On a whim, I just took a simple online test here meant to show how extroverted or introverted I am. The test told me that I am an “ambivert,” which lies in the middle of the two. This is not the first time I’ve heard this.
Over the years I’ve thought a lot about my own personality, and not just in the extroversion-introversion sense. For awhile I was very interested in the enneagram, which describes nine different categories of personality (if you’re curious, I’m a six with a seven wing). The extroversion-introversion topic has long been interesting to me because, on the one hand, sometimes I hoped I was more extroverted than I actually was, but on the other hand, there are times where I am undoubtedly extroverted, such as when I’m teaching, public speaking, or performing.
There are also times when I definitely enjoy being a social butterfly. These are typically in workshops, classes, or events where I feel a commonality with other people and feel that there is an implied permission to meet others. In these cases, I do tend to be quite social. For instance, when I trained for CIM in 2021 with Fleet Feet, I was often making friends with other runners. In fact, I preferred to not run too frequently with one runner or group. Often I started a run by myself, but then finished with a runner I met up with on the trail. In this way I balanced having my own independence with socializing.
Overall, I think it is better to be friendly. I usually say “Hi” to passerbys on the street if it feels at all there is an opening. I try to do the same at the gym, and I’m friendly with the baristas at the cafe. At the same time, I have a distinctly private side. There are many times when I really want to be alone. For one thing, I value being able to think and have a clear mind, especially if I’m working on a project or thinking something through. At the same time, I love good conversation and am capable of getting quite energized by discussing things with others.
One thing that helps is being more accepting of myself now. In the past, I sometimes put pressure on myself, for instance, to go to events I didn’t really want to go to. These days, I’m more likely to just skip out. On the other hand, if I do go out, it’s more likely to be something I actually want to do. This will usually go well. I find that when I am in my happy place, I tend to have fun, no matter where I’m at or who I’m with.
In conclusion, as long as I’m reaching for satisfaction, I guess I don’t really care so much about whether I’m “introverted, “extroverted” or “ambiverted!” My goal is to be HAPPY!