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10 Signs You Are Probably An Ambivert (And You Didn’t Know It Until You Read This)

10 Signs You Are Probably An Ambivert (And You Didn’t Know It Until You Read This)

Nowadays, if you identify as an introvert or an extravert, the internet is a wonderful resource for you to affirm your sense of self, find a community of similar individuals and celebrate the personality trait that strongly influences your social life. But what about the people who cannot place themselves squarely into either of the two categories made popular by psychologist Carl Jung?

If you are not the textbook example of an introvert or an extravert, do not fear. You might be an ambivert!

Knowing where you fall on this introversion-extraversion spectrum is not a trivial fact that you could maybe bring up during dinner if you felt like it. Being aware of which environments you flourish in can help you improve your relationships with others, choose a satisfying career and search for the right life partner.

1. Your friends have a hard time classifying you as an introvert or an extrovert

This is probably one of the best signs that you might be an ambivert. Often times, we can manipulate our thoughts into making ourselves believe we possess a desirable personality trait. Your friends may even know you better than you know yourself, especially when it comes to judging how you tend to behave socially. If they’re confused, you could very well be an ambivert.

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2. Your energy isn’t drained when you’re alone, nor do you feel exhausted after lots of socialization (or maybe you tend to be drained by both equally)

One of the most popular ways of defining introverts and extraverts is the fact that introverts can be social but are drained by that use of their time, whereas extraverts feel drained of energy after spending too much time in solitude. Personality psychologist Brian Little explains that ambiverts have the best of both worlds.

Compared to introverts and extraverts, Little says, “Ambiverts are in that nice zone, in that sweet spot, where they’re able to act out of character as a pseudo-introvert or a pseudo-extravert, without paying the nervous system costs.”

If you do not think there is much of a difference between the energy you spend talking to people at a cocktail party and what you spend reading a book in bed, you could be an ambivert.

3. You are usually satisfied with your weekend plans

Whether you have been invited to a large party or you’ve decided to eat in and watch movies with a close friend, you are satisfied, and even happy. This may have to do with you being a happy person in general, or it could be your body making it much easier for you to feel that way. Being an introvert or an extravert means more than just being sociable or not being sociable, it also affects how easily you are aroused by external stimuli (or your threshold for stimulation).

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In this infant study, developmental psychologist Jerome Kagan performed an enlightening experiment to confirm that introverts have low thresholds for stimulation, meaning that they are affected by the weakest of stimuli and hence tend to seek out calm and quiet places, while extraverts have high thresholds for stimulation, so it takes a lot of extra chaos for them to feel stimulated. Ambiverts, unlike introverts and extraverts, do not have very high or very low thresholds for stimulation, allowing them to feel comfortable in almost all environments, in this case during any weekend plans.

4. During conversations you know when to keep quiet and when to talk, and you do them both relatively easily

An introvert might know when to talk, due to their hypersensitivity in social situations, but may not feel like speaking out in a large group of people. An extravert, on the other hand, might not realize when to stop talking. Ambiverts are right in the middle, so they are more intuitive than extraverts when it comes to knowing when their input is required, and less likely than introverts to keep quiet in social contexts. Again, to clarify, introverts can also speak up and extraverts can keep quiet, but the ease that ambiverts possess while performing these tasks is not possessed by the other two kinds of people.

If you find that making the right decision in social situations is relatively simple for you than it is for your introvert and extravert friends, you could be an ambivert.

5. You are emotionally stable during a concert, a yoga session and everything in between

Introverts discover that they are emotionally stable in quieter places, while extraverts generally flourish in louder, more lively places. An introvert in a loud environment will find it difficult to remain emotionally stable, while an extravert will feel emotionally unstable in quiet places. Ambiverts have the benefit in most situations because they are highly adaptable, which also makes them emotionally stable during a wider range of experiences – from the earsplitting loud music at a concert to the quiet bliss of a yoga session.

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6. You don’t relate completely with posts about introverts and extraverts

This is probably the first sign that you may not be an introvert or an extravert, but it is definitely not foolproof. Some people who lean towards being one trait may not necessarily relate with every single point about that personality trait, but if you have a feeling you are in the middle, you might be. Also, you may not be able to relate completely with friends who confidently call themselves introverts or extraverts.

7. You can’t empathize with people who are not able to sit through loud social gatherings or are uncomfortable with time spent alone

You probably sympathize with such individuals and acknowledge that it is possible for them to have trouble in these situations. But that’s as far as you can go. Because you have the ability to navigate both situations without struggle, you aren’t fully able to understand what it might feel like to desperately desire time alone or time with people.

8. You meet more people who are like you

This may have to do with the fact that we choose friends who we relate to, but it could also have something to do with the fact that the number of ambiverts in the human population is just higher. The number of self-described introverts is lowest, the number of extraverts is a bit higher and the number of ambiverts beats them both. Many people respond to descriptions of ambiverts with, “Wait, aren’t all people like this?” No, not all people are ambiverts, but in general, most people are.

9. You are shy or stable and hence mistaken about your introvert or extravert status

Shyness and stability are personality traits that are separate from those of introversion and extraversion. However, because both traits influence people’s social lives in similar ways, the presence of one can influence the perceived presence of the other. In other words, you could be a shy ambivert but swear that you are an introvert, or you could be a stable ambivert and feel like more of an extravert.

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Even psychological assessments like the MBTI (Myers-Briggs Type Indicator) may place you as either an introvert or an extravert, but the real reason your answers make you seem like one or the other is because of your shyness or stability. If you are shy, insecurities or the worry of being negatively judged are what keep you from being as sociable as you would like to be, which is different from being an introvert, for whom the possibility of being more social may seem appealing. But actually being social when they don’t need to doesn’t make them feel satisfied, or it instead makes them feel worse.

10. Right now, you feel like me after watching the first episode of “The Mindy Project”

You may have never noticed the emptiness in your soul from never reading an article that addressed your personality trait, and after reading this one, you have realized that emptiness. It’s just like how I hadn’t realized the lack of (counter-stereotypical) Indian-American television and film characters had affected me until I watched “The Mindy Project” and felt so unbelievably proud of Mindy Kaling, almost like being Indian made us sisters. If you are finally feeling a similar gratitude of being represented on the internet, congratulations, you are an ambivert! (And we’re sorry it took so long.)

So how did you do? Did you relate to all 10 signs?

You’re probably an ambivert!

But keep in mind that human beings are never 100% anything. Psychologist have made divisions of this introvert-extravert spectrum, but there really is no distinct line that divides introverts from ambiverts and ambiverts from extraverts. Some people can distinguish themselves, because they are close enough to the extremes. You could be an ambivert, or just slightly introverted or extraverted. You could be a shy extravert or a stable ambivert, a shy ambivert or a stable introvert.

The final take away? Try being more self-aware, keep track of what experiences make you happy and which ones you would feel happier doing without. Taking tests and reading articles to measure your personality traits definitely help, but they are not final, indisputable assessments of your personality. Only you can truly figure out where and when you feel most fulfilled.

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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