Introverts - Extroverts - Ambiverts


"There is no such thing as a pure introvert or pure extrovert."  (Dr. Carl Jung)

For years psychologists talked about two main types of people:  Extroverts and Introverts.  But, there is a middle ground on the personality spectrum.  Ambiverts fall somewhere between extroverts and introverts.  ("Just My Type.  Ambivert Personalities can lead from the Middle," CBS This Morning, July 30, 2015)

Ambiverts

Extroverts get their energy by being with people.  Introverts get their energy by being alone.  Ambiverts can do both - they are in the middle.  They are
  • good at dealing with a lot of different kinds of people
  • socially flexible in groups or alone.  They like to be with people and they are friendly, but need time to be alone as well.
  • skilled communicator and listener
  • moderate in mood
  • adapt to situations
  • good at diplomacy and the following jobs:  salesperson, teacher, reporter, parent, mediator  ("Just My Type.  Ambivert Personalities can lead from the Middle," CBS This Morning, July 30, 2015)
One expert believes two out of three people fit this description.  Wall Street Journal reporter Elizabeth Bernstein joined "CBS This Morning" to discuss the traits of an Ambivert.  See her article "Not an Introvert, Not an Extrovert?  You May be an Ambivert."    ("Just My Type.  Ambivert Personalities can lead from the Middle," CBS This Morning, July 30, 2015)

 
Extroverts

Extroverts get their energy by being with people.  They start conversations with people they do not know.  They are the life of the party, and people like to talk to them. 
("Just My Type.  Ambivert Personalities can lead from the Middle," CBS This Morning, July 30, 2015)

Extroverts crave large amounts of stimulationIntroverts feel most alive, switched-on and capable when in quieter, low-key environments. Schools and work places are designed for extroverts and their need for lots of stimulation.  Kids work in groups…and kids who prefer to work alone are seen as problem cases.  Most teachers feel extroverts are the ideal students, even though research shows introverts get better grades and are generally more knowledgeable.  Introverts also tend to be less likely to take risks, and are more effective leaders.  (Susan Cain, researcher)

Introverts
Some children and adults are

very, very quiet. 


Introverts may appear to be shy and lacking social skills.  Introversion is different from being shy.  Shyness is about fear of social judgment.  Introversion is more about how you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation. 

Introverts
are hard-wired in a unique way.  They simply experience life differently in areas such as sleeping, eating, how they do homework, how they behave in school, how they learn, what kinds of interest and play they do.

Introverts are usually highly intelligent, highly gifted, good at concentrating and becoming experts, and well-suited for college—but, they may not realize they are really smart.  The brains of introverts are very active, with a lot of internal speech and activity going on. 

There are many famous introverts, including Gandhi and Eleanor Roosevelt.  They took the spotlight even though it was uncomfortable, because they were driven to do what they thought was right. 

Introverts get their energy by being alone.  Everything introverts do in the outside world takes or drains energy; but for the extrovert, everything they do in the world gives them energy.    ("Just My Type.  Ambivert Personalities can lead from the Middle," CBS This Morning, July 30, 2015)

Some of the common characteristics of
introverted children:  


Enter new situations slowly
Speak softly and sometimes hunt for words
Need alone time to recharge
Have one or two good friends


What Parents Can Do

Introverts:

  • Identify introverted children so you can help them.  Helping a child identify the behavior of an introvert can help them throughout their lives.  
  • Understand and accept how difficult it is for an introvert to live in an extroverted world.
  • Help your child understand how their own mind works, what they are good at, and what their gifts are.
  • Do not try to make an introvert become an extrovert, because this is hard-wired into their brain.  It affects more areas than just socializing.
  • Learn to speak like an introvert…learn to slow down, allow more silence, and listen a lot more.  Do not expect them to want to talk after school, because they are exhausted and need to rest.

  • Susan Cain’s recommendation for change: 

    1. Stop the madness for constant group work.  Teach students to work not only together, but also on their own at times.  Give employees more privacy, freedom and autonomy.

    2. Go to the wilderness.  Solitude is essential to creativity. 

    3. Take a good look at what is inside your own suitcase and why it is there, whether it is sky diving equipment or books.  Introverts, let others see what is in your suitcase, occasionally, because the world needs you and the things you carry.    

      The key to maximize our talents is for us all to put ourselves in the zone of stimulation that is right for us.     Susan Cain:  The Power of Introverts  http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html
  • Understand that a party or being with a group of friends may be over stimulating for them.  Even if they are with good friends, expect them to ease into the party and observe.  They will need to stand on the sidelines and observe so they can get their energy calmed down.  Make sure they are rested, and have protein beforehand.
  • For more information, search the Internet or library for books such as “The Hidden Gifts of the Introverted Child” by Mari Olsen Laney, Ph.D., or “The Introvert Advantage—How to Thrive in an Extrovert World,” by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D.  
Additional Resources

Susan Cain:  The Power of Introverts
http://www.ted.com/talks/susan_cain_the_power_of_introverts.html