It's becoming increasingly common to view extroversion and introversion as a scale or spectrum, rather than an either/or issue — and all I can say is, it's about dang time. The word “ambivert” finally gives people who don't consider themselves either extroverts or introverts, but rather something in between, a term by which to refer to themselves — and although we're all more than mere labels, sometimes they're kind of useful to help us figure out who we are. But how can you tell if you're an ambivert?
That's where this quick little quiz from The Quiet Revolution comes in. It's not an official psychological personality inventory in the same way that, say, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory is — but it does shed some light on ambiversion as a whole. Honestly, I'm willing to bet that most of us have at least a few qualities characteristic of both introversion and extroversion… but hey, at least we can find out whether we lean more to one end of the spectrum or the other or whether we sit pretty squarely in the middle now, right?
When I was a kid, I was often described as extroverted. I was both precocious and a talker, which typically caused people (mainly grownups) to label me as “outgoing” and “colorful” — and because everyone else thought of me as extroverted, I generally thought of myself as extroverted, too. As I got older, though, I started to realize that maybe I wasn't as extroverted as I thought. Sure, I generally do fine in social situations; I don't always seek them out, though, because to be honest, I find them pretty draining. I'm not exactly shy, but I'm not the most outgoing of people, either. So what was I? An extrovert with some slight introverted tendencies? An introvert disguised as an extrovert? Something else entirely?
That's why I find personality models like STAR — which stands for “Social, Thinking, Anxious, Restrained” — so much more useful than the plain ol' Big Five personality inventory: They don't boil it down to, "Yes, you're an introvert" or "Yes, you're an extrovert." And if we do have to think of extroversion and introversion as being on either end of something, then at least ideas like ambiversion place them on a spectrum, rather than as flip sides of the same coin. Ambiverts fall somewhere in the middle, which means they display characteristics associated with both extroversion and introversion — proving that it's possible to be outgoing and not really a people person.
So in an attempt to find out whether I really am an ambivert, I went looking for a test. As always, there's only so much a little online quiz can really tell you about yourself; as such, I'm still taking my results with a grain of salt. It's a good place to start, though, so let's take a look, shall we?
The Quiet Revolution's “Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?” quiz is only 10 questions long, but they're 10 very specific questions. The test asks us to rank each statement depending on how much it sounds like us from a choice of five options — “Very characteristic or true, strongly agree,” “characteristic, “neutral,” “uncharacteristic,” and “very uncharacteristic or untrue, strongly disagree” The statements include things like:
The only reason I didn't check “very characteristic” here is that it can sometimes depend on my mood. Although typically I'm much more of a solitary person than a social one, sometimes I really enjoy being out in the world — especially if I haven't gotten out much lately, which is always a danger when you live in a tiny little suburb.
I like to gather the facts first. I feel it makes my decisions better informed.
Nope — more often I was described as a chatterbox.
I tend to feel kind of awkward if I'm just standing alone in a corner at a gathering, so when I'm at them, I typically try to stay near the people.
My work environment doesn't often matter to me. I don't get distracted easily; in fact, I'm more likely to lose myself in my work than I am to lose myself in anything else. As my SO can attest, it's really hard to pull me away from whatever I'm working on — I get a little bit single-minded about it.
So how did it all turn out? Well...
It's possible that I'm suffering from confirmation bias here, but honestly? My results make perfect sense. I'm solitary and not really a people person (although I don't really hate people as much as I say I do — for the most part), but sometimes it's nice to go out and be sociable. I'm somewhat awkward, but typically OK in social situations; outwardly, I look relatively outgoing, even if I'm kind of faking it (because you know what they say about faking it til you make it).
So what do we do with the knowledge that we're introverts, extroverts, or something else somewhere in between? Pretty much whatever you want. I'm content to let it lie, for the most part; it's useful for me to know, and explains some of my quirks, but I don't feel the need to rearrange my entire life based around it or anything. Then again, I already had a pretty good idea about who I am — if it's totally eye-opening for you, it might prompt a huge life change. Your call!
Head here to take the Quiet Revolution personality test.