Hi. My name is Amy. I am an ambivert.
I first heard the term ambivert last March as the ASCD annual conference. Daniel Pink shared his research about people who have traits of both introverts and extroverts. I was immediately struck by the possibility.
Often, people who know me professionally are shocked when I describe myself as an introvert. They see me as strong, as a leader, as someone who enjoys facilitating professional development, and as coach who isn’t shy or afraid to speak. They also know how fast I can talk and that I can talk a lot! This doesn’t compute with the typical definition of an introvert.
But there is another side to me. When I am in unfamiliar situations (personally or professionally), when I am surrounded by strangers, or when I step outside of my comfort zone, I am a very different person. I am shy. I am often quiet. I do not want to be the center of attention, or to have any attention drawn to me at all if I can avoid it. Being in loud, uncomfortable, social situations drains my energy.
I am an ambivert. There are elements of each personality/ state of being that I can relate to.
- I am more comfortable in small groups of people I know and trust than I am in unfamiliar crowds.
- Large crowds suck the energy from me; they are stressful and uncomfortable.
- I enjoy speaking in front of crowds when I am addressing topics that I know well, that I am passionate about, and that feel confident I can share relevant information with others.
- I enjoy being alone at times.
The more I recognize these characteristics in myself, the more I see how others do not understand these characteristics. Lately I hear people throw around the phrase “building relationships” a lot. People use this as an evaluation tool, a trait they look for in new leaders, a reason to hire or not hire a candidate, and to label a variety of situations.
If you are quiet, and prefer 1:1 private conversations, or if you don’t shout from the rooftops, does than mean you can’t/don’t/ aren’t good at building quality relationships? I don’t think so. I think that we all, whether intro-, extro-, or ambiverts, build relationships in our own way. I know that I build relationships differently, depending on the situation, the individuals, our commonalities, and our differences. I cannot judge the relationships of others. All I can do is commit to ensuring that each relationship I have is as genuine as it can be, as real as I can make it, within my control.
I’ve recently been re-exploring the world of introverts via the resources below.
Confessions of a Passionate Introvert – TED talk
- Are you an ambivert? An introvert? An extrovert? A situational ambivert?!
- How does knowing this about yourself and your colleagues strengthen your work?
- How can this information help enhance your work with students?