Ambivert, Anyone?

Lone tree atop a badlands mesa
Lone tree atop a badlands mesa.

I’ve always felt I needed to explain, at some point in a conversation or friendship, that innately I’m an introvert. Over the years, however and thanks to corporate life demands, I’ve learned how to also be a successful extrovert. What that really means is I’ve learned the dubious art of being able to switch to an extrovert when needed, yet when that moment passes, I don’t have to turn it off: my natural introvert takes care of that autonomic response.

But today, via a like on yesterday’s Abiquiu post from Wandering Ambivert, I learned a new word: ambivert. And said learning will make the future much easier to explain…maybe. If ambivert is unknown to the other person it won’t save any time in explaining things, but then one more person will know this useful, little known word. That’s a win-win.

In looking up its etymology, original use was in 1923 when a psychologist coined the word to explain patients who exhibit both extrovert and introvert traits. Pretty much a young pup as odd words go, yet a useful word in certain situations. Specifically it means, per the OED, ”A person who exhibits a balance of extrovert and introvert tendencies or traits.” I wouldn’t call how I switch to an extrovert as being part of a balance: it’s more flexing of a trained muscle than a behavior trait in balance. But, close enough to lay claim to rights to use the word.

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