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Perspective: Introvert. Extrovert. Ambivert?

Allec Gomes

Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert? Or are you a little of both? I’m a bit shyer and more reserved in group settings than I would like, so I often label myself an introvert. But when I’m trying to think through a problem, I totally rely on the sometimes annoying extroverted practice of talking through all possibilities out loud.

There are a couple of variations of these two types, the omnivert and the ambivert, both of which include traits from both ends of the spectrum. The omnivert’s behavior is highly situational and they may show up as extremely introverted or extremely extroverted, but they lack the intentional balance that ambiverts display.

Ambiverts are like those people who are ambidextrous and may write with their left hand, but bowl with their right or vice versa. They can engage extrovert skills as easily as introvert skills and do so in the most advantageous way. They are effective leaders – they can run meetings with authority or connect deeply one-on-one with their team members. Ambiverts use their intuition to suss out problems, and their logic-based problem-solving skills to address issues in flexible and responsive ways. They are happy to work solo on a project, if that’s what’s needed, but they make an excellent team member, too. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.

So, my own behavior suggests that I may be an omnivert, but knowledge is power and this realization can spur me on to aspire to ambiversion going forward.

I’m Suzanne Degges-White and that’s my perspective.

Chair and Professor - NIU counseling and higher education