Ambivert.

Ambivert. It’s a new word. So new in fact that there’s a spell check line underneath it. Also because it’s a completely made up word.

Okay, so I should probably warn you, I’m a little bitter on this subject.

That being said, I’ll be as honest as I feel. ‘Ambivert’ is not a thing. It’s a word someone made up to make themselves or someone they know feel better. It’s kind of like a horoscope: you read all the information and you’re like, “oh. Well, yeah, that could be me” when really, it could be anyone. Well, almost anyone. Let me explain:

There’s kind of a spectrum of introversion and extroversion. On one side is the person who is, completely, without a doubt, an introvert. On the other side, the extreme extrovert. In between that is a scale and people fall on lots of places between the two extremes. Rarely is anyone so completely introverted that they have no extroverted qualities or so extroverted they have no introverted qualities from time to time. You can be one while demonstrating traits of the other.

People are now trying to place ambivert in the middle of that scale. They are trying to add grey to a scale that’s black and white. People can be grey, don’t get me wrong, but the scale is black and white. You can be a shy extrovert. You can be an outgoing introvert. It doesn’t make you an ambivert.

I understand the temptation to fall for this made up word; to fit yourself into a category so that you do not have to choose which one you are. I especially understand your confusion if you’re like me, falling directly on the line between introvert and extrovert; if it literally depends on the day which one you are. Yes, there is a temptation to just ignore it all together and call yourself an ambivert and get on with your life. In fact, if you want to do that, go for it. But if you’re being the life of the party with all of your friends and then decide you just want to be alone and all the people wore you out, you’re not an ambivert. You’re an outgoing introvert.

Maybe this all stems from the fact that people still are confused on the definitions of introvert and extrovert. Let me just clear that up. Introverts need to ‘recharge’ by themselves. They need time to themselves to feel well rested. For extroverts, the opposite is true. They need time with people to feel rejuvenated and recharged. That’s all it comes down to. Just because you’re quiet does not mean you’re an introvert. The exact opposite could be true.

And, while I’m on my soapbox that no one reads, let me just say this: if you think someone is an extrovert and they swear they’re an introvert, for crying out loud, just believe them! Unless you’ve crawled inside their body, lived a life in their shoes, and felt what they’ve felt, you have no idea what they are. Some of the most outgoing people I’ve met are introverts. Just let people figure themselves out- don’t do it for them.

As for me, I said I was directly on the line. That’s pretty true, though I’m probably 52% extrovert and 48% introvert. For me, it depends on my stage of life and, honestly, how healthy I am, if I’m an introvert or an extrovert. But I charge either way. Sometimes people energize me, sometimes they drain me. Sometimes I relish in the peace of being by myself, sometimes I get restless. And people argue over which one I am and then tell me which one I am. And now they’ve started to call me an ambivert. But let me assure you: I am both an introvert and an extrovert.

And I’m no more an ambivert than I am a unicorn.

I think my main point is this: tell yourself you are whatever you think you are. But don’t put other people in a box just because they don’t fit the mold in your mind. We’re all created in a unique way and you won’t always understand the person sitting next to you. And you know what? That’s okay. Personality tests were made to help us better understand ourselves and, while they’re fascinating, I think they can hold us back sometimes. You don’t always fit the mold, or in my case, you never do. But introvert, extrovert, or unicorn, just be you.

-Melissa

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