For all the ways that Nan and I are similar, there is one area that has been a struggle for us. When we are in a social environment, like church, Nan is ready to go home right after the service, whereas I want to stay and “work the crowd”. But it has always confused us that on a Myers-Briggs assessment she is an extrovert and I lean towards the introvert side of the scale.
What we have figured out is that Nan is an includer. She likes to connect people together to make sure they are not isolated. She likes to resource people. I like to connect with people, but then give them their space. I “turn it on” appropriate to the task or situation at hand, but then like to shut it down and recharge.
Whenever I suggest something, I am usually thinking small – as in Nan and me. But even before I can finish relating my idea Nan is usually thinking who else she would want to include. All of a sudden my idea starts morphing into something different. And it tends to make me anxious and want to stop talking before it grows into an introverts nightmare.
Now, Nan has no intention of causing me pain. She just gets excited by expanding the circle. But then I start to feel out of control. And so we get tangled. Nobody is at fault here. We just are different.
Because Nan will always try to run ahead of me we have had to agree to over-communicate when dealing with commitments. Before inviting someone into our world or committing us into someone else’s world we have agreed to check with each other first. This is not easy for Nan and she sometimes forgets. I have to dig deep for grace when this happens. But I have to admit that my life is bigger because of her attitude towards people, and she might admit that her life has more margin because of my restraint.
A Third Choice
Fortunately neither of us falls into the extreme sides of the introvert/extrovert scale. As time has progressed we have probably both headed toward the middle – which we label ambiverts. If you are interested, I found these nine signs that you may actually be an ambivert.
- I can perform tasks alone or in a group. I don’t have much preference either way.
- Social settings don’t make me uncomfortable, but I tire of being around people too much.
- Being the center of attention is fun for me, but I don’t like it to last.
- Some people think I’m quiet, while others think I’m highly social.
- I don’t always need to be moving, but too much down time leaves me feeling bored.
- I can get lost in my own thoughts just as easily as I can lose myself in a conversation.
- Small talk doesn’t make me uncomfortable, but it does get boring.
- When it comes to trusting other people, sometimes I’m skeptical, and other times, I dive right in.
- If I spend too much time alone, I get bored, yet too much time around other people leaves me feeling drained.
I am not surprised that a lot of people haven’t heard of ambiverts, but it makes sense to me. So which one do you think you are? Introvert, extrovert or ambivert?