What do you make of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) when you don’t identify as either an introvert or an extrovert — at least not all the time?
Maybe you’ve taken the test at different times and have gotten different results.
Or perhaps you can relate to the descriptions of both the I-leading and E-leading neighbor types (e.g., INFJ and ENFJ).
And you wonder, “Am I both? Or am I something in between?”
That depends on whether you see yourself as a hybrid or as someone who’s the introvert version one day and the extrovert version the next.
- What Is An Ambivert?
- What Is Omnivert?
- Ambivert vs. Omnivert: 7 Key Differences
- 1. Staying Between the Extremes (A) vs. Hopping from One to the Other (O)
- 2. Extroversion by External Necessity (A) vs. Extroversion by Internal Necessity (O)
- 3. Introvert/Extrovert Mode (O) vs. Leaning Into the Moment (A)
- 4. MBTI Hybrid Type (A) vs. MBTI Type Changing By the Day (O)
- 5. Day-to-Day Emotional Stability (A) vs. Emotional Flux (O)
- 6. Perceived as Balanced and Normal (A) vs. Perceived as Unbalanced and Abnormal
- 7. Generally Hangs with the Same People (A) vs. Choice of Company Varies (O)
- Are you an ambivert or an omnivert?
What Is An Ambivert?
An ambivert is someone whose social behavior and energy use is between introversion and extroversion.
Introversion and extroversion traits exist on a continuum, and most of us fall somewhere in the middle of that continuum.
We might lean a little more one way or the other. But we all have a little bit of each type within us.
So, if you’ve ever wondered, “Are ambiverts rare?” the answer is no.
Truth be told, few people are pure introverts or pure extroverts. If introversion and extroversion are at opposite ends of a social energy spectrum, most people fall somewhere in the middle.
Ambiversion is more common than you might think. The good news? Your ambiversion makes you more adaptable to different social situations.
Adam Grant, a professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, even argued in a study that ambiverts make better salespeople than pure extroverts, thanks to the following traits:
- Naturally engaged in both talking and active listening.
- Able to express both assertiveness and enthusiasm.
- Also inclined to listen to a customer to understand them better.
- Less likely to appear overly confident or dismissive.
Honestly, who wouldn’t rather have an ambivert helping them on the sales floor?
Ambiverts can more easily adapt to various situations and settings, allowing you to sway with the wind, so to speak.
Wind swaying allows them to see both sides of the picture, be more flexible and intuitive, and better calibrate their behavior and reactions, thus leading to more successful encounters.
What Is Omnivert?
If an ambivert is somewhere between an introvert and an extrovert, an omnivert can be both introvert and extrovert — an introvert at some times and an extrovert at others.
They may be their extrovert self one day, partying with friends, and an introvert for the next day (or so) to recharge their social battery.
Let’s break that down a bit for clarity’s sake:
- They need people, and they need to give their extroverted self room to shine.
- But they also need alone time to recharge (typically after being an extrovert).
- Faced with a potentially overwhelming social situation, they’ll be more introverted.
- When lonely after an introvert recharge, they’re ready for some extroverted fun.
They might hang with friends or groups at different ends of the spectrum at different times, depending on their social energy needs.
That said, if an omnivert throws a party, get ready for a good one. Then get ready for them to disappear for a day or two afterward.
Ambivert vs. Omnivert: 7 Key Differences
You’re not quite an extrovert and not quite an introvert, either — at least not 24/7. But how do you know if you are omnivert or an ambivert?
Look through the key differences between ambiverts and omniverts below to get a clearer idea of how each one operates.
By the end, you’ll feel more comfortable with one of them.
1. Staying Between the Extremes (A) vs. Hopping from One to the Other (O)
Ambiverts are always in between extroversion and introversion. They’re never a pure or obvious example of either.
They bring both extroverted and introverted traits to each situation, which allows them to listen and process information while they speak with confidence and enthusiasm.
They may not be ready to plunge into a large group and make friends with everyone in the room, but they’re happy to socialize and strengthen connections with a small group.
Suppose introversion is the North Pole, and extroversion is the Equator. In that case, the ambivert happily exists between them, while the omnivert jets from one extreme to the other, depending on their internal weather forecast.
And that brings us to the next key difference.
2. Extroversion by External Necessity (A) vs. Extroversion by Internal Necessity (O)
Ambiverts are an introvert and extrovert mix, showing their extroverted side when external circumstances require it. In other words, they adapt to the social demands of their situation.
Omniverts are more one than the other, depending on their internal circumstances.
One day, if they need to be around people, they’ll shine as brightly as any classic extrovert. Another day, they’ll be far more inclined to spend time alone to recharge their social battery.
3. Introvert/Extrovert Mode (O) vs. Leaning Into the Moment (A)
When an omnivert is in extrovert mode, they are unmistakably extroverted. And when they’re in introvert mode, their introversion is patently obvious. There is no in-between.
Ambiverts don’t have introverted or extroverted modes, but they can show more extroversion if the situation calls for it. They can be outgoing or outspoken when needed. They can also be quiet and thoughtful listeners.
In between extrovert and introvert, the ambivert represents balance between the two at any given moment; the omnivert balances the two over the course of days.
More Related Articles:
4. MBTI Hybrid Type (A) vs. MBTI Type Changing By the Day (O)
If that first letter in your MBTI type is so close to the border, and you identify with a lot in both the I-leading and the E-leading personality types (e.g., ENTP and INTP), you might be an ambivert.
Or you might at least identify with an I-leading type and an E-leading type, even if the following three letters aren’t the same.
In either case, most days, you feel more like a hybrid than a specific type.
If your MBTI test result varies by the day (e.g., an INTP one day, an ENTP the next), you might be an omnivert. Some days, you identify strongly with an E-leading type, while on others, you’ll identify more as an I-leading type.
5. Day-to-Day Emotional Stability (A) vs. Emotional Flux (O)
Ambiverts generally seem more emotionally stable since, at any given moment, they show a healthy balance of introversion and extroversion. Their social skills don’t vary as much as those of an omnivert, though they do still need to recharge to make the most of their extroverted side.
Both social types need to recharge. But the need for that recharge is more evident with the omnivert. And it can take longer for the latter to feel ready for something that calls for their “damn the torpedoes” extrovert mode.
In general, the ambivert comes across as more adaptive, while the omnivert’s approach to social demands is more reactive and dependent on their social energy levels.
6. Perceived as Balanced and Normal (A) vs. Perceived as Unbalanced and Abnormal
Those who associate with an ambivert are more likely to see them as “normal” in the way they socialize — showing neither extreme introversion nor extreme extroversion.
It’s an unfair generalization, but omniverts are more likely to be misunderstood than ambiverts because they seem more “changeable.”
With ambiverts, even when they’re more extroverted, they seem like the same people. Omniverts in full extrovert mode act very differently from their introvert mode.
Think of a teeter-totter (or seesaw) — a balanced one (with maybe some gentle teetering) represents an ambivert. One that teeters all the way from the ground on one side to the ground on the other represents the omnivert.
7. Generally Hangs with the Same People (A) vs. Choice of Company Varies (O)
Ambiverts neither avoid social situations, nor do they actively seek them out. But when they do socialize, it’s often with the same or similar groups of people.
The omnivert’s choice of company generally depends on the state of their social battery. In extrovert mode, they’ll hang with fellow extroverts, going out to party or even throwing a party of their own.
In introvert mode, they’ll want to be alone, or they’ll enjoy companionable silence with an introverted friend or two.
In either case, other friends might feel neglected or passed over, but the omnivert won’t forget them for long. They know the value of having friends for both seasons.
Are you an ambivert or an omnivert?
Now that you’ve looked through the key differences between ambiverts and omniverts, which of them sound more like you — or like someone you care about?
If this is someone you’ve been worried about, there’s a good chance they’re an omnivert. They get that a lot. On the other hand, this could be an ambivert who’s been going through something and hasn’t been their usual adaptable self.
It needs to be said, here, that neither social type is superior to the other. Each has its strengths and weaknesses — just like classic introverts and extroverts.
The more you know the best things about your type, the more you can enjoy them.