Being introverted can hinder your success

"Ambiverted" - 7 indications that you have the trait of success

Many people have difficulty answering the question of whether they are more introverted or extroverted. Perhaps you know it yourself: You appear self-confident among friends and acquaintances and approach new people openly. But in your professional life you are suddenly shy and happy when you can keep calm at meetings and the like and don't (have to) attract attention. The classification of people into either the extraversion or introversion category is completely out of date. Instead, the fashion term "ambiverted" is currently making the rounds. But what's behind that? What are the advantages of the "Ambiversion"? And do you have them? We'll tell you!

1. The myth of extraversion and introversion
2. So which is better: introversion or extraversion?
3. Why are ambiverted people more successful?
4. Are you ambiverted? Seven clues to an ambiversion

The myth of extraversion and introversion

In our German society there is a rumor that extroverted people are more successful in their professional life. Extraversion as a personality trait was first described in 1921 by the psychoanalyst Carl Jung. He called her counterpart introversion. Over the years the either-or became a both-and. The psychologist Hans Jürgen Eysenck expanded the Jung model with numerous different gradations between introversion and extraversion. He described extroverted people as

  • impulsive,
  • sociable,
  • frank,
  • daring as well
  • expressive.

They often have an almost magical effect on their social environment, like to draw a lot of attention to themselves and live very outside. They carry their hearts on their tongues, have great self-confidence and can build trust in interpersonal relationships in record time. It is different with introverted people, which, according to Eysenck, are more likely

  • shy,
  • introverted,
  • shy and
  • are suspicious.

(Source: Psychomeda)

Very introverted people are often perceived as less likeable and charismatic at first glance, and in fact it can happen that they find it much more difficult than their extroverted competitors due to their shyness, for example in job interviews.

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In extreme cases, introversion is accompanied by social phobias. However, this does not mean that all introverted people suffer from fears, and just as little that extraversion is the “better” personality trait. In extreme cases, this is usually associated with a personality disorder - for example narcissism. Therefore, when you look at the German management, you quickly get the impression that extraversion is an important trait for success. In truth, however, it is unfortunately narcissism itself or even psychopathy that ensure the success of these personalities. You can find more information on this in the article:

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At the current state of research, the scientists suspect that the predisposition to extraversion or introversion has, on the one hand, biological and, on the other hand, genetic causes. They count the degree of extraversion to the so-called Big Five - i.e. the main dimensions of the human personality - alongside

  1. open-mindedness,
  2. Thoughtfulness,
  3. Instability and
  4. the perfectionism.

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So which is better: introversion or extraversion?

There will probably never be an answer to the eternal question of which of the two personality traits is actually "better". Each may mean an advantage or a disadvantage in specific situations. In addition, Eysenck has already correctly recognized that no one in the world is “only” extroverted or “only” introverted. Instead, they're two extremes on a scale, and each individual personality falls somewhere in between. But even this value is anything but static. Instead, the term ambiversion has recently appeared more and more frequently:

A condition or character trait that includes elements of both introversion and extroversion.

(Source: Collins Dictionary)

So the majority of people are not either extroverted or introverted. And it is not just any mixture of these, but simply both and. This means: You may be closer to the extraversion on the scale in general, but still appear extremely introverted in certain situations. With alcohol, on the other hand, you become extremely extroverted and the next day you are more withdrawn due to your tiredness - and the hangover - again. This ambiversion is also more pronounced in some people and less pronounced in others. So while most people are actually more extroverted or more introverted and show only slight fluctuations, others commute between the extremes. But why is such an ambiversion actually the “best” personality trait - at least on the job?

Why are ambiverted people more successful?

Very easily: Ambiversion means a high degree of adaptability and that benefits you in your professional life. The faster and better you can fit yourself appropriately into a situation, the more professional you appear. On the one hand, through your extraversion you make important contacts that can be beneficial for your career, but through your introversion you also appear polite and cautious when it matters. They simply adapt to the "herd" in any situation - and why this has a positive effect on your career can be read in the following article:

Reading tip: If you want to become a boss, you have to fit in with the “herd”

Ambiverted people are characterized by a high degree of adaptability and flexibility. They can tune into their social environment and thus always appear appropriately. This makes it easier to make contacts - which is also a career factor that should not be underestimated.

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As mentioned earlier, being able to extraverse in interviews or leadership roles can be beneficial. However, unlike narcissists, for example, ambiverted people do not always appear excessively self-confident and almost self-promotional. As a result, they do not run the risk of gaining an image as a show-off or “dumbass”. All in all, ambiverted people usually have better social skills - because they can optimally assess in which situation extraversion is appropriate and in which introversion.

Are you ambiverted? Seven clues to an ambiversion

Since an ambiversion, like extraversion and introversion, is genetically or biologically predisposed, it cannot be learned. As an introvert you can work on your social skills or you can exercise restraint as an extrovert, but in principle your disposition is unalterable. So if you want to know whether you are an ambivalent personality, ask yourself the following seven questions:

  1. Can you classify yourself? If you would spontaneously say that you are an extrovert or an introvert, that is usually also true. Ambiverted people, on the other hand, often have problems classifying themselves. There are days when they prefer to bathe in crowds - and others when there is nothing better for them than a lonely day on the sofa with their favorite series. Among friends and acquaintances, you are perhaps the loudest and most conspicuous person around, and among strangers suddenly quiet and withdrawn. If you find yourself in these descriptions, there is a high probability that you are ambiverted.
  2. Do you think a lot about yourself and your social environment? Ambiverted people often have a great understanding of social situations. After meeting a friend, they think for a long time about the fact that she seemed somehow sad. Before you go to a concert, think about who might be the right accompaniment for it and in a large group you go into self-reflection and pay attention to how you are perceived by the person opposite you. They can adapt their behavior accordingly so that they seem sympathetic to almost everyone - be it in an extroverted or reserved manner. So do you belong more to the "thinkers" than to the people who have their hearts on their sleeves? Then you are probably ambiverted.
  3. Are you good at being alone? Extroverts are quick to fall on their heads when they spend time alone. So they pack their bags and go to the gym, meet up with their buddy for a beer or talk to colleagues in the coffee kitchen at work. If, on the other hand, you have no problem with spending an evening alone or working independently on a task at work without being distracted by Hinz and Kunz, this could be an indication of an ambiversion.
  4. But don't you shy away from the company of (many) other people? This point is particularly true in combination with the third. If you can be alone, but also enjoy the company of other people, you are probably ambiverted. You would definitely consider yourself a team player, get on well with (most) colleagues and maintain many friendships in your private life. You have no problem getting around people - even if there are very many, such as at a concert or a company party. You don't mind the crowds, whereas introverts usually steal a lot of energy and can even cause them a kind of "hangover".
  5. Do you keep getting the feedback to be personable? Do you always get direct or indirect feedback that you seem particularly sympathetic to strangers? Then you have a high probability of ambiverted traits, because such a positive perception suggests that you can optimally engage in social situations and adapt to your counterpart. In the case of an extroverted interlocutor, you will probably take on the passive, i.e. introverted role, and with an introverted counterpart you will take on the conversation. Do you find yourself in this description? Then this indicates an ambiversion!
  6. But do you still need time to build trust? Although you quickly get warm with strangers and easily make new friends, take enough time to get to know your counterpart and assess them correctly. You do not gain trust in a person within a few minutes, but still allow you to get to know each other in an unbiased manner, without being overly closed or suspicious. If that is the case, you have probably found the right balance of extraversion and introversion thanks to your Ambiversion.
  7. Do you have fine "antennae" for social situations? In general, you would describe yourself as a person who rarely gets into social conflicts. How so? Because you can optimally adapt to social situations and get on relatively well with almost everyone. As a result, you do not attract negative attention and act more as a mediator if a dispute arises. You can empathize with other people and know when to hold on to your opinion and when to keep silent. This last point also explains why ambitious employees are so valuable to companies - and why they enjoy the best career opportunities.

How would you rate yourself? In your opinion, what are the advantages of ambitious people? Or do you instead consider extraversion or introversion to be “better” - and why? We look forward to your contribution on the topic in the comments!

Photo credit: Photo by Rokas Niparavicius on


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