Ambivert, or an approximation thereof


From The Bad Chemicals. Used by permission.

When I’ve said to people that I am an introvert, some people laugh. “You’re so friendly,” or some such.

So I’ve decided to try on the term ambivert. It showed up on my radar recently via one of those Word A Day emails I get. “MEANING: noun: One having the characteristics of both an extrovert and an introvert. NOTES: An ambivert is one who can be an extrovert or an introvert depending on the situation.”

Maybe that’s correct. The MacMillan Dictionary notes: “The word ambivert was created by American social scientist Kimball Young in 1927.” Ah, the year my mom was born.

Ambiverts often:

Enjoy social settings but also crave time alone.I NEED time alone. But I do all right in social settings.

Have a good sense of when to trust others and when to hold back. I tend to be in the “hold back” category unless I trust the people.

Feel comfortable almost anywhere, whether in a loud restaurant with a large group of friends or home alone reading a book. Well, maybe with a small group of friends, pre-pandemic. And almost never in a loud setting. Even in my twenties, I found the cacophony of a large group impossible to hold a decent conversation in. I’ll take a book or magazine.

Give me a break!

Feel an urge to take breaks from social activities. THAT is undeniably true. But currently, I crave it. A lot, actually.

Have excellent communication skills and are good listeners. I communicate OK. But, even going back to high school, I was a very good listener. It was almost an odd Father Confessor thing, except I didn’t get into the absolution aspect. I know LOTS of secrets people have been willing to share with me over the years.

Have difficulty making decisions. Not really. Certainly not now. I get a menu, eyeball it, and make a decision quickly. My wife once bought me a winter coat for Christmas. The first coat I put on that was warm enough and looked good, I picked; ten minutes. My wife said, “Don’t you want to try on some others?” No, thanks.

Work well alone or in groups. I do work well alone. Whether I work well in groups depends on the functionality, or dysfunction, of the collective.

Get along with lots of different kinds of people. I actually believe this true. One of my blogger friends is a self-described conservative Republican but we can count on each other in difficult times.
Make good entrepreneurs. In the latter stages of my time there, I was really good at facilitating the running of an extant operation, FantaCo. This allowed the owner, Tom, to deal with the “big picture” issues. Having worked as a librarian helping small businesses for over a quarter-century, I know what steps to take, and likely, how to operate it. What I lack is, as Bush 41 put it, the “vision thing,” some product or service I’d be so personally invested in that I’d want to hang out my shingle.

So maybe I’m an introvert-leaning ambivert.


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