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.

Quiet– by Susan Cain- You can read a wikipedia summary of her work here.

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?





About Amy's Reflections

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services in Southern CA, taking time to reflect on leadership and learning
This entry was posted in Reflection and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Ambivert

  1. Barb says:

    Ambiverts unite! Love this post!

  2. Jack Illingworth says:

    I can totally relate.

    Understanding these characteristics Should be – understand these …

    Sent from my mini iPad


  3. explorergarden says:

    Reblogged this on The Tender Heart of Teaching and commented:
    Ambivert: thoughts on being a mixture of introvert and extrovert.

  4. Pingback: Introverts are People Too! | Reflections on Leadership and Learning

  5. Pingback: Turning Talents into Strengths | Reflections on Leadership and Learning

  6. Pingback: One Year Down, Two To Go! | Reflections on Leadership and Learning

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s