Most people are familiar with the terms introvert and extrovert. The difference is whether you recharge by being alone now and then or by surrounding yourself with other people. But in fact there is a very large group of people who are right in between. They are called ambiverts and can behave more introverted at one moment and more extraverted at the next. These are the characteristics of an ambivert.
The Big Five personality test shows you where you stand as a person in terms of extroversion. You always have a certain percentage of introversion in you and also a percentage of extraversion. The exact ratio differs from person to person. For example, I am about eighty percent introverted and also twenty percent extroverted.
However, the curve of the Big Five is normally distributed. That means that the line peaks in the middle and flattens out further to the left and right. So about seventy percent of people are ambivert and about 15 percent of people are more likely to be introverted or extroverted.
Most people are in the middle, as ambiverts. Which side of yourself you show depends on the situation. One moment you prefer to be surrounded by friends, but the next you prefer to be alone. And sometimes you keep a low profile, but you can also talk a lot about things that interest you. As a result, others sometimes find it difficult to know where you stand.
For you as an ambivert, however, it is very easy to switch between more introverted and more extroverted behavior. This is partly innate, but also depends on how you have learned to use this during your life. Do realize that most people are somewhere in the middle, which will make it easier to connect. As an ambivert you can also interact well with both the more introverted and extroverted people.
Differences with introversion and extraversion
Based on my own research, I came to the following definition of introversion:
An introvert is someone who recharges by being alone. That's not to say he doesn't want to be with other people. However, an introvert prefers smaller groups of people on social occasions. He also needs more time to express his thoughts and analyze things than an extrovert does.
The difference with an ambivert is that the latter doesn't feel that much of a need to be alone and that he can express his thoughts more easily. He also does not always feel the need to go into depth, but can sometimes also enjoy smalltalk. It is always about finding the right balance in a particular situation.
Extroverts, on the other hand, often hate being alone. They prefer to surround themselves with other people and like to switch quickly. As a result, they often find it more difficult to concentrate on a certain task for a longer period of time. This has to do with the way the extrovert's brain works. He is less sensitive to dopamine and will therefore look for it sooner and more often.
Are you curious if you are an introvert, an extrovert or an ambivert? You can read more about it in my book.