About two-thirds of people are neither pure introverts nor extroverts—but rather a mix of the two: ambiverts, Elizabeth Bernstein reports for the Wall Street Journal.
Recently, the classification has earned attention from behavioral scientists, business experts, and social psychologists, who suggest it may come with professional and personal advantages.
While extroverts energize externally, they easily become bored and restless if alone. And introverts, who are good at spending time alone, often feel drained following social interaction.
Ambiverts, meanwhile, slide along the scale between those two extremes. Instead of craving the couch and TV (introvert) or a crowded happy hour (extrovert), they may prefer the happy hour followed by a solitary walk, Bernstein says.
"It is like they're bilingual. They have a wider range of skills and can connect with a wider range of people in the same way someone who speaks English and Spanish can," says Daniel Pink, host of the human behavior TV series "Crowd Control. "
A 2013 study in the journal Psychological Science that examined sales of 340 outbound call-center representatives found that those employees with the highest revenue per hour, $208, were ambiverts, compared with the full sample's $138. Researchers determined personality types via a 20-question test and monitored three months of sales while controlling for relevant variables.
Combining introversion and extroversion works for fundraisers, too. Learn more about these "Curious Chameleons" here.
"Ambiverts are like Goldilocks—they offer neither too much nor too little," says Adam Grant, psychology professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.
However, they face unique challenges as well. Extroverts and introverts may always know what approach to take in situations, but ambivents can end up getting stuck in one mode and end up drained, says Grant.
He suggests they carefully read each situation and ask themselves, "What do I need to do right now to be most happy or successful?" (Bernstein, Wall Street Journal, 7/27).
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