Ambivert

Hi. My name is Amy. I am an ambivert.

I first heard the term ambivert last March as the ASCD annual conference. Daniel Pink shared his research about people who have traits of both introverts and extroverts. I was immediately struck by the possibility.

Often, people who know me professionally are shocked when I describe myself as an introvert. They see me as strong, as a leader, as someone who enjoys facilitating professional development, and as coach who isn’t shy or afraid to speak. They also know how fast I can talk and that I can talk a lot! This doesn’t compute with the typical definition of an introvert.

But there is another side to me. When I am in unfamiliar situations (personally or professionally), when I am surrounded by strangers, or when I step outside of my comfort zone, I am a very different person. I am shy. I am often quiet. I do not want to be the center of attention, or to have any attention drawn to me at all if I can avoid it. Being in loud, uncomfortable, social situations drains my energy.

I am an ambivert. There are elements of each personality/ state of being that I can relate to.

  • I am more comfortable in small groups of people I know and trust than I am in unfamiliar crowds.
  • Large crowds suck the energy from me; they are stressful and uncomfortable.
  • I enjoy speaking in front of crowds when I am addressing topics that I know well, that I am passionate about, and that feel confident I can share relevant information with others.
  • I enjoy being alone at times.

The more I recognize these characteristics in myself, the more I see how others do not understand these characteristics. Lately I hear people throw around the phrase “building relationships” a lot. People use this as an evaluation tool, a trait they look for in new leaders, a reason to hire or not hire a candidate, and to label a variety of situations.

If you are quiet, and prefer 1:1 private conversations, or if you don’t shout from the rooftops, does than mean you can’t/don’t/ aren’t good at building quality relationships? I don’t think so. I think that we all, whether intro-, extro-, or ambiverts, build relationships in our own way. I know that I build relationships differently, depending on the situation, the individuals, our commonalities, and our differences. I cannot judge the relationships of others. All I can do is commit to ensuring that each relationship I have is as genuine as it can be, as real as I can make it, within my control.

I’ve recently been re-exploring the world of introverts via the resources below.

Quiet– by Susan Cain- You can read a wikipedia summary of her work here.

Confessions of a Passionate Introvert – TED talk

  • Are you an ambivert? An introvert? An extrovert? A situational ambivert?!
  • How does knowing this about yourself and your colleagues strengthen your work?
  • How can this information help enhance your work with students?

 

 

 

 

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About Amy's Reflections

Director of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
This entry was posted in Reflection and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Ambivert

  1. Barb says:

    Ambiverts unite! Love this post!

  2. Jack Illingworth says:

    I can totally relate.

    Understanding these characteristics Should be – understand these …

    Sent from my mini iPad

    >

  3. explorergarden says:

    Reblogged this on The Tender Heart of Teaching and commented:
    Ambivert: thoughts on being a mixture of introvert and extrovert.

  4. Pingback: Introverts are People Too! | Reflections on Leadership and Learning

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