Introverts and extroverts. A personality dichotomy that stands the test of behavioral time, but should it?
I, for one, find myself exhausted by the constant need to label everyone as essentially either a hermit or a court jester. The semantics of the labels themselves are so extreme that we can’t expect everyone or even most people to fit nicely into these two categories. There are countless people in the world that enjoy socializing at parties on occasion, but also enjoy their alone time to be secluded from the hustle and bustle of fast-paced society. Some people love being alone the majority of the time and thrive in seclusion, but are also comfortable in large social situations now and again. These people aren’t strange or outliers, though. In fact, most people you meet and interact with everyday probably don’t fit neatly into the category of introvert or extrovert — we’re omniverts.
Omniverts don’t love being alone all the time and don’t always want to be at a party. We’re a mixture of both those personalities. Sometimes we love the exciting energy of large crowds and find ourselves drawn to clubs and group activities. But, at other times, we just want to curl up with a good read, plug in our headphones, and lose ourselves in the joy of our own company.
So, how do you know if you’re an omnivert? Here’s the easiest way to find out. When someone asks you if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, do you ever say, “Hmmmm…it depends?” That buzzword “depends” is your biggest clue. Omniverts don’t fit into a category of being either always introverted or always extroverted. Rather, their personality tendencies are dependent on a variety of factors, including: societal, situational, emotional, financial, and many more.
Let me give you a personal example for some context. I absolutely love talking to and meeting new people — it’s hands down one of my favorite things. So, at first glance you’d say I’m for sure an introvert, right? But, honestly, my level of desired social interaction is highly dependent on my inner happiness at that time. If I’m feeling down, I’ll be much less likely to hold a conversation with my friends or want to go out. But, when I’m happy? Oh, watch out stranger standing next to me at the bus stop, because we’re about to have an unsolicited conversation at 9:30 a.m., and I hope you’re ready.
Now, it’s important to understand that we’re not just calling ourselves omniverts because this generation values individualism and we want to build a new category of personality to place ourselves in. No, it means we’re tired of people confining our complex personality spectrums to just two extremes that really don’t properly encapsulate human behavior well at all.
It’s okay to be an introvert, and it’s okay to be an extrovert. But, it’s also okay to be an omnivert. Don’t let anyone tell you that you are definitely an introvert, because you’d rather stay home and read than go to their housewarming party. And don’t let someone tell you you’re an extrovert just because you’d rather spend your free time at work conversing with your coworkers than staring at your phone screen. Be the personality you want to be, and be true to yourself. And if you don’t fit into a clean-cut category, then you might just be an omnivert.
Chad Q. Brown’s Profile is a retained consulting firm incorporating distinct team building and talent strategies utilizing proprietary technology and behavioral assessment infrastructure. Our mission — help people get better at people.
Chad Q. Brown