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20 Things Only Those Who Are Neither Introverts Nor Extroverts Understand

20 Things Only Those Who Are Neither Introverts Nor Extroverts Understand

Are we like others? Do we exhibit the same traits as our peers, can we be put in a neat little box, or are we unique? Not to get too existential right at the start – but although you’ll find that all people have certain very specific traits that make them who they are, most of us can relate on some level. We all like to belong, to have a group that understands us and shares our interests. This is why you’ll see so many articles online detailing the good and the bad sides of being either an introvert or an extrovert. But what if I told you that you don’t have to identify with one or the other?

Morpheus

    There are actually a lot of people out there who can exhibit some textbook introvert behavior, but at other times they seem like a true extrovert. We are often called ambiverts, but I’m not that big on names, so I just see myself as an in-betweener. It can be a bit weird when you can see eye to eye with both people who like to keep to themselves and people who are always out making friends, yet can’t truly be understood by those living either extreme. There are some things that only those who fall somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert will understand, things like…

    1. We are only an extrovert as long as we need to break the monotony

    Bored

      If you live the life of an introvert (e.g. doing things on your own or being passive during conversations) and yet are not a true introvert, it’s easy to get into a rut. When I get into a routine I start to get nervous, and start planning fun activities with my friends and family. However, I’m only going to party for as long as I need to spend most of that extra energy, and then it’s back to the Fortress of Solitude.

      2. We sometimes wish to be all by our lonesome, but still have plans for later

      alone

        It’s easier than ever to just focus on yourself and have some quality alone time. Just one look at the online shopping statistics is enough to show you that a lot of people prefer sitting at their computer than driving around town and interacting with other people. While I personally enjoy having a quiet day to myself once a week – ordering food and doing my shopping online, listening to music, doing a little dance as I brew a fresh cup of coffee – I still make sure that I’ve got something interesting planed for tomorrow. I know I’ll recharge my batteries and want to have fun with others in a day or two.

        3. We hear about introverts and extroverts, and realize that we can’t choose a side

        something in common

          Did you ever get the feeling that you might have a lot in common with a person, only to say to yourself “Nope, you lost me there buddy,” half way through the conversation? Well, that’s how I feel most of the time. I’ll be there talking to someone who seems to like some of the things I like, but then they go off the rails. Yes I might enjoy hiking – but camping out in the woods for several days with a group of people, followed by other “fun group activities” is really not my thing. At this point an introvert might chime in with “Yeah, it’s much more relaxing to go running by yourself and then read some good books”, at which point you’re just going to have to give up.

          4. We are able to relate to nearly everyone, which is a double edged sword

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          double edged sword

            Another fun thing about being able to relate to the vast majority of people (at least to some extent) is that nearly everyone you meet will want to be your friend. “Hey, you’re a really cool guy, we’ve got so much in common, let’s hang out” – they’ll all chirp happily, but the truth is you simply don’t want or need hundreds of friends. Your introvert side will start panicking and tell you to run for the hills, but your extrovert side will keep getting you into these situations because it’s fun to meet new people.

            5. We don’t mind spending long hours learning something new or developing a skill

            working hard

              When not out meeting new people and making friends through no fault of my own, I tend to spend a decent amount of time hiding from the friends I do enjoy being around, simply because I want to focus on a hobby. You’d be surprised at all the things you can learn if you put in the time and the effort. Chances are you’ve lied about being sick so you can spend a couple of extra hours working on a DIY project or learning French.

              6. We lose focus if we become too isolated

              stupid brain

                While there are times when I will happily go for a run or work on my skills instead of sitting around talking to people, if I go too long without human contact my brain tends to wonder off. I keep thinking about all the fun people are having without me, and I start to miss the long random conversations I have with my best friends over a couple of beers. At some point you can’t really get anything done, because it becomes impossible to focus on the task at hand, and you end up reaching for the phone.

                7. We can sometimes spend 48 hours partying, then go back to quietly sipping coffee with friends

                party hard

                  I’ve mentioned the need for partying that you get after spending a long time on your own, but the truth is that sometimes you just feel full of life and want to do as many exciting things as you can, all at once. Now that I’m a bit more mature and happily married, a nice vacation or a fun weekend out of town with the Missus and our daughter is enough, but when I was younger I’d party for two or three days straight. People who met me during the party phase tended to be surprised at how relaxed and quiet I was when they saw me mere days later.

                  8. We tend to be quite intuitive and can sense how people feel, but sometimes we just don’t care

                  feelings

                    Having spent a lot of time talking to a wide range of different people, I can tell you that being an ambivert makes it a lot easier to sense how people feel, as you can put yourself in their shoes for the most part. However, being able to understand others and being emphatic are not the same thing, and while the tendency is to make an effort to comfort people or hear them out, there are just some times where you can be focused entirely on yourself and not really care.

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                    9. We catch ourselves sitting quietly and observing others every now and then

                    watching silently

                      During those times when I feel especially introspective I often catch myself just kind of sitting there, with a bunch of friends who are chatting over a cup of coffee. It’s not as if you’re not listening to what is being said or that you’re in a bad mood, it’s just that you get contemplative and start observing the whole situation like an outsider gathering information. You can feel warm and cozy in your own head, and really not have much to say, although you actually enjoy the company.

                      10. We can also get excited and become the life of the party in the right circumstances

                      life of the party

                        It always amazed me how fast I could go from quiet and somewhat distracted to chatty and witty when the mood struck. For me it was always about having the right kind of people around, and I usually needed someone to give me a push in the right direction by bringing up a topic I am passionate about. It is a wonderful transformation, but that euphoric feeling can dye down slowly if there is no-one to keep feeding the fire.

                        11. We sometimes spend time among people we don’t know, and we tend to get really shy

                        shy

                          You see, one of the biggest triggers that pushes most ambiverts into “fun and talkative mode” is the presence of good friends. As long as you have someone you know well with you, you can relax because you know you can switch between casually talking to a friend and telling a few interesting stories to a few people that were part of the extended group. However, once you’re among strangers, you become shy and somewhat clumsy.

                          12. We will still get quite talkative among good friends

                          talking with friends

                            Ah, those rare moments of pure bliss when you get a little drunk with a few good friends and start blabbing about random little things, jumping from topic to topic and barely even stopping for breath. These are great opportunities for those who only know you as the quiet and mysterious one to see your other side.

                            13. We have clear spikes and lulls in our activity levels throughout the week

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                            activity lulls and spikes

                              If my life was presented in graph form, it would probably look something like the lines on a heart monitor. Oh sure, there are strong heartbeats in there, and during those periods we are larger than life. Our phone won’t stop ringing, we keep looking for people to hang out with on social media and there is always someone at our house having a coffee or a beer. However, there is a noticeable silence in between beats, with plenty of missed calls and quiet nights in front of the TV with significant others.

                              14. We surprise our close friends when they see us being reserved during social occasions

                              reserved gentleman

                                Because of all that talking that we ambiverts tend to do around close friends, they envision us as a social butterfly. They think that we are talkative and relaxed in all other occasions, because that is what they have experience with. My friends would experience shock and confusion when they saw me, the quirky chatty guy, just smiling politely and exchanging a few words here and there during big social gatherings.

                                15. We often find that we just want to leave a party and spend the rest of the night alone

                                so long farewell

                                  This one is very difficult to explain to people – I actually like hanging out with friends and a bunch of people I don’t know, as long as I am in a good mood and the atmosphere is stimulating. I have a specific taste and there are several things that I find fun, and if none of these elements is present then I simply leave. It might have been a good party at the start, but it’s not uncommon for me to start thinking that I’d have a much better time watching a movie at home or scrolling around social media.

                                  16. We find it’s easy to get confused about what we really want

                                  i do not know what i want

                                    Given the fact that ambiverts can be all over the place when it comes to their energy levels and general mood, we often find ourselves confused about what we want. I’ve had friends get mad at me because they thought I was messing with them when I would change my mind about whether I wanted to go out about 6-7 times in 10 minutes. The switch between introvert and extrovert is not always a smooth and easy one, and it pays to have patient and understanding friends.

                                    17. We like to talk for hours on some subjects, but small talk bores us out of our mind

                                    small talk

                                      I’ve already mentioned that my friends tend to see me as a chatty person, and I’ve been known to be quite interesting when meeting new people if the conversation steers towards something I find interesting – however simple social interactions where people keep up the pretense that they respect and enjoy each other’s company can drive you mad. I never liked talking about the weather or asking arbitrary questions like “How’s the wife?” or “So, what have you been up to?” just to kill the time or because I bumped into someone I haven’t seen in a while in the street.

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                                      18. We never feel truly bored, but we can get a bit lonely at times

                                      lonely

                                        I’ll be the first one to say that you can be your own company as long as you have a little bit of imagination, a sense of humor and a positive attitude. However, while I won’t necessarily run out of things to do on my own or with a few close friends, I can get definitely get lonely and start missing the chatter and laughter you get with a group. This is why we can’t stay passive and closed in our own heads for too long.

                                        19. We don’t spend too much time socializing because it can drain our mental energy

                                        Mentally draining

                                          Just as sitting around the house and going to the same few coffee shops with one or two close friends tends to eventually push ambiverts into a more active phase, so too does being overly friendly, going to all the big events and being around other people on a daily basis cause us to eventually go into hibernation. It’s all about a balance between being open to the world and having some privacy, and too much human contact can be rather mentally exhausting. If I’m energetic and ready to hit the town one day, and then I keep giving excuses so I can stay at home the next, it’s not because I don’t like a person very much – I just need a break from people in general every now and again.

                                          20. We struggle to find a partner that can get used to both sides of our character

                                          quirky character

                                            With all these complex emotions, mood changes and character traits from both ends of the spectrum, it can be difficult to pin an ambivert down. What I found most challenging is the fact that when I start dating someone it can be quite the challenge for them to get used to both sides of my emotional coin. Again, I’ve been lucky enough to find myself a beautiful wife who, being an ambivert herself and as emotional and stubborn as I am, learned to understand me. It can take some time before you find someone you can be yourself around, both when you feel like closing up and staying silent, and when you want to sing at the top of your lungs, act silly or go out and have fun.

                                            As an ambivert you’ll go between wanting nothing more than to be left alone and have limited interaction with others, and being around plenty of people and having a great time. People will find it weird, some may get a bit frustrated, but on the plus side you get the best of both worlds and may even have an edge when it comes to achieving success, so just be honest to yourself about who you are and enjoy the ride.

                                            Featured photo credit: Hipster man with a fixie bike and smartphone in a park outdoors via shutterstock.com

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                                            Ivan Dimitrijevic

                                            Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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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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