The Third Social Personality Construct We’ve All Been Waiting For

As a self-proclaimed half-introvert, half-extrovert– “I’m kinda both,” as all the cool kids say these days– I’ve proudly defended my stance about why I think many of us walk a similar tightrope between the two extreme personality types.

Now, such claims have been vindicated by personality psychologist Robert R. McCrae, who claims that about 38 percent of us fall between the “introvert” category and the “extrovert” one, resting smack-dab in the middle. This means that there is a large portion of us who have found a niche in this in-betweener valley that’s too loud and outgoing for introvert status, but too reserved and relaxed for the extrovert label. Psychologists call us ambiverts, which means people “express qualities and behaviors of both” personality types, depending on the given situation.

So how does one become an ambivert? Well, there are two possible ways into the hipster realm of ambivert-ness: on the one hand, you could be in the general center of the personality scale in each category, feeling relatively “blah” about big parties and social crowds and just “ehh” about being alone with a nice book to read.

But that’s too lame for many of us self-proclaimed ambiverts– we must fall into that second way of becoming the now-trending social personality type. People can also be ambivert because they have the ability to fluctuate between introversion and extroversion depending on the situation– sometimes they’re the loudmouth life of the party, and other times they’d rather be at home alone solving a crossword puzzle.

Admittedly, classifying most people as any set “personality type” is pretty capricious; making any judgment regarding the amount of a person’s extroversion or introversion characteristics is relative, depending on how the one doing the judging defines each of those social constructs.

That being said, personality psychologist Brian Little says that ambiverts have “more degrees of freedom to shape their lives” than those of strictly introverted or extroverted personalities.

Knowing this, what kind of personality type are you? Are you the party-starter– or too busy reading a book in your room to even want to try starting one? Does your idea of a “good night” involve playing chess against a good friend– or are you too excited about your friend’s upcoming sporting event for any “board games?” Or are you just like me– and swear you’re sorta, kinda both? Either way you look at it, this new discovery is just another supporting pillar of the ways that labels shape our lives and our relationships. 


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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Robert S. Digby

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