The reality is that I’ve always been the introverted extrovert! I can see many of you feeling a little confused with this…
Being a confessed introverted extrovert can be tricky!
This term even has its own name – Ambivert.
An ambivert is someone who exhibits qualities of both introversion and extroversion, and can flip into either depending on their mood, context, and goals.
Yes, I love the company of others and can be the life of the party, but I can just as easily and happily fade into the background and just hang out on the fringes depending on my mood.
It’s always been a tricky balance as I’m energized by being around people but can start to become depleted when around people for too long and still will crave alone time to recharge.
I don’t necessarily crave the company of others, but I do like to interact with people…if you know what I mean.
Arguably this is something I seemed to have passed onto both Zach and Sam.
Of all the things I could pass down this would not be my first choice! Nope, I’d much prefer to pass down strong values, empathy, and a sense of humanity.
Fortunately, these traits have also been passed down, so I guess three out of four isn’t too bad.
So why can this be debilitating you ask?
I know in my past some people have taken my introverted extrovert behaviour as standoffish, or unfriendly which isn’t true, but hard to talk to people about as it’s a difficult concept to grasp if you’re unaware of it.
Clearly, I’m unable to change the way people see me but it can be difficult when you’re sometimes judged.
All I can do is continue to be me and let the rest take care of itself…
There are some other traits to being an introverted extrovert that aren’t always obvious.
Firstly, being an introvert means that I observe and think… a lot!
As part of my nature, I tend to reflect on life and therefore find myself too much in my own head.
The reality is that because of all this thinking I’m also more vulnerable that many might think when first meeting me. This translates into me sharing what aspects of me with others… some might say selective.
A definite benefit of me being an introverted extrovert is that I’ve become an observer of situations, moments, and people.
This enables me to see what’s unfolding in front of me and to interpret what’s really going on, or the layer beneath the surface.
Observing body language and gestures, particularly in a business setting has been very advantageous over the years.
Another aspect is that I often like to stay in versus go out. It’s not that I don’t like social scenes, but I find that they can be tiring. Feeling like I have to be “on” takes its toll.
Even this past year’s Christmas party for work, I went, I stayed until it was okay to leave then beat a hasty retreat. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy it or that it wasn’t fun, it was just too much if you know what I mean.
I also find that I need “me” time each day to recharge my batteries. I don’t function well when I’m surrounded by people too much.
As you know I also feed off positive energy and therefore function better in this type of environment which often brings out my best qualities.
I can’t handle being around negative people or those that drain me. Although I know I’m not alone in this respect, but I have a lower-than-average patience is all I’m saying…
Then concept of being an introverted extrovert was confusing to me growing up. I thought I was just odd and was surprised to learn that it was a real thing and that the behaviours and feelings I had were completely normal.
I often found myself exhausted with the overwhelming feeling of always being on, and felt guilty with wanting alone time far away from everyone.
It totally makes sense that I enjoy my own company, and that at times I crave it.
I suppose it’s just another part of the intricate puzzle of discovering who we really are.
It really does take a lifetime to figure all the component parts and why we are the way we are.
Personally, I find it fascinating to imagine that with 8 billion people in the world we each are different in some small way.
Surely, there are a big percentage of us introverted extroverts kicking about, and I’d like to think that we bring balance to the world.
How about you? Have you ever pondered whether you’re an introvert, extrovert or possibly both?
Or maybe in the grand scheme of things you don’t really care.
As I’ve always said, “you do you” irrespective of what others think…
Until next week
Stephen HensonMay 23, 2023
How wonderful there is a term, ambivert, for the personality trait we seemingly share. You and I first met at a TBEX cocktail party in Bangkok, I think. We were standing alone in a crowded room. We struck up a conversation, and I found you to be immediately interesting. Cocktail parties are the worst for me. I can speak comfortably (to a fault) on stage to hundreds of people, but stick me in a room where I don't know anyone, and I turn instant introvert. Armed with a degree in Psychology one would think I could figure this out, but I struggle. I have always been a better listener and observer than speaker, and that has actually translated into successful careers in sales and marketing (where one is expected to be an extrovert). Sometimes, it is a switch I can turn on/off. Anyway, thanks for shedding light on a personality trait that I now know has a name. Great essay.
TerencewallisMay 24, 2023
Thanks Stephen! Glad we share the same trait. Hope you're well and enjoying life. All the best