Are You Really An Introvert? The Problem With Self-Identifying

Introverted and extroverted personality types were developed by psychiatrist Carl Jung in the early 1900s. Jung classifies introverts as people who prefer environments with little stimulation and turn inward to recharge, as opposed to extroverts who get energized by spending time with others in stimulating environments.

Over time, outgoing has seemingly become synonymous with extroverted, while shy has become synonymous with introverted. Though both can be true, these are oversimplifications of the two personality types.

“Introversion and extroversion—the terms that Carl Jung came up with—describe the absolute ends of the spectrum,” Headlee told mbg co-founder and co-CEO Jason Wachob during a recent mindbodygreen podcast episode. Most people actually fall somewhere down the middle, she says. 

Ambiversion was defined by Kimball Young in the 1920s as a person who exhibits the traits of both introverts and extroverts. According to psychotherapist Ken Page, LCSW, “almost all of us are ambiverts to some degree.” 

People who fall into this category are able to do well in social settings, but will also enjoy a night alone in their pajamas, Headlee explains. Ambiverts are more flexible and able to adapt.

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