Graphic by Lily Gumbinner
Most of society has been raised to believe that a person is either an extrovert or an introvert, and that this can be determined by how much they talk. However, this information is not necessarily true: introversion and extroversion are actually ranges on a spectrum and are not purely defined by how much someone may like to communicate. Instead, it is more based on what situations give a person energy and life, as well as what natural talents they possess. There is also another spot on the spectrum that many are not familiar with: ambivert, which is a combination of both introvert traits and extrovert traits. Take a look at the sections for each personality group. You never know; you might be surprised to see which you identify most with.
Extroverts are the larger-than-life personality: big smiles, important roles, and never ending lists of conversation starters. Since society tends to favor extroverts, it seems that many people are grouped into this personality. However, someone is not necessarily an extrovert if they like to talk. According to the Huffington Post, “the defining quality of an extrovert is that they feel energized by social situations.” Extroverts make great leaders and crave adventure; of course, they are most well known for being extremely outgoing to anyone they meet.
Signs you might be an extrovert:
You speak before thinking
You feel an energy boost from social situations
You don’t like to be alone
If there is a problem, you prefer to talk it out rather than let it simmer away
Your friend group is very large, but the connections between friends are not super close
Leading others is one of your talents
Remember that person who didn’t want to go to the biggest party of the school year? At the time, they might have been called a spoil-sport or a square, but chances are they are actually an introvert. A common misconception is that introverts are shy; this is most likely because introverts experience energy drainage from being in too many social situations at a time and gain their energy back by spending time alone, Psychology Today said. Introverts are very tuned in to their own thoughts and are well known for being intelligent.
Signs you might be an introvert:
You are a good listener
Your friend group consists of a few very close people
The advice you give is usually right and you are sought out by many for your words of wisdom
You don’t like making small talk with strangers
People tell you to talk more or ask why you are so quiet
You feel that working individually is better than working in groups
Anyone who has ever struggled with deciding whether they are more introverted or extroverted may very well be an ambivert, the in-between personality of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. According to psychologist Robert R. McCrae, “only 38 percent of people are ambiverts; most people either lean towards introversion or extroversion.” Ambiverts are said to have excellent entrepreneurial skills due to their dual natured personality.
Signs you might be an ambivert:
You display both extrovert and introvert traits
Time spent alone and time spent with people needs to be balanced
You can play the role of the listener or the talker
You work well in groups or alone
You tend to be indecisive
You have a good sense of who to trust
If you are still having trouble deciding which part of the spectrum you lie on, check out the 16 Personalities test or Dan Pink’s test to help determine once and for all who you really are. Of course, tests can never decide completely; in the end, you identify with whichever personality feels right to you.