February 5, 2013

Ambiverts - Moderate Better than Extreme

If there's one theme that I see over and over in the news, in conflict, and even in religion, is that moderate views and moderate practices are better than the extremes.

The "ambivert" discovery is the new hottest thing, although it really shouldn't be.

The world, it seems, up until now, has been divided into "extroverts" and "introverts," with the media and schools heavily preferring the former. It's considered common sense that being an extrovert is better than being an introvert. Being "shy" and "quiet" is negative. Being "gregarious" and "outgoing" is positive.

But a new study is showing that at least in some situations, this isn't the case.

I have been both called and introvert and an extrovert in my life, in different situations. But since being an introvert is "bad," that's what I thought I was for many, many years, as the sting of being called an "introvert" always hurt more than the praise of being an "extrovert." Plus, people who are extroverts don't receive the vocal praise in equal amounts that an introvert is criticized.

But when I take those extrovert/introvert tests, I'm in the middle. What does that mean?

About a year ago, when talking about this on Facebook with a friend, I came up with the term "ambivert" and joked that's what I was.

Well, now, it's actually being acknowledged as a "thing." And not only that, but lauded as being even better than an extrovert.

I think a lot more people identify with this idea. And I also think that being an extrovert/introvert is a sliding scale. Nobody is 100% extrovert and nobody is 100% introvert.

But not only that, but each of us has a range on that scale. Some days and in some situations we are more extroverted than others.

Do you know a person who is quiet until you get to know him, then he's very talkative and outgoing?
Do you know a person who is very social and loves to be in front of a crowd, but also disappears for hours to do things alone?
Do you know a person who is chatty when it's a topic they know, but quiet when it's a topic they aren't knowledgeable about?

These people are ambiverts. They like people, and want to be around them, but also need their space. They can gauge when to be more gregarious, and other times know when to be quiet and wait. They are sometimes the life of the party, and other times, the one sitting in the back having a quiet conversation with someone or just watching the crowd.

I hope this idea gets more traction, because just like in so many other arenas of life, being in the middle of the sliding scale, with the ability to move back and forth between a small range without swinging to extremes is almost always the best.

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