Personality tests like the Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram are all the rage — and for good reason. Identifying your personality type can help you understand yourself and how you interact with the world around you, including work, friendships, and romantic relationships. Along the same lines, knowing how you’re hard-wired plays a big role in helping you grow. Personality tests can help you identify your blind spots and overcome what may be holding you back.
But what if you take a personality test and don’t fit neatly into the pre-determined categories? You aren’t the only one, especially if you feel like you could be equal parts extrovert and introvert. Adam Grant, a professor at Wharton University and bestselling author, set out to study how we categorize ourselves as humans and found that two-thirds of people don’t identify strongly as extroverts or introverts.
If you don’t perfectly fit the mold of introvert or extrovert, there’s an alternative. You may be an ambivert, which means you fall smack-dab in the middle of the introvert-extrovert spectrum. Interestingly, Grant claims those with both introvert and extrovert tendencies actually do have an advantage over other personality types. For example, many ambiverts, he found, have an easier time adjusting to people of various personalities because they don’t lean too far in either direction. And since ambiverts are typically socially flexible — meaning they can handle and enjoy a broader spectrum of situations — they may possess more emotional intelligence than other personality types.
Does this sound like you? Here are a few ways to know if you have the ambivert advantage.
1. Your personality test results don’t resonate with you. Maybe you’ve taken the MBTI, and you get different results each time. Or perhaps your test results are 50/50, and you don’t know where you really fall. If you don’t feel like you fit in the traditional extrovert/introvert definition, there’s a good chance you fall somewhere in the middle.
2. You love to be social, but you also need alone time. If you are equally energized by being in big groups of people and spending time curled up with a book by yourself, you could be an ambivert. You may also go through phases of craving social interaction or alone time depending on the situation, which is completely normal.
3. You consider yourself flexible and adaptable. Most ambiverts tend to do well in all levels of social interaction. Whether deep heart-to-hearts with a friend or busy parties with a lot of small talk, you thrive in a variety of socially demanding scenarios. You also adapt just as well to quiet nights at home with Netflix or even going to a movie or restaurant by yourself.
4. You think teamwork is fun, but you also like to work by yourself. Another indicator you may be an ambivert is your ability to work with both a group and by yourself. If you’re truly an ambivert, you probably excel at communicating and teamwork in group settings, but you would do just as well taking on a solo project.
5. You’re equal parts playful and deep. You love witty banter and joking around, but you’re also game for meaningful conversations about the deep things in life. If you can’t settle on whether you’re witty or wise (and perhaps you struggle to come up with the perfect social media bio to reflect your personality), chances are you’re both — and you’re an ambivert.
6. You can’t decide if you love or hate social media. Speaking of social media, ambiverts tend to have a love-hate relationship with it. On the one hand, they like interacting with friends and sharing details about their lives, but on the other, they find it exhausting to keep up with everyone and sometimes just want to stay private.
7. Your friends don’t freak out when you go off the grid. If you tend to randomly “go dark” after days of back-and-forth chatter in your group text thread, friends who know you won’t be surprised. Ambiverts also have a love-hate relationship with their phones, blowing their friends up one day and staying quiet the next.
8. You’re a good talker, but also a good listener. Whether you’re in a casual conversation with a coworker at the office or hearing out a longtime friend who’s having a bad day, you know when to dole out advice and when to keep quiet. Ambiverts specialize in being amazing counselors and listeners, which makes them really good friends.
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