I'm right in the middle.
I'd never heard the term before, but the more I researched, the more validated I felt, especially after reading that ambiverts, as they're viewed to be the most adaptable, are considered to have the best of both worlds. The more I read, the better I understood myself, as well as my introvert side.
According to Susan Cain, author of "Quiet: The Power of Introverts," introverts can enjoy being around people, but socializing also tends to leave them drained, needing time alone to decompress and refuel.
I learned that introverts and ambiverts are often quiet, and that their silence shouldn't be considered bad or insulting or a sign they aren't interested. It's simply them stepping away to restore. For an introvert to be comfortable being quiet with you is a huge compliment and your patience with them during those times can be a relief to them.
I'm realizing more and more how important it is to pay attention to those you care about, to what energizes and drains them. I've learned that by watching, you can tell if someone needs downtime or space, and I've learned you should give it, knowing it isn't a rejection of you, but something they need in order to re-energize.
I learned that introverts appreciate the opportunity to communicate with others in ways that aren't face-to-face or over the phone. They tend to love written communication and often excel at writing and texting, as it enables them to stay connected in a less-draining way.
It might seem there are too many concessions to make when dealing with an introvert, but when you care about a person, you need to respect them enough to bend from your norm. Same goes for those who find themselves paired with an extrovert -- it's important to recognize their needs for socialization, to know that their cup is filled from being around people.
I feel lucky to have found someone whose company I crave, who has yet to leave me feeling drained or peopled out. Who doesn't have a problem with my need for quiet time, yet knows when and how to draw me out of my head or intuit when it's better to leave me there a while longer.
Most of us spend far too much time battling our own nature and find ourselves depleted as a result, trying to live lives that don't suit us. Or we spend our lives trying to change those we're with.
Instead of embracing that maddeningly fascinating study in contradictions.
While wearing a chicken hat.
And doing The Worm.
Reach Karin Fuller via email at karinful...@gmail.com.