Nearly everyone has heard of the terms introvert and extrovert. People commonly use these words to describe personality or how personable a person is. A popular definition for an introvert is a person who is quiet and withdrawn. Whereas a popular definition for an extrovert would be someone who is loud and outgoing. Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, developed the ideas behind psychological type, a theory of personality. He noted that the introversion/extraversion dichotomy was more about one’s orientation of energy. Extroverts focus on the outer world and restore their energy by being around people. Introverts focus on their inner world and restore their energy by reflecting on thoughts and ideas, and spending time on their own. [Source] Most people would define themselves as either an introvert or extrovert, but what happens if you show preferences to both? This is something that many people struggle with, including myself. After reading the definitions of extrovert and introvert, I realized that I could not define myself as one or the other.
I was very curious to see what an actual personality assessment would say about me. I began to try different personality assessments online, but I was not satisfied with the results. Some assessments would say that I am very extroverted, while another assessment told me that I was significantly introverted. I began to get frustrated with these assessments giving me conflicting answers, yet I longed for closure. I needed to know whether I was introverted or extroverted. I searched for a more credible source to answer my questions, and it was right under my nose. In the Career and Internship Services Office there are multiple assessments available for students to take. I researched the different options and found out that the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) would be the best option for me. The MBTI is a personalty assessment that characterizes your preferences on four continuums and creates a 4 letter code that represents your personality type. You are defined as either introversion (I) or extraversion (E), sensing (S) or intuition (N), thinking (T) or feeling (F), and judging (J) or perceiving (P). This is a great personality assessment that can help anyone know more about their own personality preferences. If you are interested in taking the MBTI or one of our other assessments, you can take it at the Career and Internship Services office, which is located in Solon Campus Center 22. The MBTI costs $15, and the information you gain from it is priceless.
After receiving the results of my assessment I was very excited. I was eager to know more about my personality. I scheduled an appointment with a career counselor to go over my results. When I looked at my type I was shocked. For my introversion/extraversion score I was almost dead in the middle of the two. I wasn’t sure what to think of this. I was confused and I was afraid that I would never know what kind of personality preference I had.
After giving this a lot of thought I finally came to a conclusion. Maybe you don’t have to be either introverted or extroverted. Maybe it is possible to have introverted tendencies and extroverted tendencies. Maybe I just have a strong mixture of the two. I began to ponder this thought more and more and it began to make sense. I was very aware of my extroverted personality traits: I like to be around people a lot of the time and I consider myself to have strong interpersonal skills. I also realized that I have quite a few introverted traits, such as I cannot study with other people, I need to be alone. I don’t mind being alone and I appreciate personal reflection time. This is what really confused me: is it possible to have qualities of both introversion and extraversion? After even more research and after speaking with other counselors I came to the conclusion that I am ambivert.
Webster’s dictionary defines an ambivert as “a person having characteristics of both extrovert and introvert.” This described me perfectly and I was very excited to learn that it is not abnormal to have preferences for both introversion and extraversion. It was reassuring to see all of the information available on ambiverts. This assured me that I was not the only one who felt like this, and that there are many others in the world. This made me want to conduct research and experiments to see how ambiverts function in different settings. In the future I will continue to research how ambiverts compare to introverts and extroverts in a professional setting and in other areas. I also want to learn about where ambiverts excel in society, and I am curious to see how my personality compares to others in the world.