What Is an Ambivert? 5 Signs You're an Introvert & Extrovert Mix

balance and flexibility are the names of the game

what is an ambivert photo of three friends laughing together
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You click on a fun internet quiz: 'Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?' This should be easy, you think. But then, the questions feel, well, off. Asked to choose between spending your weekend hopping from brunches to parties to bars with zero downtime, or holing up in your house and watching Netflix alone, you feel like neither situation suits you. And that’s totally fine, because you, friend, just might be an ambivert.  

What Is an Ambivert?

An ambivert is a person who is neither an introvert or an extrovert, but rather some combination of the two. (As a quick refresher, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Carl Jung popularized the terms introversion and extroversion in the 1920s, though the modern-day understanding and usage are not the same as Jung's original concept.) If extroverts draw energy from being around people and introverts draw energy from solitude (putting it very simply, of course), ambiverts are somewhere in the middle. Personality traits like extroversion and introversion sit on a spectrum. And here’s the thing: Though the conversation around personality types typically centers on introverts and extroverts, ambiverts are probably much more common than you think. Psychologist Adam Grant estimated in the Wall Street Journal that ambiverts make up between a half and two-thirds of the population, meaning a majority of people are, in fact, ambiverts.

How Do I Know If I'm an Ambivert?

1. You Find It Easy to Adjust to the Situation You're in at Any Given Time

If extroverts are social butterflies and introverts are lone wolves, ambiverts are chameleons. Because you enjoy parties and alone time at various points, you’re comfortable in either situation—or situations in between.

2. Some People Would Describe You as a Social Butterfly, While Others Would Describe You as Quiet

You know how there are certain people you can talk to for five seconds before being able to confidently say, “Oh, she’s an extrovert” (or introvert)? Ambiverts are harder to nail down, and depending on the types of relationships you have with folks, they might classify you as either uber social or more reserved. For example, if someone only knows you in the context of going to the same Wednesday night yoga class, they might think you’re an introvert based on how natural you seem in a calm situation. If someone else only knows you in the context of going to happy hour at the same neighborhood spot, they might assume you’re an extrovert based on how you fit in in social situations.

3. You Feel Comfortable Working on Teams or Independently

When it comes to work environments, ambiverts, though they’ll likely have a preference one way or the other, are adept at doing things solo or with others. This, of course, can be a huge asset when it comes to pitching yourself for a promotion or new job: Works well with others—but doesn’t have to.

4. You’re Typically Happy with Your Weekend Plans

Ambiverts are often very self-aware, meaning they know how much socializing they need in relation to downtime. Let’s think about weekend plans: If you’re an introvert, you might be bummed out after the weekend if you had too many plans for your liking and weren’t able to properly charge your social battery. If you’re an extrovert and you weren’t able to hit every social engagement you wanted to, you might feel like you missed out on having as much people time as you wanted. While there will certainly be times when ambiverts are either overstimulated or understimulated, it’s a lot easier to find the right balance when you’re fulfilled by a number of different scenarios.

5. You Can Be Super Indecisive

On the flip side of the previous point, ambiverts can find it hard to make decisions, since they can be pretty sure they’ll feel comfortable in a bunch of different situations. Given the opportunity to go out on Friday night or stay in, an introvert or extrovert will usually have a pretty easy time deciding. Because you know you enjoy each of those options, you might find it trickier to make a choice.

6. You're Often Self-Critical

Michael Alcee, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist, TEDx speaker and author notes in Psychology Today that though ambiverts have many strengths, they sometimes aren't supported in understanding how to optimize these strengths. He explains, "If you’re an ambivert, you may suffer from subtle forms of self-criticism and shame for not being either an extrovert or an introvert, for seemingly having no category and community. Instead, you tell yourself, 'I shouldn’t need this downtime: I’m an extrovert!' or 'Why am I so restless without more social connection? I thought I was an introvert.'"

7. You Bridge the Gap Between Your Introverted and Extroverted Friends, Family and Colleagues

A person who's a full-on extrovert might have a hard time connecting with a person who's a full-on introvert—and vice versa. As an ambivert, you're likely skilled at connecting to both parties, since you're able to relate to each camps for different reasons, and can help bridge the gap between them. You know how your outgoing sister always struggled to relate to your super shy cousin until you connected them via their shared love of The Real Housewives? Classic ambivert move.

What Are the Strengths of Ambiverts?

Ambiverts can really thrive once they learn to harness the strengths of both their introverted and extroverted side. They're often flexible and adaptable, making them adept at dealing with lots of different personality types. Additionally, ambiverts are at an advantage when it comes to knowing how to read a room; whereas an extrovert or introvert might not fully understand or consider how they'll be received, someone with traits of each is skilled at knowing when to speak up and when to lay low.

What Are the Weaknesses of Ambiverts?

As mentioned above, ambiverts have a tendency to be self-critical and indecisive. They also sometimes struggle to find the balance between the introverted and extroverted parts of their personalities. Let's say, for example, that you make plans with friends while feeling particularly extroverted, but when the day of the plans arrives, your introverted side is totally dreading being social.

The Bottom Line

Experts estimate that ambiverts make up at least half of the population, meaning it's a more common personality type than you might've expected. Ambiverts fall somewhere in the middle of the introversion-extroversion spectrum, and as long as they're able to find the balance of those two personality types that works best for them, they're uniquely positioned to benefit from the positive traits of both introverts and extroverts. But remember, while it can be beneficial to know your personality type as a way to become more in touch with your strengths and weaknesses, whether you identify as an ambivert, introvert or extrovert, you shouldn't let generalizations about your personality type hold you back.

Quiz: Are You an Introvert, Extrovert or Ambivert

sarah stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...