I'm a self-proclaimed introvert, and I love taking the personality tests associated with such a term. However, I've found myself wondering the same thing a lot of people do- "This question really depends on the situation." While I'm both shy and an introvert, if I am put in a small group situation having to do with work, I often become the leader. Does that have more to do with my Type-A personality (high stress, tendency toward perfectionism)? Probably. But from that alone, you can see there are a variety of aspects that play a part in how we act.
Recently, my brother-in-law sent me some information on Ambiverts. I hadn't heard the exact term, but had thought about the concept before and it makes a lot of sense. As Carl Jung, the founder of these concepts, says, "There's no such thing as a pure introvert or extrovert. Such a person would be in the lunatic asylum."
A few years ago, Psychological Science published a study that confirmed this middle-of-the-road personality type. When examining extrovert's and introvert's ability to close sales, they found those with equal traits did the best. This is good news for introverted entrepreneurs because you do need some sales ability, but you don't need to be an extrovert as often assumed. While being able to network like an extrovert has its advantages, the introvert is often the better listener and in turn, can really connect with a customer's needs. So you can see how having a mix of both would be highly beneficial.
This article, Ambiversion: The Lost Personality Type, by Mateo Sol, does a great job of exploring the alternative notion of Ambiverts. He states in his post,
"I believe that people are simply more dynamically complex than the way we polarize ourselves. The most shameless of party-goers has his insecurities, and the quietest at work can be the wildest at night. Put simply, when we’re in a comfortable environment, we’re more likely to be ourselves.
The majority of us have traits of both personalities which are contextually driven. In other words, the majority of our behavior is a result of our interactions with a situation."
I think we all tend to gravitate toward one end of the spectrum, but that it does rely on the situation and our comfort level. After all, these two personality types are about energy. For an introvert, the situation will be much different if you're interacting with family than if you're interacting with a group of strangers. It seems to take less energy to interact if you're comfortable and can just be yourself. If you find yourself equally energized by quiet time and by interaction, you may be an ambivert.
What do you think? Are you an introvert, extrovert or ambivert; or does it rely solely on the situation for you?