What Is an Ambivert? 10 Signs You Might Be One

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An ambivert refers to someone who exhibits a strong balance of both introverted and extroverted tendencies. Ambiverts may feel like they’re equally comfortable in social situations and when they’re alone. They might also find that their tendencies change based on the situation or their

What Is an Ambivert?

Carl Jung first introduced the concepts of introversion and extroversion.1 Introverts tend to feel energized when they spend time alone or in a small group. They tend to be more quiet and reserved. Extroverts gain energy by spending time in social settings. They tend to be more outgoing and enjoy problem-solving with others.

That said, personality traits are not inherently fixed or rigid. Ambiverts, in many ways, fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, and they may rotate between being more introverted in some situations and being more extroverted in others. An ambivert may relate to feeling energized both by themselves and with people.2

Signs You’re an Ambivert

Ambiverts may notice that they tend to be more introverted during certain times, such as with new people or at work. But they might be extroverted during other times, such as when they’re with family or other close loved ones. Ambiverts may be shy or outgoing, although these traits can also oscillate. While each individual is unique, ambiverts tend to share some shared themes.

Below are ten common signs you may be an ambivert:

1. You Aren’t Completely an Introvert or Extrovert

A typical introvert generally needs a significant amount of time alone to feel recharged. A typical extrovert prefers being around others to achieve this same effect. But an ambivert may find that they can be energized by being alone or being with others. Or they may notice that different situations call for different methods of recharging.

2. You Like Both Individual & Group Projects

Ambiverts generally prefer a mix of individual and group projects at work and school. You do well finishing things independently and can be a self-starter when needed. But, simultaneously, you value the input of interacting with a team and can appreciate the collective efforts associated with problem-solving.

3. You’re Fairly Neutral About Small Talk

Many introverts report that they dislike small talk because it feels inauthentic and draining. Extroverts, on the other hand, may be more receptive to these interactive moments, as they can facilitate a sense of connection. Ambiverts may not have a strong opinion on small talk–they recognize its role in daily conversation and don’t adamantly like or dislike it.

4. Your Need for Alone Time Fluctuates

An ambivert tends to like alone time, but they may be more flexible in approaching it. And if, for some reason, their alone time gets interrupted, such an obstacle may not feel as bothersome as it would for a typical introvert. At the same time, ambiverts can generally spend significant chunks of time with others without feeling depleted.

5. You Sometimes Enjoy the Spotlight

Ambiverts don’t inherently loathe being at the center of attention. However, they don’t want to be in the spotlight all the time. They also don’t mind taking a more observant role when the social situation demands it. In most cases, they tend to be fairly flexible in various social settings.

6. People Have Different Perceptions of You

Some people may find you highly sociable and engaged, whereas others might perceive you as more guarded or withdrawn. This speaks to the spectrum of introverted and extroverted traits an ambivert possesses. Even though all parts are authentically yours, you may feel like you “change” based on the situation.

7. You Have Different Kinds of Friends

Ambiverts enjoy being social, and they may have a decent mix of introverted, extroverted, and ambivert friends. You might find that having this kind of support system energizes you in a balanced way. You also probably have some friends that you’re very close to and some friends who feel like good acquaintances.

8. You Enjoy Being Creative

Like introverts, ambiverts are often creative and introspective. During your alone time, you might value engaging in your hobbies, and you may also be highly artistic. Depending on your mood, you may share your creative endeavors with others, or you may enjoy them privately on your own.

9. You Enjoy Pursuing Your Passions Alone & With Others

Ambiverts tend to be flexible in how they spend their free time. If, for example, you planned on hiking with a friend, you might be disappointed if they canceled, but you’d probably still feel comfortable going out on your own. The opposite may also be true. You might plan to go hiking alone, but you welcome the company if the opportunity presents itself.

10. You Relate to Being an Outgoing Introvert or Reserved Extrovert

An ambivert may lean toward being an outgoing introvert. This is when you enjoy socializing with others, but you generally value alone time to recharge. Ambiverts can also be more reserved extroverts. This is when you gain energy by spending time with others, but you don’t outwardly present as the life of the party.

Benefits of Being an Ambivert

Research on whether personality traits are fixed is mixed. Some studies state that personality is largely stable over time, but others show that personality can change based on lifespan development and life events.3 If you identify with being an ambivert, you may find it beneficial to lean into your natural tendencies. Regardless, by accepting yourself for who you are, you’ll likely feel happier and have a more secure sense of self.

Some of the key benefits of being an ambivert are:

Relationships

Ambiverts have the capacity for balanced, meaningful relationships with others. They don’t mind small talk or having friends for more casual purposes. But they also value having deep relationships where they feel truly connected with their loved ones. Ambiverts can also balance initiating spending time together with just going with the flow.

Compromise

Ambiverts may be more flexible with their social preferences, and that’s because they can (at times) be recharged alone, with a small group of friends, or in larger settings. As a result, they may be more willing to adapt to what someone else in the group prefers.

Balance

Ambiverts may find that it’s easier to implement balance in their lives. They make time for social connection, and they also make time to spend with themselves. They prioritize self-care in various ways, which can mitigate the risk of burning out.

Drawbacks to Being an Ambivert

The main drawback of being an ambivert is that you might feel like people don’t really understand you. At times, you may feel disingenuous for being more engaged and sociable in some settings and quieter than others. It’s also possible that others personalize these shifts and assume either they or you are doing something wrong.

When it comes to emotionally recharging, ambiverts also don’t always know what they need in a given moment. For example, you might think that you want to spend an afternoon alone, but once you’re away from everyone, you feel restless. Or you may assume that brunch with friends is a good idea, but when the time comes, you dread going.

Careers Where Ambiverts Thrive

Working in a job that fits your personality can help you feel more fulfilled in your career. Ambiverts benefit from roles that balance group work and social time with solitude. While they enjoy problem-solving with others, they usually don’t want to be around others 24/7. At the same time, working entirely alone may exacerbate feelings of loneliness.

Teachers

Many successful teachers have ambivert tendencies. They have a quest for learning, and they feel passionate about teaching and connecting with their students. At the same time, they appreciate the alone time associated with lesson planning or grading papers.

Sales

A career in sales is all about a blend of introversion and extroversion. The extroverted tendencies can help you “put yourself out there,” but the introverted micro-skills may support you in building rapport with your clients. Introverted tendencies are also associated with independently researching and understanding customers’ needs.

Project Management

Project management requires you to socialize and connect with others. However, a good bulk of the work also entails strategizing, researching, planning, and writing. You’ll likely spend your days balancing meeting with people while also brainstorming ideas for the specific projects you’re overseeing.

Therapists/Social Workers

Many mental health professionals are ambiverts. They enjoy the depth of their client interactions, but they also prefer having stretches of solitude. Those who are more extroverted may enjoy components of networking, facilitating groups, or taking on management roles.

Lawyers

Lawyers need to be skilled in negotiating challenging situations, and they also need to be level-headed and objective as they do it. Ambiverts may find themselves gravitating toward this career. It mixed introverted traits (researching, writing, planning) with extroverted traits (helping clients and being in court).

How to Maintain Balance as an Ambivert

Striving for balance is important for ambiverts. Because you may not always know what will replenish your energy, it’s essential to be attuned to your needs and pay attention to subtle mood shifts throughout the day. You may go through phases where you identify with feeling more introverted and phases where you feel far more extroverted, which is normal.

Ways to maintain your mental health as an ambivert include:

  • Build and maintain healthy boundaries: Setting healthy boundaries is important for everyone, and ambiverts need to pay attention to the people or situations that consistently drain their energy or cause a sense of resentment.4
  • Maintain your personal health: Eating well and exercising can be highly beneficial for your mental health, which can help you maintain more balance.
  • Seek therapy: If you’re struggling with balance, speaking to a therapist can help. In-person or online therapy options allow you to share your feelings and work on your mental health in a supportive environment.
  • Practice self-compassion: Research shows that self-compassion is one of the best strategies for handling internal criticism or self-judgment. If you struggle with being overly hard on yourself, consider practicing more self-kindness.
  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you build a more profound sense of self-awareness, and it can generally boost your mental well-being, regardless of your external circumstances.

In My Experience

Ambiverts tend to be introspective and sociable. However, these traits don’t inherently safeguard you from, at times, feeling insecure or experiencing various mental health issues. If you’re struggling with something related to being an ambivert (or something entirely different), reaching out for support can improve how you feel.

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