“I COULD PARTY NON-STOP with complete strangers in Goa every night for the rest of my life because raves are life.”
Does that phrase fit you?
No? How about this one:
“I would love to be alone in an isolated cabin in the middle of the Canadian Wilderness for the next forty years, or so.”
If that one doesn’t fit you either, chances are, you’re an ambivert. Welcome to the club — it’s big.
Despite it seeming like something a millennial just cooked up to describe another form of bigotry, ambiversion is a term that has been around for some time. Coined in 1947 by German-born psychologist, Hans Eysenck, an “ambivert” includes those who exhibit qualities of both extroversion and introversion.
It’s the less rigid sliding-scale version of its more popular siblings: The Loud One and the Quiet One. You’re the switch-hitter of the group and you like to travel.
1. But traveling alone can be difficult for you.
Rewarding as it is, traveling alone can be hard for you. It means breaking out of your perfectly comfortable shell in order to experience the culture and connect with other people. You know this, so you do it anyway.
2. Traveling in groups is worse.
You like to spend time with people, but the thought of getting on a bus with 50 loud tourists and an itinerary that schedules in “Photo-Op” makes you want to throw yourself in front of a songthaew.
3. You are relieved when you notice there is no one else sharing your 4-bed hostel dorm-room.
4. Yet, when you hear laughter from a group of travelers across the hall, you feel lonely.
5. So you decide to join them.
6. You don’t like to talk to groups very much, so you laugh, smile and find where you stand.
7. Once you know where you stand, you can adapt your personality to fit the needs of the group.
There’s a talker? You’re a listener.
8. You’re a social chameleon that likes to make everyone happy.
But you sometimes envy those who always say what they mean.
9. You think before you speak.
Sometimes so much so that by the time you actually say something it can come out sounding forced and mis-timed. Probably followed by a nervous chuckle.
10. You can be charming when you need to be.
But it’s draining and you much prefer real, meaningful conversations with friends.
11. You feel relieved when the conversation moves past “Where are you from? Where have you been? What do you do?”
12. You like to be around people but you don’t necessarily want to talk, so you go to the coffeeshops and bars that have plenty of tables.
13. Being put on the spot in front of a lot of people can make you lock-up.
14. But you like being listened to.
15. You don’t mind the sidelines, but can dance like a new-age goddess when you’re feeling it.
16. And after being around people too long you begin to fantasize about the post-apocalyptic episode in the Twilight Zone where Bemis has “Time Enough At Last” to read all the books in the world without human distraction because everyone’s dead but him.
17. But you see the moral of the story: That scenario sucks, too.
18. You’d rather share a cabin with Myanmese locals on your overnight train to Mandalay, rather than, say, a group of Australians on holiday.
Because after a few brief exchanges with the local, all the conversation neither of you know has been exhausted and the rest of the trip will be spent in mutual isolation making sure you don’t fall off your bunk. Not so, with, say, Australians. Not so.
19. Part of you wishes you could party like an Australian.
Because, you’re a human. And humans are all over the map.