Surprise! You May Be An Ambivert

Not an introvert, not quite an extrovert.
Diane Diederich via Getty Images

There's a lot of information out there about introverts and extroverts. But if you don't identify strongly as either one, it's for a good reason: according to psychologist Adam Grant, two-thirds of people are ambiverts.

Ambiverts are those who fall somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert, meaning sometimes you're the life of the party and other times you just want to curl up with a book to recharge your batteries. Or maybe you just fall into a more neutral camp. Sound familiar? Your flexible tendencies can be a good thing.

"Ambiverts can take the best of both," psychologist Brian Little, author of Me, Myself and Us: The Science of Personality and the Art of Well-Being, told The Huffington Post in November. "Those who are ambiverts have rather more degrees of freedom to shape their lives than those who are at extremes of other ends."

But there are drawbacks to being an ambivert, according to The Wall Street Journal. If an ambivert gets stuck in an extroverted role (constantly surrounding themselves with people and spending very little time alone) or introverted role (lots of time in quiet, low key environments) for too long, they can feel bored or burnt out.

“Read each situation more carefully,” Grant advised. “And ask yourself, ‘What do I need to do right now to be most happy or successful?’”

More research needs to be done before we can truly determine what percentage of the population is ambiverted. Personality psychologist Robert R. McCrae told HuffPost that only 38 percent of us are ambiverts, and this could be because people's personalities change over time.

"I think we as humans are essentially half plastered," Little told HuffPost of 19th century psychologist William James' theory that our personalities are "set like plaster" by the time we're 30. "One of the ways in which we have greater tractability and capacity to shift is through engaging in what I call 'free traits' -- an introverted person can act extroverted, and they can do this for some period of time, but not for a protracted period."

A 2013 study conducted on ambiverts also found that they may make better salespeople because they're so socially and emotionally flexible.

“It is like they’re bilingual,” Daniel Pink, author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others, told WSJ. “They have a wider range of skills and can connect with a wider range of people in the same way someone who speaks English and Spanish can.”

Want to know where you fall? Take Pink's quiz here.

Also on HuffPost:

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