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In 1910, Carl Jung introduced the world to the concept of introvert and extrovert. He believed that everyone fell into one of these categories and that the one that came most naturally to a person gave a great deal of insight into one's personality and how one dealt with life.
Not long after this, a mother and daughter team expanded on Jung's concepts and created the Myers-Briggs personality inventory. This test divided everyone into sixteen different personality types. The test defines four different areas. These are Introvert/Extrovert, Sensing/Intuition. Thinking/Feeling, and Judging/Perceiving.
You can take a test to find out which category you fall into and learn more about the different categories.
It is estimated that a full 2/3 of individuals questioned feel they fall into both categories or neither. Before we get into why this is so, let's take a brief look at what it means to be an introvert or an extrovert.
A Quick Note About Introverts and Extroverts
Introverts and extroverts have very different communication styles, Extroverts love being around people. On the other hand, introverts tire out quickly when they have to interact with other people. If they aren't allowed to take the time to be alone and recharge, they will quickly develop people burnout.
Here is where we find that group of people who find that they either identify with both categories, or neither. The first group are called ambiverts and the second omniverts. Let's take a look at these.
What is Ambivert?
Ambiverts are people who are fairly close to the center of the line between introverts and extroverts. These individuals are difficult to pinpoint because they have traits from both sides of the line.
They are normally more introverted in that they do get to the point where they need to recharge their batteries, or they will stop functioning at top form.
Ambiverts are very often considered to be empaths as they have the ability to both talk and listen. You can find them being the center of attention at a party one minute as they tell jokes and stories and then sitting in the corner the next listening to a friend vent their latest heartache.
They truly know when to speak and when to be quiet. This often makes them even better salespeople than extroverts.
Ambiverts do need time alone occasionally, as interacting with people drains them of energy. When this happens, they will often need a break and some down time to get back to themselves.
It is very difficult for those around them to determine whether they are extroverted or introverted. In fact, these people often consider themselves neither.
They are able to call on skills from both sides of the line, depending on what the situation calls for. These changes between the two modes are often so smooth that these people are considered some of the most stable individuals emotionally.
What is Omnivert?
Omniverts are often prone to burnout from being around people, at least half the time. These individuals often develop a reputation for being moody and emotionally unstable.
This is because they can spend the weekend partying with the best of them. In fact, they will be the life of the party. Then, nobody may hear from them for the next few days as they avoid calls, don't come out of their homes, and avoid anything that has to do with people.
Omniverts don't switch between modes at will or in response to any external situation. Their mode is entirely dependent upon their mood. When in their introverted state of mind, they can often appear rude when forced to deal with people when their energy reserves are depleted.
Unlike the ambivert, the omnivert needs more time to recharge their batteries after socializing.
Once recharged, the omnivert once again begins to feel lonely and needs to go out and socialize. They continue to do so until their energy is once again depleted, and they retreat back into their quiet.
This is a continuous cycle with the omnivert. They love and need people, but they also need alone time.
Unlike the ambivert, who can recharge with another person if the person is quiet and just enjoys their company, the omnivert often completely isolates even from other family members when they need to recharge.
Similarities of Ambivert vs Omnivert
There are a few similarities when discussing ambivert vs omnivert.
Now let's take a look at the key differences between these two.
Ambivert vs Omnivert – The Key Differences
If you recognize yourself or someone you know in the description so far, but are still unsure of which category fits best, it might help to see where the main differences between these two modes are. Let's take a closer look.
1. A Matter of Degree
With an ambivert, it is almost impossible to tell which mode fits best because they so easily switch between extroversion and introversion. They never go to the extremes of either but stay consistently near the dividing line.
The ambivert will rely on the traits that help them deal with whatever situation they encounter. They seem to be the most stable of personalities.
The omnivert is easily detected over time. They exhibit the extreme traits of both introvert and extrovert, depending on which mood they happen to be in at the time.
There is no way the omnivert can slow down and be quiet when they are feeling the urge to be loud and sociable.
On the other hand, you can't convince an omnivert that is drained and isolated to come out and experience the world. These people are considered emotionally volatile and moody by those who do not understand what is going on.
2. External vs Internal Factors
The ambivert's mode is entirely dependent upon external circumstances. These individuals are able to judge the situation and resort to the traits that are needed to function well in that situation.
They can easily go from a business meeting at work to dinner with a friend that needs a sympathetic ear and then onto a party at the local dance club. This is all in one day. They will then need to go home and rest but by the next day or the day after, they can do it all again.
The omnivert's mode is entirely dependent upon internal mood. If they are feeling lonely, they need to be out among people. They won't be happy sitting still in a movie theater and aren't likely to be good listeners. On the other hand, when they have reached the end of their people energy, they will totally isolate themselves.
Many of these individuals will have a private workroom or office at home that is off-limits to the rest of the family, and this is where they will retreat until they are once again ready to socialize. No matter which mode they are in, it is impossible to get them to do anything that doesn't fit into that mode.
3. Emotional Stability vs Volatile Emotions
This is one of the more telling signs of which personality you are dealing with. Anyone who knows an ambivert won't think there is anything unusual about their ability to utilize both modes of interaction.
As was stated earlier, these are considered some of the most emotionally stable people around. They enjoy long-lasting relationships in most areas of their lives.
The omnivert, on the other hand, has difficulty hanging onto steady relationships. This isn't because they mistreat anyone. It is simply because most people can't understand the volatile emotional changes.
It is almost as though they are dealing with two different people. Omniverts themselves may begin to think there is something inherently wrong with them unless they understand exactly what is going on.
They may even resort to trying to change their behaviors to function differently in the future.
4. Who Belongs to the Social Circle?
Look around to see who an ambivert spends their time socializing with. Regardless of where they are on their energy level, you will find that they have a fairly steady group of friends that they enjoy both introverted and extroverted activities with.
They probably won't have a large social circle, but many of their friends have been around for years and share their interests.
The omnivert will have different sets of friends. They have extroverted friends who enjoy having a good time, a lot of activity, and loud places. They will also have a group of friends that they can sit with and enjoy deep conversations or sit and quietly watch a movie or play.
These two groups of friends will be totally different from each other and will most likely never share social activities with each other. The omnivert, however, will fit in well with whichever group they are in the mood to hang out with.
5. Time for Refilling Energy Reserves
Ambiverts don't need days to recharge their energy. Because their activities are often balanced throughout the day, a quiet evening and a good night's sleep may be all it takes to be ready to face the next day.
If they have had to utilize a great deal of their extrovert traits during the day, a weekend of quiet activities with immediate family or one friend may be in order, but this doesn't happen too often.
Omniverts, however, need a great deal of time to recharge. This is because when they are in extrovert mode, they go all out. Remember, they experience the extremes of both modes.
After a period of extroversion, the omnivert experiences a crash and may need to completely isolate for several days to regain the energy to get back out there with people. During that time, nobody is likely to see or hear from this individual.
Final Thoughts on Ambivert vs Omnivert
Both the ambivert and omnivert are technically considered introverts, even though they exhibit signs of extroversion as well.
The giveaway is in how they socialize. Socializing drains their energy instead of giving them energy, as it would with an extrovert. To better understand the introverted personality, take a look at these 116 quotes on Introversion.
Human personality is always best viewed as being on a continuum that can vary slightly from day to day. The ambivert and omnivert personalities are perfect illustrations of this. It is this variety that makes life interesting and people so fascinating to get to know.
Finally, if you want to identify YOUR personality type, then take one of these 11 personality tests to better understand what makes you tick.