Three very different people types: extroverts, introverts and the very little known ambivert. I find that people have great misconceptions about what people with these three personality types can and cannot do. In general, I hear comments that extroverts do outgoing jobs that involve people and they are very successful, introverts don’t play well with others and they hide in closets, and ambiverts…what’s that?
Introversion, extroversion, and ambiversion are often misunderstood because people believe that the term refers to what people enjoy. However, the term actually refers to the source of energy input and depletion.
Extroverts gain great energy from interacting with people. Other humans are like fuel pumps. The more they interact with other people the stronger they feel. After spending an eight hour day talking to and meeting new people they are so energized that they feel like they could climb a mountain.
On the other hand, if they spend too much time alone they feel the energy draining from their body. After an eight hour day working in a room with no other humans and not a single conversation they feel so drained that they can barely make it to the dinner table before falling into bed exhausted.
Introverts, are the opposite of extroverts. Interacting with people drains the energy from them. This doesn’t mean that they don’t like people. Many introverts function in jobs where investing in people is the primary reason they exist. Pastors, counselors, coaches, teachers, doctors, nurses, etc. No profession or calling is off limits to introverts. However, being an introvert means that after a very fulfilling day of interacting with people they are completely exhausted and need time alone to recharge their personal batteries.
Introverts who work in high human interaction careers are more likely to close their office door and read a book during lunch than hang out with co-workers. Don’t take offense. This is not an indicator that they are not a team player. This is an indicator that they recognize what they need to gain strength to make it through the remainder of the day. Tell an introvert that they can spend a week in a little cabin in the woods all alone and they will tell you that upon their return they will be ready to conquer the universe!
Ambiverts are an entirely different animal. These are the ones who both get their energy from other people yet are completely drained by direct human contact. Being isolated for too long completely wears them out and they have to find humans to bring them back to life. Ambiverts might tell you that their favorite activity is being alone in a public place. People watching at a restaurant while dining alone is a comfortable welcoming experience that gives them life. Going to a party means hanging out on the sidelines contently watching as the extroverts work the room meeting everyone. Just being at the party with other people gives them energy. But, having to personally interact and have one on one conversations with too many individuals would quickly turn a potentially energizing evening into a night that could leave them completely exhausted.
Whether people are introverts, extroverts, or ambiverts they can all enjoy or dislike the same activities. All can enjoy being alone. All can enjoy being with other people. How they physically and mentally feel after these experiences is where the real impacts come into play.