A person whose personality has a balance of extrovert and introvert features.
At times, this individual may appear introverted. And, just when you think that you’ve found a nice, quiet shy introvert who just wants to stay home and read or watch TV, this same person will shock you by suggesting you go to a big noisy concert or a party at a friend’s house that promises to be the social event of the season.
Surprise! You’ve met an ambivert!
When I was in college, they gave me the Myers-Briggs personality inventory. That was my first introduction to this whole introvert/extravert issue. I never did find out my results, but some years later, I took the online version and came out as an INFP.
Later, I found Keirsey’s book Please Understand Me (and Please Understand Me II), and I was introduced to the Keirsey temperament sorter, which is closely related to the Myers-Briggs indicator. I still came out as an INFP, although I was able to gauge my own answers, and I saw that my extravert/introvert answers were pretty even. I just had to pick one or the other, so I went with what I knew…the INFP Healer (Idealist). I was young and naive enough to love the idea of being an Idealist. 🙂
Then I funny thing happened…I found the Keirsey temperament sorter online, so I tried it again. This time, I came out as an ENFP Champion (still an Idealist, though. I think all NFs are Idealists).
I was confused. Did I suddenly change from an introvert to an extravert? It didn’t seem likely. From all I’d read about temperament in my psychology classes, it didn’t change. You’re born with your temperament, and you just can’t change it. You can learn to deal with it and adapt to situations in a different way, but you can’t change who you are. But, from what these results were telling me, I had changed myself from an introvert to an extravert. How was that possible?
But I remembered that my scores on that E/I scale were fairly well balanced, so I thought that might have something to do with it. I was able to change how I interacted with the world based on what was needed at the time. This, to my way of thinking, was not a bad thing.
Fast forward ten years or so….
There I am, calmly being my introverted self and sitting at the computer checking my email, when suddenly a new blog post notification pops up from Kristen Lamb (author of the amazingly helpful book, We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media). The blog post was titled, interestingly enough, The Myth About Introverts & Extroverts: Could You Be An Ambivert?
I immediately clicked on the link, not really sure what an ambivert was, but knowing that I was one, since there was so much temperament sorter/personality test confusion over whether I am an introvert or an extravert. I didn’t even have to take the test to know that I would come out as an ambivert (as did Kristen herself and many of the other people who commented on her blog post).
And this made me wonder: Are all writers really ambiverts, instead of heavily falling on one side or the other? It would make sense. We writers love to share stories with people – and usually as many people as we possibly can (the extraverted part), but we also love to sit in our offices/coffee shops for hours on end, typing away on a computer keyboard and not saying a word to anyone (the introverted part).
So…my question to you is: Are you a writer? Are you an introvert or an extravert? Or are you an ambivert? Go look at Kristen’s post to find out more. And, if you leave her a comment, tell her I sent you. 😉