The Challenge of Being an Ambivert
It was not until recently I heard the term "ambivert", but as soon as I saw the definition I clicked instantly! Unlike an extravert which is defined as someone who thrives and energises by being surrounded by others, or an introvert which is defined as someone who finds solitude quite stimulating an ambivert is somewhere in the middle. An ambivert is defined as “a person who has a balance of extrovert and introvert features in their personality.”
This makes sense to me- I find it really difficult to explain to others that in different situations I can be either end of these extremes, yet I tend to lay somewhere in the middle. I absolutely love hanging out with friends, am often the loudest in the room, the first to crack a joke at both myself and everyone else. Yet at the same time I find being around people incredibly exhausting. I find if I am around people too much without some time to myself I just burn out, and that is something I find hard to explain to people.
I think as humans we often make the assumption that if we are one way, if we feel a certain way or prefer a certain situation, then surely others must feel that same thing. And yes, this can be the case, but we are also very different. This occurred to me late last year when my partner was due to go away for an extended period of time. In an attempt to ensure I dealt with it well I booked out my social calendar the weekend he left. After attending 3 of the things I had planned, I was found myself really burnt out and just needed some time to be alone and let myself feel sad for a bit. I mean, I wasn’t going to wallow in my self pity for long but I also didn’t need to deny myself of feeling. When I told I a friend I had cancelled all my plans she expressed a lot of concern. She is someone who thrives on being around people constantly so I found it difficult to articulate that it was actually the best decision I had made that week. I went back to work that Monday feeling totally refreshed and ready to face the next few months.
Regardless of where you think you may fall along the extro/intro-vert scale, I don’t really think it is important to put a label on it because it’s likely you’ll have qualities of each. The most important thing is to just do you. Throughout the past few years I have learnt that I am very much a homebody and that is okay. Yeah it means I will miss out on things, but I am refreshing and refuelling so I can be my best self. Most nights I will go to bed at 9pm and wake up at 5am and that is okay. After a few hours of hanging with a friend I often need to recharge and other days I will be the life of the party and want to chat to everyone. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if I am in fact more extroverted, introverted or lay somewhere in between. What matters is how closely I am listening to what I need and the same goes for you. Listen to what your body wants and take a break when you need, get out and surround yourself with people when you need it. Our needs change and only we can determine what they are. So I will end with this challenge. Find what recharges you and make it a priority.