Last week a Buzzfeed article was drawn to my attention: 21 Signs You Might Actually Be An Ambivert – If you don’t feel like an extrovert or an introvert, this might be why.
I found it a slightly frustrating and even troubling post because it is very orientated around sociability and on many points has very little to do with what it really means to be an introvert, extrovert, and ambivert. It leans more towards how sociable you are rather than the simple truth of energy creation/management. i.e. where you put your attention and get your energy.
In other words, the question: do you re-energise by spending time in the outer world of people and things (Extraversion), or in your inner world of ideas and images (Introversion)?
We all fall somewhere along the line, most people somewhere in the middle. So the majority of people will of course identify with what it might mean to be ambivert.
In this particular article it feels to me like unnecessary labelling that misses the point of why the awareness of introversion has been such an important thing. Not because it gives us an identity, but rather because it helps us to understand ourselves so that we can orientate ourselves to the world in a more natural and self-accepting way.
This episode of the podcast is my response to the article…
When you read your horoscope it feels familiar. They are cleverly written to make you feel like it’s saying something that may apply to you. That is how this article reads. It feels like it’s saying something relevant, but only because it’s a safe bet. It’s so general that it’s pretty much guaranteed to mix with your own desire to relate to it and feel like you belong, that it works.
Some weekends, you just need to spend some time hanging out on your own.
Too much time spent alone can leave you a bit downcast, however, and you’re concerned that it’s not very productive.
Introvert, extrovert, or ambivert I’m pretty sure that this applies to everyone.
I’m apparently an extreme introvert. I come out at the end of the scale on the Myers Briggs personality indicator. Yet I don’t desire to spend all my time alone. Yes, I love solitude, I need it, and it’s where I re-charge. But when I cut human contact for too long I hit a tipping point and find my energy seeping away. I recharge alone, but this is not an end in itself, rather it is where I create energy that I can then head out and spend. That is what it means to be an introvert. Simple.
In the comment section of the article Grace Danielson makes a great point:
Introvert gets mistaken as someone who is anti social but that doesn’t define 99% of introverts. The defining factor is if you are drained after hanging out with people or if you are energized by it. My SIL is one of the most social and outgoing people I know, she is very charismatic and likeable but she gets drained hanging with people. She needs alone time to re-energize. But if you didn’t know her well you’d never know she was an introvert.
This is a really important message to establish and communicate. Introverts come in all shapes and sizes and as we repeat again and again it has nothing to do with hating people, being shy, or being socially awkward.
Yes there are introverts who are these things, but I’ve also met extroverts who seem to hate people, are shy, and are very socially awkward.
- We are so desperate to find a label. We WANT to be defined and to belong. What is BELONGINGNESS?
- We are getting to grips with our left-handedness again
- We should ask ourselves, When We Read and Share, What or Who are We Serving?
- Don’t get bogged down in the comments on non-niche sites like Buzzfeed and newspapers. If you’re like me then you soak up far too much of the aggression and vitriol, and even start to believe some of the nonsense.