Friday, April 5, 2019

Friday Feature: Recharging the Ambivert Way

Most people -- my students in particular -- quickly classify me as an extrovert. A Jersey girl through and through, I'll talk your ear off if you get me going, especially if we're talking about something I'm passionate about (and I'm passionate about a lot). I love speaking, presenting and being on stage and, under the right circumstances, have zero aversion to the spotlight.

But sometimes, extroversion is exhausting. When I've had a long week, or I go to a conference or other event where I need to be "on" for long periods of time. Or when I'm out of my depth on the topic under discussion. My ability to withdraw is almost as strong as my ability to engage.

I was probably close to 40 by the time I first recognized the contradictions in my own personality, and in my 50s before I realized there's a name for this.


I've embraced that classification almost as enthusiastically as I embrace my Jersey roots. It explains so much, after all. Why I don't just like quiet sometimes, but need it. Why too much time in a busy environment -- something that typically recharges an extrovert -- wears me out. Why I'm equally at home in a one-on-one situation and a group outing with friends, but sometimes seek out one-on-one interactions within a large group.

In retrospect, this combination is probably what drew me to my career. As an educator, I'm required to be "on" in front of a classroom, but I also need to spend time in quieter pursuits like grading and planning. As a counselor, I loved meeting with both individual students and my fun, quirky small groups.

When I stumbled upon Karl Moore's perfectly titled piece ("Neither Extrovert Nor Ambivert? You Need a Break Too") on the wonderful Quiet Revolution website (again -- why would an extrovert be drawn to this website??), I lapped it right up.

Sometimes, it's nice to know you're not alone. Other times, alone is the best way to be.

How about you? How do you recharge?

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