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10 Signs You Are Probably An Ambivert

10 Signs You Are Probably An Ambivert

Common thought holds that there are two types of social personalities. Extroverts are the norm, and they tend to draw energy from their physical and social environment and interactions in highly social situations. Introverts have been getting more attention recently, as characterized by Susan Cain in her work Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Not surprisingly, introverts tend to draw their power from solitude and silence.

But there might be a third category of social personality: the ambivert. You may be an ambivert and not know it, but with this list of signs, you can diagnose yourself and plan accordingly.

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1. You are most comfortable in crowded spaces, but when you are in them, you don’t tend to seek out interaction.

Whether it’s at a party full of people you are somewhat familiar with, or in a coffee shop full of fellow writers knocking out their next best-sellers, ambiverts tend to want to be around but not with people. If you find yourself consistently seeking out crowded spaces so that you can blend in, you might be an ambivert.

2. You tolerate or engage in small talk, but can get very engaged in intimate conversations.

You know what the requirements of making small talk are (What’s the whether like? What happened in a generic pop culture moment?), but you often find yourself getting engrossed in deeply intimate and sometimes existential conversations. If you find yourself surviving small talk, but living for the conversations about the meaning of life, this is a sign you are an ambivert.

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3. You adjust your personality based on the energy level of the company you are in.

Because you are flexible, you find yourself shifting personalities sometimes. If you are with a high energy, highly-extroverted person, you will try to rein them in by becoming more reserved. If you are with an introverted person, you will try to dial them up.

4. You might be the life of the party – until you are 100% drained and cannot manage that energy any longer.

Ambiverts can dial up their story-telling abilities and their energy levels and hold a crowd – but only for so long. If you find yourself holding court for a while and then hitting a wall, you’re an ambivert.

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5. In spite of being the life of the party at times, you find it hard to assert yourself and your needs in intimate situations.

You think a person who can hold court at a party would be unafraid of telling others what they need in smaller settings, but in reality, it’s often hard for ambiverts to make it clear what they need in a small setting. When asked about themselves in intimate conversation, ambiverts often stumble over their words. Intimate conversations are supposed to be about the meaning of life or the significance of a new film or a societal ill, and not about something silly like yourself, right?

6. Meeting new people is fine, and being in new places is fine, but meeting new people in new places overwhelms you.

Like a childhood teddy bear, ambiverts need to hold onto something familiar. If you are intending to meet new people, you’d rather it occur in a familiar place, and if you are going to a new place, it better be with those you trust. Throwing both together is too much.

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7. You can’t decide which is a better memory – that one party or that night spent alone watching Netflix.

Ambiverts treasure both situations equally. They may spend a whole weekend partying in the same suit or dress, or they might spend a whole weekend in sweat on the couch, and they will love both situations equally.

8. You understand very quickly what drives others.

Ambiverts know both social personality types, and so they can immediately tell which person is which. They know what drives the party girlfriend and the bookworm friend, mostly because they’ve lived both situations themselves.

9. Group projects or solo ones – you always achieve the same (high) level.

Ambiverts have no preference about whether to complete tasks alone or with others, but they tend to be able to drive the project to completion regardless. Depending on the people involved or the content, they tend to enjoy both.

10. You’ve been called both an extrovert and an introvert, and didn’t know there was another option until now.

Your book club wonders how you can be so outgoing, and your party people wonder why the heck you are in a book group. Until know, you didn’t know which category you fit into, because it was neither! Congratulations, you have figured yourself out, you complicated ambivert, you!

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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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