with us, with our self knowledge and with our life experience. I’ve witnessed all to often people claiming they were once INFJ’s only to discover down the track their dominant feeling side changed their I’s into E’s which was originally how Jung intended it to be. It’s nice to think everything is predictable and neat into a type, but humans are far more complex than that. I’ve also hear some claim their over-stimulative natures was changed with hypnosis. 

      Your intuition will be held entirely responsible, dont you worry. That’s what I plan to blame when I’m being trialed for a crime. Texting random numbers when I’m bored to troll them: “ok they’re dead, what do I do with the body?” will eventually backfire :S.

      • says

        I’m enjoying this discussion. Yes, I think your insight about the ever-changing flux of moods could apply to all aspects of identity and reality. There’s a lot more chaos and formlessness out there and in here than feels comfortable for this little human ego. I’ll latch onto almost anything–even these words and concepts–so as not to drown.

        • SolW0lf says

          There’s a reason I believe, or interpret at least, why the many great sages throughout history spoke negatively of idolizing. From Buddha asking not to be idolized when he died, to Christianities interpretation of idolizing false “Gods”.

          Words in a way are God’s, in that they have been the way people have understood God’s wishes down the times in any religion. To cling to anything, to latch on to any labeling, belief, dogma or philosophy, is to crave the comfort that comes from idolizing. Clinging creates stagnancy, as we as individuals are a dynamic flux constantly, what we like one day we dont the next, in order to discover and explore yourself at any given present moment, the one requirement is that you don’t have any preconceived ideas of who you are already (which is what idolizing or clinging to certain words, labels or beliefs does).

          Agreed, discussions are much substance for ones mental chemicals. Whenever I want to contemplate on the meaningful topics of life, I stare deeply into my dogs eyes while his taking a poop and see the depths of his shame. :)

          • says

            Introversion and extraversion originally were about a person’s level of expressiveness, or the quickness of their “response”-time. It can also be seen in terms of how quickly one is likely to approach others for interaction.
            To Jung, it was initially about the stimulatability of a person. Their dominant function would be oriented toward the preferred inner or outer world. Later on, he did make it more about the dominant function’s orientation.

            If we go back to looking at the scale in terms of expressiveness instead of a hard either/or dichotomy, then it’s easy to see most people as inbetween in varying degrees somewhere. The MBTI dichotomy is just telling you which side they happen to edge out on, and that’s presumed to be enough to orient their function one way or the other.

      • BBDee says

        So, Jung thought the “normal” progression was to “evolve” from I to E, did he? Well, what about those of us who were much more extroverted when we were younger, but after being badly burned by many frienemies, lost our capacity to trust others and therefore decided to cultivate what that song talks about, “The Greatest Love of All”?