The Myth About Introverts & Extroverts–Could You Be an Ambivert?

Actual photo of Kristen in high school (Image via Flikr Creative Commons wwarby)

Actual photo of Kristen in high school (Image via Flikr Creative Commons wwarby)

As humans we tend to think in very black and white terms, but as writers and artists, we are wise to remember that people have many dimensions. What we see is not necessarily true, especially when it comes to labeling others as “introvert” or “extrovert.”

What Does It REALLY Mean to Be an Extrovert or Introvert?

Introversion and extroversion are commonly misunderstood. Just because someone is shy, doesn’t mean she’s an introvert. Someone who is bubbly, gregarious and the life of the party can, in reality, be an introvert. The difference between introverts and extroverts is simply this:

Where do we gain or lose energy?

Introverts are drained by people and need alone time to recharge.

Extroverts are drained by too much time alone. They need human interaction to recharge.

Meet the Ambivert

Many people fall into what is called an ambivert, meaning they exhibit traits of both. If you want to learn if you might be an ambivert, there’s a cool test here.

People who read this blog and who meet me all believe that I am the very definition of extrovert, yet that’s far from the case. As a child, I had to be made to go play with others. I was very happy alone in my room reading, drawing and copying articles out of my set of encyclopedias.

I was frequently chastised for bringing a book to family events and made to interact with others. Yet, when I did, I was the life of the party. I was fascinated by standup comedy and, being blessed with an eidetic memory, I could perform the standup routines of all the famous comics, down to facial expressions, timing and gestures. My family was particularly fond of my freakishly accurate impersonation of Sinbad.

Yes, Kristen was the precursor to the DVD.

In school, I didn’t want to play at recess. I wanted to read and draw unicorns.  But I loved debate and speaking in public. When it came to presenting, I had no fear and, again, I was funny. Being funny helped when you changed schools every six months. BUT, in high school I was shy to the point of probably needing medication. The stage was far less terrifying than the lunchroom.

Before I was married, I would go shopping at two in the morning, because I couldn’t take the crowds. To this day, I don’t like concerts, amusement parks, crowded clubs, conventions, big parties or sports events. I love attending writing conferences because I love writers, love teaching and presenting and I DO love people…but when I get home, I practically slip into a coma.

As much as I LOVE people, as much as I adore a crowd and making them laugh…they exhaust me.

I work from home and, if I never had to leave, I would be okay…so long as I had Internet connection. One of the things I love about social media, is it allows me to interact, connect, chat, entertain…but at my pace. It keeps me from flatlining myself.

I’ve had to learn from bad experiences that I need to pace myself at conferences if I want to maintain that powerful, positive energy.

The Myth of the Extrovert

There is another common misunderstanding about the whole extrovert thing, and it’s done a LOT of damage in the corporate world (and when it comes to author platforms for selling books).

Companies spend all this time shoving introverts into being extroverts. They hire mega-extroverts for sales, and yet mega-extroverts are some of the WORST salespeople. I witnessed this back when I was in sales, myself.

I recall sitting at a table with a customer and a mega-extrovert salesperson. The mega-extrovert was so busy talking and being entertaining, that he never SHUT UP long enough to listen. He didn’t stop and ask the right questions. In fact, he didn’t ask ANY questions.

That’s a problem.

One time, I was at an annual marketing meeting and the company was putting  together the agenda for the next year. They kept going on and on about price, and how we needed to be cheaper. I was brand new, but bold.

I raised my hand and asked, “Has anyone asked our customers if this is what THEY want? Is price the biggest factor?” The table sat in stunned silence. Then I recommended we brainstorm twenty areas where we could serve the customer better and then get them to take the survey.

Price came in a #4.

Customers actually wanted faster lead times. Our product was the type of inventory the customers never thought about…until they ran out. A better plan was to rent cheap warehouses in the areas near our major clients and stock them with the most common sizes ordered. Then we could have offered same-day or next-day delivery….which the company refused to do and still focused on price and lost a crap-load of business and it’s a sore subject with me.

Why did they do this? The mega-extroverted marketing and salespeople controlled the agenda, and they were lousy listeners.

We All Have Strengths and Weaknesses

This isn’t to pick on mega-extroverts. All personalities have strengths and weaknesses. As an ambivert, I do have some mega-extrovert tendencies. I’ve had to TRAIN myself to be a better listener and to ask others about themselves…instead of making them laugh with my Sinbad impersonations.

Awareness is Key

The point of all of this is we need to be self-aware so we can focus on strengths and buttress weaknesses. It is good for the introverts to get out. Too much alone time with the imaginary friends makes us a bit weird…ok, weirder.

Social media can be very beneficial for introverts. It forces us out of the comfort zone and we can interact at a pace that doesn’t put us in a coma. Extroverts? You get to practice willpower and self-discipline, to shut up, get off Twitter and get back to work.

Ambiverts? We get to do both *head desk*

No Excuses

But the good news is this. This notion that mega-extroverted salesperson is the most effective salesperson? PURE MYTH. This is one major misconception that TERRIFIES most writers into being afraid of social media or makes some writers try to change their personalities….which is just weird and kinda creepy. Be YOU. YOU is awesome :D.

Don’t drink the Kool-Aid.

Here’s an article that displaces the myth that mega-extroverts are the best salespeople, and explains why it’s actually ambiverts who hold the advantage.

Talk to people, listen, ask questions, and let them talk. Be authentic and kind. We don’t have to be super entertaining all the time. Really ;).

For those curious, THIS was my family’s favorite among my vast comedic repertoire:

So what about you? Are you and extrovert? An introvert? Shy? Do you feel misunderstood because you’re a shy extrovert or a people-loving introvert? Do you think you might be an ambivert? Take the test and let us know!

I LOVE hearing from you guys!

To prove it and show my love, for the month of April, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.

I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novelor your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).

And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.

At the end of April I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!

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  1. #1 by Jennifer writingsofamrs on April 23, 2013 - 10:42 am

    Clever lady.
    I enjoyed reading this post.
    Well done.
    Jennifer

  2. #2 by Wendy Reis Editing on April 23, 2013 - 10:45 am

    Reblogged this on Wendy Reis Editing (Blog) and commented:
    This is fantastic clarification. I have had people laugh when I tell them I am an introvert because they know me to be ‘exuberant’. I am, however, an introvert, and I come home from events where I have been exuberant utterly drained and hoping I don’t have to deal with anybody for days.

  3. #3 by Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) on April 23, 2013 - 10:46 am

    I married an introvert who functions very, very well in the extroverted world. I have only ever seriously dated introverts. I test extremely strong on the extroversion scale, though I’ve learned to love alone time. My 8yo son is also an introvert. Some recesses (maybe 20%) he just wants to play alone. He’s not lonely. He just needs to recharge; school is a very extroverted institution. His teachers often misunderstand.

    Have you read The Quiet Book?

    Thanks for the great post.

    • #4 by Leanne Shirtliffe (Ironic Mom) on April 23, 2013 - 11:08 am

      Oops. It’s called Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking (Susan Cain)

      • #5 by Shawn M on April 23, 2013 - 8:47 pm

        I grew up introverted. I was in a new neighborhood and school every year, and it suited my personality. Not lonely, just prefer to keep to myself. Now, Kristen considers herself introverted, but i can tell you im the introvert in the relationship. Lol

  4. #6 by Heather Wright on April 23, 2013 - 10:52 am

    I’m a bit of both, I guess. I definitely get my energy from alone time, but I can be very funny in front of a class/group and frankly haven’t a clue where that suddenly comes from. I hated public speaking in grade school, but now it doesn’t bother me. However, when I get home from a presentation/conference/workshop, I definitely need time to synthesize and recover. My son is a lot like me, which means we can both see the warning signs when he needs time to fall back and regroup. Thanks for the great post.

  5. #7 by Dawn Chartier on April 23, 2013 - 10:56 am

    Took the test, and I’m a ambivert too… I kinda figured that when you were describing what that meant in your post. :-)

  6. #8 by Misty Dietz on April 23, 2013 - 10:58 am

    LOL! That Sinbad clip was hilarious. Oh, yes, I can soooo relate (except I’m no stand-up comic. lol)! I just took the test – AMBIVERT – though after reading your post, I already knew I would be. I love being with people, and yet I also love being (and need time to be) alone. I never knew there was a label for this so yay! When people tell me they’re bored, I’m dumbfounded because I can’t possibly imagine it. Alone or in a crowd, I’m always at home. You always have such interesting topics, Kristen. :)

  7. #9 by Kim on April 23, 2013 - 11:01 am

    I’m an introvert all the way. I can do extroverted things, like speak in front of people or lead meetings, but it drains all the life out of me. If I teach for 2 hours it takes me all day to recover. I hate small talk, so when I’m in groups I’m always the one sitting listening. However, if you can introduce a topic I’m interested in, I’ll get excited and talk. The book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts was an excellent book!

    My introversion makes it very difficult for me to embrace this new way of being an author. I’m uncomfortable with the idea of selling myself, putting myself out there into the public eye, and all that. Even writing a blog and putting my thoughts out there on a regular basis is difficult for me. I want to be able to write and hide my self.

    • #10 by Linda M Au on April 23, 2013 - 11:06 am

      I see we read the same book, Kim. Although I suspected I was an introvert, her short quiz in the front of the book astounded me. I think I answered 17 of the 20 questions as an introvert would … yet few people who know me would label me an introvert (because I talk too much …probably a self-defense mechanism or something). GREAT book!

      Also, I don’t mind marketing myself online — again, I can do it from the quiet of my home — but make me lead a board meeting or speak at a conference, and I’m having a rosacea breakout and hiding away afterwards to decompress.

  8. #11 by Linda M Au on April 23, 2013 - 11:03 am

    This has been my BIG cause in the past year! I discovered Susan Cain’s book QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking … and it had me in tears because FINALLY someone understood me. Folks also think I’m an extrovert — I can have a blast with family and friends and be overly chatty… but I NEED to go home and decompress or I’ll start weeping. (Well, kind of.)

    You are saying exactly what Cain says in her book, and she’s got a ton of research to back her up. It’s an incredible book.

    And I found this link just an HOUR ago (coincidentally, honest) of her speaking about her findings: http://www.wimp.com/introvertspower/ … It’s a little long (19 minutes), but it had me in tears in spots. Things I wish I had known about myself back in high school when I’d come home from school (where I was popular enough) and turn into what my family called a hermit as I hid in my room with my headphones on every evening.

    THANK YOU.

  9. #12 by Lanette Kauten on April 23, 2013 - 11:05 am

    I’m an introvert. Even the test confirms it– not a surprise for me. However, at least for me, being an introvert is not my biggest problem. Growing up, I was that weird kid who never talked and when I did, I said bizarre things that had little to do with the conversation. People would give me strange looks and walk away. I was also that strange kid who sat in history class and peeled paint off the wall. I couldn’t tell if someone was being nice or making fun of me, and I hated being naive. And then of course, there’s the cliche about being picked last for everything because I had little coordination. If I was born 20 years later, I would have been diagnosed with Aspergers or even hyperlexia (a form of Aspergers in which we start teach ourselves to read at 4 and even 3). Thankfully, the diagnosis didn’t exist in this country at the time, yet I somehow knew I was different.

    In high school, my mom laid out a book on reading body language. I’m not sure, but I think she left it on the coffee table as a hint. Whether it was or not, I scanned it and picked up some useful hints. Later in college, I was determined to learn how to get along with others and started mimicking their actions, manners of speaking, and their sense of humor. I’m still odd according to societal standards, and I’m still learning to make adjustments in my behaviors to suit the norms, but I’ve learned how to read people, and I’ve spent years learning how to deepen my writing to connect with readers since I still have a hard time learning to connect with others.

    Anyway, as I said, the problem is not the introversion; it goes much deeper than that.

  10. #13 by Denise McInerney on April 23, 2013 - 11:08 am

    I took the test and apparently I’m an ambivert. “The stage was far less terrifying than the lunchroom” is so true and always has been. I can “hide” up on stage. And give a high-energy, funny workshop, feeding off the energy and positive vibes generated by the group–then go back to my room, drained until my batteries recharge. I admit to some anxiety, actively participating in social media, which I find both energizing and a tad intimidating at the same time. Another great post, Kristen!

  11. #14 by Jennifer's Journal on April 23, 2013 - 11:14 am

    The test tells me I’m an ambivert, but I truly believe I lean toward introversion. Being around people can exhaust me, unless they are my close loved ones.

  12. #15 by Pamela Beason (@PamelaBeason) on April 23, 2013 - 11:14 am

    Love the photo of you in high school! I can definitely identify. As a small child I would cry if a stranger talked to me. And I still cannot imagine any woman wanting a big wedding with all eyes on the bride. But I am considered pretty funny in groups and I love to teach when I can interact with a class.

  13. #16 by kristin nador on April 23, 2013 - 11:23 am

    Great post, Kristen! I’m very introverted,(just wrote a blog post myself about it) but have trained myself to function fairly well in large groups of people. I definitely need re-charge time after any interaction. I literally feel drained physically, mentally, and emotionally from forcing myself to be ‘on’. Social media is a great way to work on connecting with people without having that drained feeling overwhelm you.

    Building my extrovert skills is not one of my favorite activities, but necessary since living alone in the woods and taking a vow of silence is not an option for me. (Darn!) My extreme extrovert hubby wouldn’t have anyone to jabber at all day. :) Will be reblogging this.

    • #17 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 23, 2013 - 12:52 pm

      My husband is a total introvert, but it doesn’t bother me that he says three words all day. Sometimes I only say two.

      …I type all the others, LOL.

  14. #18 by Susan Finlay on April 23, 2013 - 11:27 am

    Great post! I read it and then sent a link to my daughter. She’s a psychology major at a university. She is well-versed in personality-types and studies the Myers-Briggs tests and Enneagram tests. She told me she thought I was an ambivert. I took the test on the link here, and it agreed. Ambivert.

    My daughter says this about your blog: This is a very well done blog post. Her explanation of introversion and extroversion is accurate.

    • #19 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 23, 2013 - 12:51 pm

      YAY! So I get to keep my certificate as Arm-Chair Psychologist? LOL. Whenever I took the Meyer-s Brigg I always tested DEAD EVEN as an ENFP/INFP. I was almost 50/50 on introversion versus extroversion. So I just believed what people said, that I was an extrovert because of my personality…but that just became a train wreck because I didn’t appreciate my introversive nature that needed alone time.

      • #20 by Susan Finlay on April 23, 2013 - 3:28 pm

        My daughter told me I’m an ISFJ, and then showed me the description of that type online. It was me. I didn’t even have to take the Myers-Briggs test.

  15. #21 by K.B. Owen on April 23, 2013 - 11:28 am

    Holy crap, Kristen! I can’t believe you just pointed me to something I never knew about myself. I took the test, and I’m an ambivert. Well, there’s a shocker. I always thought I was an introvert, but then other stuff didn’t make sense, like wanting to be around other people (small groups, not mega-crowds), and then there was all those years of college teaching…but since I tend to re-charge when I’m by myself, I figured that made me an introvert. I’d go nuts being alone all the time, though, LOL. Thank goodness for social media.

    Wish I could go to one of these writer conferences and meet you! That would be super-cool, and maybe the conference wouldn’t seem so intimidating. One of these days… :D

    Thanks,
    Kathy

  16. #22 by renée a. schuls-jacobson on April 23, 2013 - 11:28 am

    From one ambivert to another? I see you.

  17. #23 by pflead73 on April 23, 2013 - 11:29 am

    It’s a big pain for the introverts when they are forced to become an extrovert. It’s like changing a lefty child into a right handed person.

  18. #24 by kristin nador on April 23, 2013 - 11:30 am

    Reblogged this on kristin nador writes anywhere and commented:
    Kristen Lamb expounds, as only she can, on the idea that being an introvert or extrovert is a spectrum, and not a black-and-white one or the other trait. Are you an ambivert? Read her entertaining post to find out…

  19. #25 by katemsparkes on April 23, 2013 - 11:31 am

    The test says I’m an ambivert. I thought I would be based on what you said, but most tests label me as a pronounced introvert.

    I feel like I’m a different person online from in real life. When I’m writing my blog or commenting on something, I can take time to organize my thoughts and read over things to make sure they make sense. In real life I tend to stay quiet and stumble over my words because I haven’t had a chance to organize them. I do tend to come out of my shell with friends, but it takes a long time, and this makes it hard to make real-life friends. I love getting responses to my blog, I’m fine speaking in front of a crowd if I’ve had time to prepare (and I was in plays in high school), but smaller groups of people (like parties) freak me out. And I definitely get my energy from being alone!

    • #26 by Linda M Au on April 23, 2013 - 11:38 am

      Nothing against Kristen’s original post, but that test labeled me an ambivert too … but only because I did not like the way some of the questions were worded. (That changes a lot.) I know how I am, and I also like Cain’s explanation of why some introverts can seem extroverted: We’ve been trained to mimic extroverts our whole lives, for one thing. Plus, with people we trust, the introversion can seem minimal because we love people… we just need to recharge differently than extroverts do.

      Anyway, I’ve lived to mask the introversion since I have to lead groups once in a while, and I do fine, but it is always a complete drain. I’ve learned to schedule alone-time at the end of every single day, as a precaution.

      • #27 by Linda M Au on April 23, 2013 - 11:39 am

        My point is that Cain’s quiz showed me to be what I know I am: extremely introverted. I think this is a matter of slightly different definitions. Daniel Pink is selling a book about ambiverts, and I suspect his test might skew a bit in that direction. Still, ambiversion definitely explains a LOT of my friends perfectly. Just not me.

      • #28 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 23, 2013 - 12:48 pm

        Well, I was looking for a quick test that didn’t make you sign up for something to get your results, LOL. I agree. We do have to take all that stuff with a grain of salt. I have a big problem with how our society has demonized introverts as weirdos who can’t interact and have bodies stashed under the porch.

        I only have ONE body :D.

        Schools do force extroversion and it’s idolized to the point of lunacy and I feel its a big reason we as a culture are suffering…but that’s another post. Shutting up now.

  20. #29 by joeharwell on April 23, 2013 - 11:39 am

    My belly button is an “innie”. My personality is an “outie”.

  21. #30 by Megan Cashman on April 23, 2013 - 11:42 am

    I took the test, and sure enough – I’m an ambivert. I was never overly social, and never a complete wallflower. So it’s good to know where I stand.

  22. #31 by tarak1105 on April 23, 2013 - 11:44 am

    Reblogged this on Tara Kingston and commented:
    I found this article by Kristen Lamb fascinating…I am definitely an ambivert. I love to socialize, but I also need quiet time to recharge after social gatherings. It’s my guess that many writers fit this description.

  23. #32 by jkmikals on April 23, 2013 - 11:45 am

    I, too, am an ambivert. Although I’m great at presenting and not afraid of the stage, the entire system often locks up when I have to talk with strangers – unless I pretend I’m doing improv! And social media has been a real hurdle because I identified it with talking to strangers until… I read your book! (Adore the cover, BTW.) So now I am in presenter mode and, royal We here, “We Are Not Alone.” I want that critique you mentioned, so watch for a pingback from http://www.jkmikals.blogspot.com sometime in the near future. Great post, Kristin!

  24. #33 by morgynstarz on April 23, 2013 - 11:46 am

    Hey, Kristen, so, so get the high school thing. Me too! Life got way better when they rounded up thirteen of us (hum, odd number) and plunked the group down on a gifted & talented fast track. Can you imagine, 13 students to a teacher? So we became our own cool group, super-nerds. I started doing things like trying out for theater, (ghost of Christmas Past anyone, LOL.) Could be your “routines” gave you the “breakout” mode to become an ambivert. (Another me too.) Then in college, found I had a taste for the bloody art of debate and ended up as captain of our winning team. Thank you, HS guidance or whoever decided to break us out of the mainstream and give us the meat it took to let our minds grow and reach!

  25. #34 by jennifer on April 23, 2013 - 11:47 am

    Yes, Yes! This is me exactly. I first heard the word “ambivert” a few months ago when I read Quiet. In college I “tested” out as an I on my Myers-Briggs stuff but now I’m an “E” but it’s right close to the line.

  26. #35 by Satin Sheet Diva on April 23, 2013 - 11:51 am

    Took the test and I am an ambivert. No big surprise, particularly as I’ve stepped up my network / marketing by not only setting a sales goal for my four books, but also by signing up with one of the many in home shopping businesses. I’m finding it fairly easy to (force myself) to go to events, or talk about my books / business to new people, but too many events back to back, and I have to hibernate for a couple of days. lol…

  27. #36 by angelicarjackson on April 23, 2013 - 11:51 am

    So true! I’m much more terrified of being stuck in living room with one stranger than speaking to a gym full of kids.

  28. #37 by annfoweraker on April 23, 2013 - 11:54 am

    Ok, so the test says I’m Ambivert… but perhaps that is what I have taught myself to be.
    I’m naturally very shy, but get over it by ‘wearing hats’. If I can hide inside a role I can be as extrovert as anyone. I was a teacher – loved it – I can talk to any size group when I’m ‘being a teacher’. Same applies to heading up local groups which I have done happily. Even in my choice of hobbies – belly dancing, border morris dancing – I can perform as I am hiding in the ‘costume’! When in situations where I can not hide under a ‘hat’ or ‘costume’ such as at a party with a group of people I know, I tend to go quiet and listen a lot, but with new people you can hardly shut me up as I push myself past the shyness barrier so as not to be seen as shy! …. and of course, I am a ,and a reader, and quite happy to be alone with my thoughts. Interesting blog again Kristen – thank you!

  29. #38 by Rebekkah N. on April 23, 2013 - 12:04 pm

    I just always called myself an “extroverted introvert.” It summed it up quite nicely–I’m an introvert who exhibits many of the traits of a stereotypical extrovert in addition to the introvert ones. Definitely have to have alone time at the end of the day, though, or I wear out completely. Amusingly, my roommate’s an “introverted extrovert.” She gets her energy from being around people, but is actually rather shy. We both prefer the same types of hangouts: small, intimate board game nights or dinners with a few good friends.

  30. #39 by Barbara on April 23, 2013 - 12:15 pm

    Love this post. I recently read about the study on extroverts not being the best sales people. I knew that years ago when I was in sales. Everyone told me I was extroverted, often because of my experience in sales, but I knew better. I am definitely an ambivert.

    I have a funny story about Sinbad to share with you…
    I used to rep comedians and help set-up comedy nights in clubs, back in the ’90′s. My son wanted to do stand-up and some of the guys I worked with helped him get started.He did well and toured the college circuit for several years.

    After not seeing him work for a while we went to see him at a hotel in Pittsburgh that had a comedy cabaret night. In the middle of his routine there was a lot of buzz in the audience and we looked up to see Sinbad had walked in the room. My son stopped his routine and said, “Dude! I’m trying to do a show here…what the??” They both laughed and Sinbad ducked out.

    There was a note for my son at the front desk from Sinbad. He wrote, “Dude! great recovery! Keep killin’.”
    I think my son framed it!
    b

  31. #40 by Ellen M. Gregg on April 23, 2013 - 12:18 pm

    Well, what do you know? I took the assessment, and I’m an ambivert. This is the first time I heard the term, but I guessed that would be the case. I’ve often called myself an introverted extrovert or an extroverted introvert. :-)

  32. #41 by Laurie on April 23, 2013 - 12:20 pm

    “I love attending writing conferences because I love writers, love teaching and presenting and I DO love people…but when I get home, I practically slip into a coma.”

    This is me. I’m an introvert. I’m going to a writing conference this weekend, and part of my prep work is mentally preparing myself to be around large crowds for long period of time. I know it’s good for me, but I’ll be toast when I get home. When I get home Sunday, I will go to bed. And there I will stay for most of the week, lol. (Good thing I’m “only a writer” and “don’t have a real job”, as people say! *snort*.) The child is in school next week, so I’ll be able to rest. In between loads of laundry. I’ll still write, but I’ll do it from bed. In my jammies. In the quiet. I can run my world from my laptop.

  33. #43 by corajramos on April 23, 2013 - 12:27 pm

    Oh, Kristen, you’ve gone and done it again. I’ve been slipping and sliding along thinking I was an introvert, only to realize I’m something called an ambivert. I’d never heard of this before. Now I have to rethink who I am and how I see myself. Thanks a bunch (she says sarcastically).

  34. #44 by Kira Lyn Blue on April 23, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    Wow. This is really fascinating. I always thought I was an introvert, but your experiences practically mirror mine. Public speaking or teaching? I’m in. Most social settings give me the heebie-jeebies, though. I’d rather wrestle a crocodile than attempt mingling at a cocktail party. So, I still think I have a higher tendency towards introversion, but I did test as am ambivert.

  35. #45 by Michele Drier on April 23, 2013 - 12:54 pm

    Wow, I’m an ambivert, something I’d never heard about! Interestingly enough, most of the writers commenting are ambiverts, also. Maybe instead of sales, someone should look into why writers are ambiverts..or maybe why ambiverts chose writing as a career.
    Great post, Kristen, thanks.

  36. #46 by Dennis Langley on April 23, 2013 - 1:03 pm

    Ambivert. Many of the questions could be answered as depends on the situation. Myers/Briggs says I’m and Introvert. Bottom line is, I have worked as a corporate trainer and a magician. However, I truly love to sit in my boat and fish alone all day.

  37. #47 by Carol Newquist on April 23, 2013 - 1:03 pm

    I’m not quite sure what I am, but I have been called an asshole on any number of occasions, so maybe I’m that. I suppose it depends on who you ask. I pissed my family of origin off so bad one time, they said “quit terrorizing this family, Osama. Go back to your cave and leave us all alone to heal.” On the other hand, I’m fairly active and an avid exerciser. There’s a guy in the neighborhood who says I’m an inspiration to him every time he sees me out running or riding my bike.

    So, I’m a terrorist, an asshole and an inspiration…and so much more, I’m sure.

    • #48 by Lanette Kauten on April 23, 2013 - 2:15 pm

      We’re all so much more.

  38. #49 by Mae Clair on April 23, 2013 - 1:05 pm

    Well, I thought I was an introvert but after reading your post and taking the test, it turns out I’m an ambivert. That was quite an eye-opener, although it probably explains why I enjoy connecting with people–just not being surrounded by them in large groups. Thanks for an enlightening post!

  39. #50 by Carol Newquist on April 23, 2013 - 1:06 pm

    Also, is it just me, or does Ambivert sound like a new pharmaceutical? Something for terrorist assholes to take, perhaps, to make them more inspirational.

  40. #51 by martiverlander on April 23, 2013 - 1:08 pm

    I’ve been thinking of myself–traditionally an introvert–and moving farther toward the extravert end of the scale, as I become more comfortable interacting with crowds where I know at least some of the folks. No surprise that this quiz showed me as an ambivert! I was MBTI-certified at one point; at that time in my life, my most definite MBTI characteristic was introversion, but I’d bet that if I tested again today I’m still be introvert, but very close to the extravert line. For anyone curious, I’m definitely an INTJ (introverted/intuitive/thinking/judging).

  41. #52 by Rachael on April 23, 2013 - 1:15 pm

    I’ve become more of an ambivert over the years. I used to be able to make new friends in any social situtation. Even chatting up strangers in lines…just about everywhere. Now as I’m older, I’ve scaled back. I’m less needful of conversation. I prefer better quality to quantity. Thank you for this post it was very insightful! Sharing on Facebook.

  42. #53 by Kate Robbins on April 23, 2013 - 1:17 pm

    Ok see now I want MacDonalds. GAH! Great post! :)

    Those who meet me think I’m an extrovert. But according to your descriptions I’d be an outgoing introvert (crowds freak me out, but I love talking to strangers). Then I took your test and it turns out I’m ambivert. Well now, as if I didn’t have enough split personality going on between my real name (Debbie) and my pen name, now I don’t know what my personality is either. Identity crisis alert!

    Seriously great post, I really enjoyed it.

  43. #54 by David Erickson on April 23, 2013 - 1:23 pm

    I took the little test and I am an abivert. Didn’t even know that term existed. I can do well in a crowd after I’ve warmed up some. I can even speak before large groups, but I fear doing either.

  44. #55 by Mishael Austin Witty on April 23, 2013 - 1:30 pm

    I LOVE this! You have no idea how many times I’ve taken the Keirsey sorter/Myers Briggs test, and I ALMOST ALWAYS come out exactly 50/50 on the introvert/extravert scale. I’m always an NFP, but whether I’m an INFP or an ENFP, that’s apparently anybody’s guess. It must depend on the day.

    I didn’t even have to take the quiz to know that I would be an ambivert (although I did anyway – can’t resist a quiz!). I’m so glad I finally have a “name” for myself!! :-)

    • #56 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 23, 2013 - 1:39 pm

      I always scored dead even as INFP/ENFP, but also INFJ/ENFJ. I was dead even on introversion and extroversion and on decision-making. Explains why I am so confused, LOL. Happy you enjoyed the post. Was fun to write :D.

  45. #57 by Lora D on April 23, 2013 - 1:31 pm

    Oh my goodness!!!!! I just had an extremely lengthy FB post with one of my best friends on how you can tell if you’re and introvert or extrovert. I asked her advice, since she’s extremely wise (and posted the cute comic that started the conversation–it was how to understand introverts). I told her that NO test was consistent in defining me: even professional tests I was forced to take for business jobs. So she asked me a few questions with the obvious indicators. My answer was always “it depends.”

    EX: Are you energized by being around people? For me: it depends. If I’m close to them & we know each other well, YES!! I’m totally gregarious, usually last to leave, and when I do leave, I am 10x more energized than I came. However, if it’s a social event where I don’t know most of the people, a work meeting, or a group I’m not comfortable with: I completely withdraw, I don’t speak, I get drained to the point of ignoring everything except desperately figuring out how to get out. BUT…I love being a teacher! I have been in front of huge groups of people (I taught at a community college for a while), and was totally outgoing, energetic, enthusiastic, went out of my way to learn every single person’s name–and made sure that I called on or communicated with every single person regularly. I was completely energized by connecting with each person & helping them learn/succeed.

    After my FB friend & I went thru several scenarios, she said: “Maybe you’re an amibivert.” I said, “A what??” After she explained the little she knew about it, I said, “THAT sounds like me.” Not even a week later–your blog came out about ambiverts!! Wow. I took the test, and not surprisingly, I am definitely am Ambivert. :-)

    Thank you for being so relevant! (And I *totally* relate to the immense frustration of suggesting the best solutions to problems at work, having them shot down, and then it’s my job to clean up the mess. HATE that. I feel better knowing I’m not the only one. I’m going to get the book, too–maybe pass it to my boss…)

    Love your blogs! (I was directed to you by Sibella. :-)

    I’m going to forward my newfound info to all the people who can never figure me out! ;-)

  46. #58 by katewyland on April 23, 2013 - 2:04 pm

    First time I’ve ever tried to re-blog. Hope I did it right.
    I’m like you. I can get up an do a presentation or performance, but have more trouble one-on-one. Guess I’m an ambivert too.

  47. #59 by Christine Adler on April 23, 2013 - 2:08 pm

    Kristen, once again you described my personality dead on. I have recently been wondering if one of the reasons writing my novel is going so slooooowly is because deep down, I fear having to become a ‘brand’ and ‘sell myself’ to the public at large, speak in large groups, etc. The test says I’m an ambivert too, and I feel so much better knowing I’m not the only one who feels this way! Thank you for all of your great posts.

  48. #60 by KarlaAkins on April 23, 2013 - 2:17 pm

    This is me to a T. Reading this blog I thought I was reading about myself as a child. I always wondered about why it was I enjoy being by myself and doing my projects alone and yet can get up and speak to a crowd, teach, and entertain (I’m a musician, too, besides a writer and speaker). I took the test and I’m definitely an Ambivert! Thanks for this insightful post.

  49. #61 by laurie27wsmith on April 23, 2013 - 2:57 pm

    I’ll have to put my hand up, I’m now officially an ambivert. We live in seclusion, back in the hills and I love it, yet in front of a crowd I can wing it like a pro. Great blog.
    Laurie.

  50. #62 by tomwisk on April 23, 2013 - 3:04 pm

    Me, ambvert. I talk to strangers, usually the clerk at the store or the repairman. Being an ambi is nice in that I learned that when you’re in high school you and you alone can bring up the idea of a cafeteria boycott then let the class extros take it and run with it. You get your satisfaction in the job getting done. The downside, sometimes paralyzing silence with women. It shows all of my relations (not that kind) with women were instituted by them.

  51. #63 by keliwright on April 23, 2013 - 3:08 pm

    I’m absolutely ambivert, as well. Even did a blogpost on this subject on my own blog. Have you read the book “Quiet”? Right up your alley. And I so agree with you on salespeople. Who says extraverts are the best? If I feel hounded, I won’t purchase.

  52. #64 by Stephanie McKibben on April 23, 2013 - 3:10 pm

    Kristen, I’m convinced you are my twin. Okay–that didn’t sound creepy–at all. Love your post!

    • #65 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 23, 2013 - 3:20 pm

      Well, my married name is McKibben…so this is getting weird. But you’re super cute so I’ll claim you :D.

    • #66 by Shawn McKibben on April 23, 2013 - 8:49 pm

      Us McKibbens rock. Salt of the earth we are. :)

  53. #67 by bobwilson740 on April 23, 2013 - 3:54 pm

    For a long time it has been understood that we are all on a continuum between Introvert and Extrovert (using the old Myers-Briggs understanding of those terms). There has been a more recent suggestion that we move along that continuum as we age (duh!) and that most of us move toward the middle (perhaps Pink’s “Ambivert.”) As we get older and more comfortable in our skins, we are less likely to need to dominate (extrovert) or hide (introvert) in social situations. I personally can “do” groups well, but I would just as soon be on the deck with a book regardless of what else is going on.

    • #68 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 23, 2013 - 4:49 pm

      Cool observation and I can see that. Fascinating stuff, isn’t it?

    • #69 by Lora D on April 23, 2013 - 6:39 pm

      I was talking with my mom about experiences I remember when I was ages 2-4. At times I was super, super extroverted; other times, completely shy & very withdrawn. She added many more instances of me acting both ways and agreed that I’ve always been an ambivert. My mom knows me better than anyone in the world–including me–and she agrees I didn’t “choose” to be anything, I was just myself.

      So, while I agree with you that as we age we get more comfortable in our skin, we can learn how to effectively mimic other personality traits if it’s required (for a job, as others have mentioned), as well as act opposite of our nature due to trauma or tragedy, I firmly believe we can’t change our DNA–the personality we were born with. Ask any ambivert’s parents, older siblings or relatives, and they will be able to give very specific examples of both extroversion & introversion–when the child was just being whoever they were naturally.

      The key to understanding ambiverts is that there are *specific reasons* for why we go either direction. The typical personality tests don’t take that into account. They figure you’re “always” like one or the other, which is false. But I don’t know if an accurate test could be created for ambiverts, since we swing across the pendulum for different reasons (although we go to both extremes regularly).

  54. #70 by Jonathan Caswell on April 23, 2013 - 3:55 pm

    Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    FINALLY, A MIDDLE PLACE ON OUR PERSONALITY CONTINUUM!

  55. #71 by avcarden on April 23, 2013 - 4:07 pm

    I loved this post and always wondered if there was a name for my personality. According to your test, I am indeed an ambivert! Thank you! :)

  56. #72 by Shea Ford on April 23, 2013 - 4:16 pm

    Well, that explains a lot about me. I never knew which one I was, because I didn’t know there was such a thing as an ambivert. I totally get the idea that being around people can be draining! What an awesome way to explain it! On one hand, I’m totally cool getting up on a stage, but if you put me in a party setting, I become the wallflower.

    I think too this is why I can only handle the little girl down the street once a week (which is still sometimes too much) to come over and play with our boys. She’s 11 and has ADHD but her parents won’t medicate her. Our house might as well be Chuck E. Cheese’s when she’s around. UGH!

  57. #73 by walter on April 23, 2013 - 4:22 pm

    Love this blog, first time posting.
    I think most Ambiverts are just introverts that learnt to act a little more extroverted. Let’s face it. Introverts understand extroverts much more than extroverts understand introverts. Introverts have to act extroverted, how else could we get a job? Extroverts are never required to see the world from our side.

  58. #74 by danielocceno on April 23, 2013 - 4:29 pm

    I would consider myself an important moment personality trait. When it becomes important, I can be that personality, within limits.

    I might think that stopping a bank robbery is important, but I am not a super hero. I would probably walk away. There is F.D.I.C. for those of us with very limited income.

    Today, given my situation; I would rather learn Social Media and Internet website posting than travel around to conferences and meetings. The most important reason is affordability. At this time I can to travel the Internet.

    In the past money was the reason that determined my personality trait. Why go to a party if you have no success? If I had success, I might pay for the party to show off the success.

    But today, I probably will not pay for the party even if I became super successful.

    My relatives will rob me to get my attention, since making fun of me does not work.

  59. #75 by Bozo Buttons on April 23, 2013 - 4:42 pm

    The test is rigged. I do not believe it is possible to get any result other than Ambivert. I tried answering strongly as introvert in every way possible, and still got Ambivert. If anybody has managed to get any other assessment, I’d love to hear about.

    I always thought Mr. Pink was a professional!

    Bozo

    • #76 by Author Kristen Lamb on April 23, 2013 - 4:48 pm

      Someone scored High Introvert. Hey, it’s free, LOL. If you find a better test, let me know. So many of those quiz sites won’t give you results until you fork over your e-mail…so they can then blitz you. Ergo why I chose this one. Not too long and no strings. Didn’t get any more scientific than that.

    • #77 by Lanette Kauten on April 23, 2013 - 6:11 pm

      I scored introvert.

    • #78 by ED Martin on April 23, 2013 - 8:49 pm

      I thought the same thing. Maybe it’s the cynic in me, but perhaps the test is rigged to come up Ambivert 90% of the time so that you’ll be more inclined to read more about it in his book? My background is in psychology and statistics (Mr. Pink’s isn’t), and I’d love to see his methodology for developing this test.

  60. #79 by Deb Trotter on April 23, 2013 - 4:59 pm

    Kristen,
    I am SO glad you posted this. I’d never heard of an ambivert, but it suits me perfectly. I always thought it was odd that I sometimes love attention but other times feel so out of place that I want to crawl in a hole and never come out. I was a theatre major and a professional actress — never once had stage fright or was nervous — unless someone told me ahead of time that they were planning to come to a particular performance. That was when I’d be nervous … not sure why. I am much more confident and outgoing around people I don’t know and reluctant to stand out when I’m with my family.

    Also, I’ll work on a project to the point of obsession … it’s like I’m on fire. But when I’m finished, I crash into depression and can hardly function for a week or two.

    As always, this was a great post.

    Thanks!

  61. #80 by Yvette Carol on April 23, 2013 - 5:07 pm

    Fascinating, Kristen! I’m way into the introvert zone, I like family to come over and visit but I need a day to recover afterwards. If I do have to weather social situations I find I need to ‘process’ it later, and it can keep me awake for hours, while my mind sorts through every single thing said or done! I’ve naturally had a computer for years, and yet, it wasn’t until the beginning of last year that I ventured into ‘social’ territory of following blogs, joining groups (yours was the first), joining readers & writers sites, etc, and the interweb has helped me greatly to reach out to people and to become involved. It’s been liberating :-)

  62. #81 by Ronda Caudill on April 23, 2013 - 5:12 pm

    Reblogged this on Ronda's Book Reviews and commented:
    I thought this article was extremely interesting and wanted to share it.

  63. #82 by leslieheisey on April 23, 2013 - 5:39 pm

    This is food for thought. The Pink assessment marks me an ambivert. The Cain assessment marks me as an introvert. It’s never quite that easy is it? I am reading Cain’s book now. I spend a lot of time trying to digest the information making sure I truly do understand what she is saying. Now, I have another personality trait to try to understand define. It will take may take me a while,

  64. #83 by Carol Newquist on April 23, 2013 - 5:48 pm

    About the Myers-Briggs, I’ve taken it several times and every time I’ve scored FUBAR. They won’t let me take it any more.

  65. #84 by Sara Kjeldsen on April 23, 2013 - 7:37 pm

    I’m a total introvert… and the only people who don’t believe this are my close friends.

  66. #85 by Tamara LeBlanc on April 23, 2013 - 7:41 pm

    I took the test and found out I’m an ambivert. I’m not surprised. That sounds like me. I like mingling with people, to a certain extent. I enjoy parties, to a certain extent. I LOVE Disney World (but loathe the crowds:) Yep, ambivert.
    I found this post incredibly interesting. I’m going to have my sisters take the test. I’m curious what they’ll be labeled.
    Oh, and I remember that comedy act with Sinbad, TOOOO funny!
    Thanks for your wisdom!!
    Have a great evening,
    Tamara

  67. #86 by trackley2012 on April 23, 2013 - 8:15 pm

    I’m an ambivert! That so helps me understand my personality. I’ve always felt like a square peg in a round world! I never knew I fit in somewhere.

  68. #88 by Wendie Donabie on April 23, 2013 - 8:18 pm

    Thanks for this great post. People who meet me always think I am an extrovert but they don^t understand that to recharge I want to be alone….I did the test and understand why. I am an ambivert!!!

  69. #89 by ED Martin on April 23, 2013 - 8:39 pm

    Thanks for this. Like you pointed out, a lot of (extroverted) people don’t understand that introverts aren’t shy; we’re just emotionally drained being around people. It’s actually a measurable neurological function having to do with cortical arousal, so of course you can’t “fix” an introvert – or an extrovert.

  70. #90 by John Holton on April 23, 2013 - 8:42 pm

    Mary and I have been talking about this a lot, because neither the textbook description of “introvert” nor of “extrovert” does a good job of describing either one of us. I shared this with her, and both of us took the test, and both of us come out as ambiverts. Excellent post, and quite informative.

  71. #91 by elainecharton on April 23, 2013 - 9:31 pm

    Interesting, Turns out I am an ambivert which described me Sounds like my husband as well.

  72. #92 by juleseddy1 on April 23, 2013 - 10:06 pm

    I loved hearing of this new category and was not surprised to take the test and find I am an ambivert…Several interesting comments later, I am reminded of my favorite part of your blog–the relief of feeling understood and that it is “okay” to be however God created you–totally unique–possibly introverted at times, extroverted around the right people, good at adjusting to the situation but always needing that re-charge (alone-time) for sanity! Thanks for being awesome you! 8)

  73. #93 by Pam Zollman on April 24, 2013 - 12:10 am

    I’m an ambivert, which is what I suspected before I read your blog or took the cool test. I’m definitely an extrovert in most cases, but I love being by myself and reading a good book. And I can sit hours in front of the computer, typing away, getting lost in my story. I really don’t mind being alone. But I do enjoy being around people. I linked your blog post to my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/TheWritersPlot).

  74. #94 by swatik6 on April 24, 2013 - 2:11 am

    Hey, I am glad to know that I am an ambivert as opposed to the “myth” of my friends & relatives who always considered me an an INTROVERT – seldom converse with all, mostly remain silent & scared of eyes staring at me. Thanks a lot for cheering me up with the outdated law of the nature!

  75. #95 by ontyrepassages on April 24, 2013 - 4:31 am

    I took your test and it said I’m an ambivert. Most of my life I was considered a severe introvert, but looking back I can see that wasn’t me, but my environment. My childhood and the years that followed were quite dark and I was suppressed by strong personalities who sought to dominate. Only in recent years have I been discovering the real me. This was more proof that the real Christina isn’t who she was TOLD she was. I nearly cried when I saw the results. Thank you.

  76. #96 by Robin on April 24, 2013 - 8:12 am

    Looks like I’m an amnivert :) thanks for the test! This is an interesting subject–I used to think my mom was an extrovert because she was so loud and boisterous, but remember when I was younger and asking her about it, she said, oh no–I force myself to be like that! I learned really quickly what she meant when I first started in my marketing career, and at my first conference. You force yourself to network and to talk to people, and I probably gave the same impression to others that my mom gave to me. I’m certainly no extrovert but I make it work because I learned I have to. I have been reading about this more recently w/my son–who has some interesting traits, so have been learning how to work with him and make sure he recharges as much as he needs to…..it’s interesting looking at all this as a parent and turning inward at how we respond to all these social situations. Thanks for a great subject….

  77. #97 by hcfbutton on April 24, 2013 - 8:14 am

    My brother and I have mahor conversations abour this. He is extroverted and the best sales person I have met because he likes to get to know his clients. I am an introvert who has had to learn extrovert skills to succeed in a world of clients and contractors. I loathe trying something new where I meet new people but I do it anyway and am fine. I need to be extroverted at times to survive as an introvert otherwise I risk going crazy. My brother needs to be introverted to maintain his extroversion or he starts to feel like he’s losing himself. We have found ways to balance this.

  78. #98 by Melissa Bowersock on April 24, 2013 - 9:13 am

    Decent quick test, and I came up Ambivert. Not as detailed as the Myers-Briggs (I come up dead even, half E, half I), but it’ll do. I have always been an introvert (but like Kristen, discovered humor helps), but when I worked as a service rep for the phone company, I was forced to learn to be an extrovert. Much as I hated it at the time, I gained a ton of confidence and now feel comfortable walking into any room, talking to any group of people. Being flexible, yet knowing our limits, is they key.

  79. #99 by Diana Beebe on April 24, 2013 - 9:28 am

    I’m in shock. That quiz says I’m an amibvert! On the Myers-Briggs, I always weigh heavy on the introvert side.

    Very fascinating. Thanks for sharing!

  80. #100 by Alison Doherty on April 24, 2013 - 3:16 pm

    I have never heard of this term before, but after reading this post and taking the quiz I realize I am totally an ambivert. My family and people I know well always consider me very shy and introverted, but friends from college or people I just meet once (if I’m in a certain mood) often think of me as extroverted. It’s nice to have a category I can actually fit into now!

  81. #101 by dinavidscuitee on April 24, 2013 - 3:38 pm

    I have never heard this term before, but I can assure you that I am an introvert in almost all meanings.

  82. #102 by Julie Glover on April 24, 2013 - 9:20 pm

    I had nothing to say other than agreeing with you until I saw Sinbad. He’s coming to Houston, and I really want to go. But it ain’t happening. I think he’s one of the funniest comedians.

  83. #103 by tanlee3 on April 24, 2013 - 10:27 pm

    I have long called myself a social introvert because I love people but need loads of time to myself like you. Like you say one of the biggest misconceptions is that introverts are anti-people.

  84. #104 by Nicky Moxey on April 25, 2013 - 1:42 am

    Yup; ambivert :)

  85. #105 by Daniel Neff on April 25, 2013 - 9:27 am

    You don’t get off that easily (posting a video of the actual Sinbad). We need to see a video of YOUR impression of Sinbad. :) Seriously.
    Really enjoy your blog. Keep ‘em coming.

  86. #106 by Linda Adams on April 26, 2013 - 5:51 am

    It’s showing me as an ambivert, though this feels a little like trying to make introversion more acceptable since so much of society puts importance on being an extrovert and believe that introverts are scared of the world and hide. I can go to big events and I can even do public speaking, but I have to be able to pick what I want to do and take time to recharge. I hate organizational functions where you are required to go because I don’t have control over picking the parts that work for me or taking time to recharge (beyond visits to the bathroom). All I can do is sit at a table and wait for the required time to pass and then escape. Yet, I can go to crowded science fiction conventions. And that’s because I want to go, and I can pick what I want to attend, and I can leave for a little while if I get overwhelmed. I ended up in a local Wal-Mart at one because I just needed to get away from the energy of the con for a while.

  87. #107 by jayOfArc on April 26, 2013 - 9:31 am

    this was such an interesting read. i’ve always been perceived as an extrovert and it never made any kind of sense to me. i cherish my alone time too much to have that be true. i’ll only choose to share my moments with he who is sweeter than my solitude. but for some reason i don’t mind people (family and friends) seeing me the way they do. its as if the me that is in love with her own bubble isn’t meant for the world. she is meant to be shared with a selected few and i am okay with that. i might as well be a closeted introvert waiting for that special someone to notice it at first glance.

  88. #108 by jayOfArc on April 26, 2013 - 9:36 am

    “In school, I didn’t want to play at recess. I wanted to read and draw unicorns. But I loved debate and speaking in public … The stage was far less terrifying than the lunchroom.” when you said that … it was as if you were talking to me. thank you for that.

  89. #109 by jayOfArc on April 26, 2013 - 9:37 am

    Reblogged this on jayofarc and commented:
    this was such an interesting read. i’ve always been perceived as an extrovert and it never made any kind of sense to me. i cherish my alone time too much to have that be true. i’ll only choose to share my moments with he who is sweeter than my solitude. but for some reason i don’t mind people (family and friends) seeing me the way they do. its as if the me that is in love with her own bubble isn’t meant for the world. she is meant to be shared with a selected few and i am okay with that. i might as well be a closeted introvert waiting for that special someone to notice it at first glance.

  90. #110 by Diane Turner on April 26, 2013 - 2:20 pm

    Great piece, Kristen. It’s nice to have some validation that I fit somewhere. Thanks for sharing. I always learn something reading your posts.

  91. #111 by Heather Hale on April 26, 2013 - 6:57 pm

    I, too, am an ambivert for sure! ;-)

  92. #112 by pamelacreese on April 27, 2013 - 11:15 pm

    l am an introvert..to the core of my being. Was accused in elementary of being autistic because l daydreamed and got lost in my books. Love people….for set periods of time. ln HS l could barely speak to a stranger…but like you l thrived in debate and on the stage. l love talking about thngs l feel passonate about but my creativity and soul are recharged during alone time…esp with nature.

    Wonderful topic. You always have such great things to discuss.

  93. #113 by Matt Dunn on April 28, 2013 - 11:55 pm

    Oh wow, I really do love this post…It’s crazy, because I was just pondering this thought about how can one be an introvert if they are so outgoing as well… maybe its bipolar lol? who knows for sure, but I know depending on my moods I am either very introverted or very extroverted almost to an extreme!! I am now following you! keep up the great posts!

  94. #114 by A. Colleen Jones on April 29, 2013 - 3:10 am

    I am totally an ambivert. Did Myers-Briggs testing years ago and was 50/50 for introvert and extrovert, though I’d say I lean towards introvert in terms of energy. Have spent a lot of time trying to explain to people the different between being an introvert/extrovert versus being shy/outgoing. They’re completely different things! Thanks for writing such a great post about this topic.

  95. #115 by Margie Brimer on April 29, 2013 - 10:44 am

    I love this term, ambivert! One of the break out sessions at the conference I attended this week was by the Shy Writer Reborn author and I had such trouble identifying solely with either extrovert or introvert. I have strong qualities of both. Now I have a label!

  96. #116 by Deb Atwood on April 30, 2013 - 12:50 pm

    Love this article! I so agree with Daniel Pink that sometimes the quiet, focused ones are the ones to get the job done. However, we have to do it our way, which is sometimes not the loud, showy version that garners attention.

    Kristin, your timing of this article was perfect for my blog as I was writing about how non-extroverts can participate in World Book Night. Here’s my post that links to you: http://peninherhand.wordpress.com/2013/04/30/the-introverts-guide-to-world-book-night/

    Thanks!.

  97. #117 by xandert on May 7, 2013 - 10:45 am

    True introvert here. I can teach small groups due to my spiritual gifting, but it sucks the life out of me to be in large groups or, worse, crowded situations. All the activity and noise leave me feeling drained yet jittery. I much prefer to spend time with friends one-on-one or in small groups (less than 8), and I LOVE my alone-time, which has increased substantially (YAY!) since I quit working outside the home. I can spend days with no one but my introverted hubby and my critters for company and be THRILLED. Put me in a public setting like a party, and I become the wallpaper-like observer. I do a lot of people watching and listening. Then I retreat and feel like I need to sleep for a week at times.

  98. #118 by xandert on May 7, 2013 - 11:01 am

    BTW, I LOVE your HS photo, Kristen! I can SO identify with that. LOL

    Also, I do my own blog on Saturdays and intend to point people to this post of yours this coming Saturday. I blogged a few months ago about myths about introverts – mainly tackling the fact we’re not antisocial, people-haters like I’ve often heard extroverts claim. I’m sharing your blog post as a follow-up to that.

  99. #119 by Peter DeHaan on May 7, 2013 - 4:26 pm

    What a shocker. I thought I was the poster child for introversion. However, the test says I am an ambivert.

  100. #120 by Rebecca Erwin (@frognparis) on May 9, 2013 - 12:30 pm

    Love this! I am an ESFJ married to an INTP. The ambivert is the perfect explanation for me. It is good to know I fit somewhere.

  101. #121 by Gretchen Engel on May 11, 2013 - 5:05 pm

    I am very much an ambivert and call myself a solar flashlight. I love getting attention and mingle at parties. Most people assume I’m an extrovert. I talk a lot and I’m usually game for doing goofy stuff like rolling around in a human hamster ball or eating some exotic food. The thing is I need l to recharge after socializing. I have become a better listener over the years and love getting quiet people to talk when we’re in a one-on-one setting.

  102. #122 by TLJeffcoat on May 11, 2013 - 5:27 pm

    I always wondered if I was a strange Extrovert. I was always energized with entertaining crowds and I am a huge fan of friendly gatherings. I ramble on for hours to complete strangers, and yet I’m extremely shy until people start talking to me first. If I’m given a choice, I always prefer to be alone, writing or playing games. It wasn’t till high school that I ever really came out of my shell. I lived in fantasy worlds where only I and my characters lived. It was safe, and I my imagination is infinite. In high school I started dating girls and that brought me out a little. The girls seem to think I was interesting, funny and liked talking to me. So, I came out of my shy shell. That survey says I’m an ambivert, and I guess it’s right. I’m a great listener, but if you get me going, I will talk more than a morning radio host.

  103. #123 by Joseph Jordan on July 4, 2013 - 8:04 pm

    Well, I guess based on your article I’m an ambivert. Thanks! Didn’t know I was. Not even sure it’s a real word…

  104. #124 by Lori on July 9, 2013 - 6:44 am

    This was helpful… I’ve always identified myself as an introvert, but I recently found improv classes and love it! I also have bursts of energy at festivals, concerts, other exciting events, where I’m loud and active – then I’m wiped out for a day or two and want only quiet and alone time to recharge. That has felt like an inconsistency and I haven’t really known how to reconcile that with my introvertedness. I did the test that you linked to and came out ambivert…I’ll have to do some more reading… Thanks!

  105. #125 by Connor on July 30, 2013 - 7:38 pm

    You realise you can be an introvert or an extrovert and have uncommonly large parts of your internal or external personality developed to make you seem like you are what people are calling ‘ambivert’.
    Honestly, do some research. Start with the book ‘Gifts Differing’.
    This isn’t a hate reply, it’s a ‘get educated before you post this kind of thing’ reply.

  106. #126 by Emily on August 6, 2013 - 10:35 pm

    Thank you so much for this article! I honestly didn’t know there was such thing as an “ambivert” – I’ve never been shy and have always liked performing and being the center of attention, but I’ve always preferred reading or watching a movie to interacting with other people. I’ve always described myself as “an introvert who’s really awesome at faking extroversion,” but that always felt like I didn’t LIKE being with other people or occasionally going out or doing customer service. Yes, too much of all of that – especially in crowds – exhausts me and makes me incredibly cranky, but as long as it’s a reasonably small amount of people at one time I’m quite happy to chat and interact with people. I also truly enjoy public speaking, while my introvert best friend could throw up at the thought and had to bribe herself to speak in class with candy. Thanks again for giving my personality a name!

  107. #127 by Victoria Anne on August 7, 2013 - 12:15 am

    Entertaining, funny gal who can chat up a storm with strangers in grocery stores seeks solitary alone time with various books and art supplies. Dining out alone is a must! Don’t call me, I’ll call you… when I’m ready.Guess I’m ambivertent about the whole thing!

  108. #128 by Sonja B on August 8, 2013 - 2:44 pm

    OMG – Thank you so much!!! The test confirms I’m an “Ambivert”; this is a whole new term and I love it!! My mom always insists I’m an extrovert, as do many of my friends. But I’ve always contested I’m introverted because on the whole, I can’t stand people, I tolerate them, but would be just fine by myself for weeks at a time preferring to be only around my tiny group of “confidantes” (I literally have 8 FB friends). Yes, I can be the life of the party, like you, turning to humor to shield myself from having to be a “real person”. I can even carry on an extended conversation with a random stranger. But I find being “personable” absolutely exhausting and my energy leaves me quicker the more people I have to be around and my recharge time can get to days. People at work rely on me to constantly have the answer to random “How Do I…” questions, and I always help out, but just want to hide in my closet after a particularly busy day. I can’t thank you enough!!!

  109. #129 by Mzrose on August 8, 2013 - 3:23 pm

    Reblogged this on Writes of Life and commented:
    I believe I have mentioned this blog before.Fascinating

  110. #130 by Kim on August 14, 2013 - 3:12 pm

    “I was very happy alone in my room reading, drawing and copying articles out of my set of encyclopedias.” That’s me, too! And yet, I enjoy public speaking. When I go places and do things, I like having people with me to share the experience, but after a certain amount of time together I have to find a quiet spot to recover from the stress I feel when I’m around people.

    It’s difficult to reconcile personality traits that seem so different, and I’ve always wondered what’s wrong with me. In addition, I’m strongly ADHD with a wide range of traits from that disorder which include difficulty reading body language, verbal volubility without filter (my version of hyperactivity), and overall cluelessness when it comes to social interactions.

    Then along comes this post, which has done wonders for helping me put “me” in perspective. Thanks, too, to everyone who has left comments and shared their experiences. It’s amazingly reassuring to know that I’m not alone.

  111. #131 by insanityrules67 on August 20, 2013 - 5:38 pm

    Loved this post. I just stumbled upon it today when I was asking ask.com, ” Can an Ambivert and an Introvert have a successful relationship together ? ” I wanted to find some opinions and / or advice about the subject. I’d take any information about it that I can get my hands on at this point. The reason is because I’m currently involved in a long-distance relationship with an Introvert. It’s been a ” bumpy ” ride so far, to say the least. I’m very glad I found this post of Yours, and of course Your very interesting blog. I’ve recently realized that I’m an Ambivert. That’s something I suspected for a long time.

  112. #132 by CosmicBengali on August 20, 2013 - 9:04 pm

    Fascinating article! I’m a fairly extreme extravert–in a career field full of introverts (writing and editing). I love introverts, but sometimes we just don’t get each other! Now I have a better idea of what to work on. Thanks!

  113. #133 by May on August 23, 2013 - 4:13 pm

    oh oh! I am definetly an Ambivert :D! love your post and related with so much of it! greetings from Chile :)

  114. #134 by Bobby on September 4, 2013 - 10:50 am

    Thank you so much for the new “check-mark-box”. People don’t like it when I answer “neither” to their inquiry about my personality. Introvert, extrovert, and now ambivert. I am not an introvert – all the time. I am not an extrovert – all the time. I am an ambivert. If all “us” ambiverts got into a room we would probable discover we are entertainers from the moment we left our quiet, and protected cave. Later, returning, adjective-spent by the extroverts, and exhausted by entertain-able introverts, we sigh, and talk to our companion without words, happy to be in our orchestrated cave of understanding.

  115. #135 by Anupreet on September 11, 2013 - 1:23 am

    Thanks for introducing me to the term – ambivert. I have taken a few personality tests and they always come up with ridiculous results like you are 1% more extroverted than introverted or you are 4% more likely introverted. If I am in a party too long or around large crowds, eventually I have to get back home and read a book. Once I start a book, I will ignore all party invitations and sit at home and finish it. Then to recharge I need to go back out because I can’t sit home and read two books in a row. Similarly, at the end of the day of interacting with a lot of people, I like to sleep in my own bed with the door shut and no disturbances. On the other hand, keep me in a house for more than 10 hours at a stretch (regardless of weather) and I will call everyone I know to meet up and get me out before I go stir crazy. So, no more personality tests until they include ambivert as an option from now on.

  116. #136 by Anonymous on September 13, 2013 - 10:10 pm

    A majority of people in the world are ambiverts. Extreme introversion or extroversion are rare. Some people are introverts & some are extroverts… In most countries there are more extroverts than introverts. Especially in modern society/culture where people (especially those under 35) are quite social and love going out. Im one of the most introverted people I know, so its sucks living in an extroverted world sometimes coz its hard dealing with people constantly accusing me of being shy, weird or anti-social. I just like my alone time & I don’t get lonely that fast. Like when it comes to dating, im very picky and I could easily die alone instead of dating someone im not comfortable with (im usually not attracted to or comfortable around guys who are very loud/love parties or clubs – because thats not my scene). I hate having to justify myself sometimes, but im proud of being an introvert. I have introverted and extroverted friends. The extroverts are easy to talk to, entertaining, etc… But they’re exhausting and I can’t hang out with them that often. While my introverted friends are more quiet, but also more responsible, thoughtful, grounded, and less exhausting to deal with. I tend to trust introverts and ambiverts more, but I still like my fun extroverted friends. Most people I know are generally ambiverts so they’re not extreme and they’re generalky easy to get along with.

  117. #137 by Ka-ya Daneah on September 19, 2013 - 3:47 pm

    This makes sense. Great food for thought.

  118. #138 by dreamerrambling on November 15, 2013 - 12:07 am

    Loved this post. You made me think. Maybe I can be a little too black and white with people sometimes. I don’t think you can truly pigeonhole people in any way. We are too complicated. Have a wonderful day.

  119. #139 by Teacup on January 12, 2014 - 7:38 am

    I see that “Dr Carmella’s guide to understanding introverts” cartoon at least once a year, when one friend or another shows it to me as THE explanation for how they feel, and I think it is really awesome…but I do feel slightly offended at the portrayal of extroverts as energy sucking vampires who crave attention. As someone who thinks of themselves as an extrovert* because I *need* my friends, I get sad/bored/drained when nobody replies to me or wants to spend time with me. It’s not that I want to be the centre of their solar system but more like one of the little rocky satellites that orbits far out. I think of myself as putting out energy, that if I don’t get recharged or reflected back at me, I get low, and make bad decisions (such as hooking up with “that” ex, that you know is really bad for you…but they’re there, and they’re easy)

    Thanks for giving me something interesting to read, and it turns out I AM an ambivert :)

    *(while getting panic attacks in crowds, and used to do my laundry at 2am on a Sunday so I knew I wouldn’t see anyone, likes MMORPGs and takes a book to every pub/club/night out)

  120. #140 by shinobiswordsman on January 12, 2014 - 3:23 pm

    This is great! Do you mind if I link to your blog in a similar post of my own?

  121. #142 by destiny on January 21, 2014 - 11:49 am

    Oh what a relief :D
    I think I used to be more introvert at one time- but I wanted to be like everyone else so bad I shifted more toward ambivert. Still criticizing myself for not being a big extrovert! Lol.

    I really liked this article. I’m 15, so no experience or anything with sales or jobs- but this still connected with me. I remember tensing up real bad in a crowded room like I was claustrophobic. Going into high school however I was very aware that my parents weren’t very impressed with my other introvert siblings. “You are kind of awkward sweety” and “just not a socializer” would freak my older sister out. I wanted my parent’s praise as well as being liked and accepted by everyone. Especially the confident and out going group. Criticizing myself led to me being a sad introvert. Or shy. So I started becoming more extrovert instead to be happier. Dunno why, but it worked! And well- lol, I’ve gotten used to all the energy in being out going. If I make even the tiniest flirty conversation with the good looking outgoing boy- I’m happy and skipping the rest of the day. Online really helped too, to cope with this “I’m not socializing” hole. It bugged me when my younger brother said yesterday “You know they aren’t your REAL friends right?” and here I was making excellent progress in connecting and socializing! (I’m home schooled, so its tough) He made me feel awful. So thankful that you actually encouraged it! Its good to know not to beat myself up. 3 cheers for ambiverts and introverts! Woot!!!!!

  122. #143 by TheAnti-Materialist on February 24, 2014 - 10:42 am

    Too bad I’m commenting on this a year later. I believe I’m an ambivert and after a 2 minute test confirming this I am now more sure than ever. Lol. I’ve always had an extreme introverted side but can be very extravertive in my behavior at times. I can be the life of the party or very quietly contemplating ancient Mesopotamian life at a party. School was the same. I hated being called on, talking in front of the class, reading aloud, or doing plays but I was one of the funniest kids and was practically performing music and comedy acts for people by grade school. Things had to be on my terms or I wouldn’t do them. I liked having friends but I had no problem just flooding my parents back yard and playing army alone for hours. Or taking apart my G.I. joes and combining them together to make new ones. It’s been a double edge sword tho. At times both sides want to be in the forefront and I end up forcing someone to listen to my idea on the “theory of everything” when all they needed to hear was what I wanted for lunch. Or after a few days of wanting to be alone I get an extreme case of extravertism and call people up to tell them of my marvelous adveuntures of thought, regardless of it being 5am. And while I do like having friends and being around people before long I want a break and need to recharge and they don’t understand that. They act as if I’m withdrawing or ignoring them when really I just need a few hours alone to rest, think or be creative. When it comes to being artistic I’ve never thought of myself as an artist but feel I have a great eye for art and tend to date artist a lot. My passions always been for music and writing. I love to think and look at beautiful things. Funny, most if the stuff I write I never share. I store it or end up deleting them. Some of my favorites I just keep. Also, I don’t know if this has anything to do with being an ambivert but I don’t have “a favorite” anything. I like things more than others but I don’t have a favorite. And if I like a certain food I could eat it most days and it wouldn’t bother me. Lol.

  123. #144 by Cam on March 1, 2014 - 3:25 pm

    Just like I thought, that test is not accurate at all. Do not believe what it says. Regardless of how you answer the questions, it will tell you that you’re an ambivert. I thought that I was when I took it the first time, but I took it two more times and played around with my options this time. Even with having chosen different responses, I was told that I was an ambivert. It will have everybody going around claiming to be one.

    • #145 by Author Kristen Lamb on March 1, 2014 - 4:12 pm

      Well, I am sure there are more accurate tests, as I stated. I just picked one y’all didn’t have to sign up for some newsletter. But many people don’t know that the ambivert exists and that actually most people probably ARE ambiverts.

  124. #146 by Sudhir Singh on March 19, 2014 - 12:34 am

    Hi Kristen, your blog is really well made. But coming to the debate of introverts vs extroverts, IMHO it’s all about the mindset. People get conditioned to behave in certain ways depending upon the influence of family, friends, circumstances etc. etc. etc. You can’t really control that to much extent. Today, kids get influenced more from the outside than inside the family. It is this influence, either positive or negative, that they carry throughout their life and it then becomes a mindset. Are you listening to me? Control your kids, will you? Lol!

    Anyways, it’s perfectly OK. Personally, I am also an ambivert and for me it’s ok to be with people at one time and and hate ‘em at other. That is how the ball rolls. Balancing the two is nice but tough to achieve because both introversion and extroversion are mind sets and either one of them can be dominant in a person. You have to learn to balance..that’s all.

    In the end, visit my blog at ideasbysud.wordpress.com

  125. #147 by mandisamparnell on March 19, 2014 - 10:56 am

    Reblogged this on Mandisa M. Parnell – Jamaican Writer on the Rise and commented:
    Have you ever wondered whether you are an introvert or an extrovert?? Well, wonder no more. Here’s a very interesting article by Kristen Lamb and a test you can take to find out for certain.
    Happy reading!

  126. #148 by The Well-Bred Woman in Progress on April 5, 2014 - 8:39 pm

    Do you suppose that the concepts of introversion and extroversion arose out of the observance of extremes in behavior? That is, would a well rounded person who trained themselves to build upon strengths and diminish weaknesses be more prone to being ambivert, or simply neither extrovert nor introvert? I have often felt estranged from either category, putting myself in the murky middle. :)

  127. #149 by truthhunter4God on April 28, 2014 - 5:33 am

    am an extrovert all the way around. Give me crowds and people. I cant stand more than about an hour by myself. After being alone for 12+ hours today and being close to going insane, a friend directed me to look up ambiverts and become one. Lol. My search turned up this blog post. Im an extrovert in a very introverted family, and I think maybe one or two ambiverts. :) I love learning what makes people tic and understanding them more. Thanks for this great post!

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