Surprise, I’m not an extrovert

I used to absolutely adore parties. Not the raucous drinking and dancing parties of college, but the middle-school, my-parents-dropped-me-off parties someone would host once a month. I was extroverted beyond belief. I couldn’t wait to go out. I would be texting 3 friends and talking to 4 more on Facebook. I lived and breathed people.

As I got older, these events began to exhaust me. Groups seemed louder and conversation was harder. I became tired more quickly, but I couldn’t understand what had changed. As an extrovert, I knew I was supposed to be energized by these events, so I kept making myself attend, even though they were actually draining me. I was working under a false impression of myself, and it was negatively affecting how I reenergized.

Then one day I stumbled across the definition of an “ambivert” and the heavens opened. A choir of angels descended from the sky and blessed me never having to attend a party again with sweet angelic song.

Someone who is ambiverted is neither extroverted nor introverted, but is instead a mix of the two.

I am an extroverted-ambivert, meaning I still lean toward the extroverted side. For me, this means that I draw energy from small groups of people, but shut down at large events. I can stay up all night with three people, but prefer watching movies alone to attending a house party.

Knowing that I draw my energy from both staying in and going out has changed the way I interact with people and how I take care of myself. Knowing what kind of interaction is best for me means I won’t put myself into situations where I stress myself out more. I use this knowledge to make sure I am at my best.

The more you know about yourself, the better you can take care of yourself. I definitely believe that if I had not realized I was ambiverted before college, I would have tried to reenergize by going out on the weekends, because that’s what I was “supposed” to be doing as an extrovert. Instead, I know that staying in or socializing with just a few friends is a far better way for me to relax and prepare myself the fresh hell of Monday.

If you’re an incoming freshman (or even if you’re not), I encourage you to take a Myers-Briggs test. You answer a few simple questions and it will tell you your personality type, including how extroverted or introverted you are. The more near the middle you are, the more you share traits from both sides of the personality spectrum.

When I first took this test, probably sometime during late middle school/early high school, my introversion/extroversion results leaned heavily extroverted (somewhere above 50%). Because personalities shift as a person matures, levels of introversion/extroversion can change, too. My latest result told me I was 3% extroverted, meaning I am almost exactly in the middle of being introverted or extroverted, with a very slight leaning toward extroversion. This fits exactly with what I observed about myself.

The official Myers-Briggs test costs money, but I like THIS knockoff, as it tells you the percentages of your results.

Share your personality type! Are you introverted, extroverted, or ambiverted? What are some of your self-care tips?

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