Time for a very important personality quiz: Do you have nights where you like to stay in and chill, but also nights where you want to go out and rage? Are you sometimes psyched to go to parties only to wish you’d stayed home, but also sometimes at home wishing you’d gone out? Do you sometimes draw energy from being around other people, but also sometimes are literally not able to even? Do you sometimes have no strong feelings at all about your current social environment? Congratulation, because if you said “yes” to any of the above questions, you may be an ambivert.
Except, haha, no you’re fucking not, because that’s a dumb, made up term. “Ambivert” is meant to describe people who exist somewhere between the extremes of “extrovert” and “introvert.” That fat part of the bell curve would include a heaping majority of the population, which means we should just call those people “normal.” Logically and intuitively, there’s no need for a special term for people who are in no way exceptional from a personality standpoint.
Of course that hasn’t stopped the internet, in all its horrible glory, from trying very hard to make “ambivert” happen. Buzzfeed writes about it constantly, and even the fucking Wall Street Journal has used valuable real estate to cover this non-trend.
“More than half the population is ambiverted,” according to Wharton School professor Adam Grant. No shit, Sherlock.
I would go so far as to say that the internet is mostly or even completely responsible for encouraging the proliferation of this dumbass descriptor. Online (and particularly in social media), there are two ways to be popular and have a lot of followers. You can post about how awesome and exciting your life is (celebrities, asshole travel bloggers, even bigger asshole fashion bloggers), or you can go in the weird, opposite direction of this kind of comedic, unremarkable normalcy. Instagram is ground-zero for this. There are countless examples, but this very weblog has amassed nearly as many followers as we have monthly readers by posting things like this:
It’s funny because it’s true! Or at least, it’s an exaggeration of the truth, which is kind of the basis for comedy — take something everyone can relate to, and then stretch it until it’s absurd. No, you probably aren’t the POTUS yet, but you’ve probably done more than zero with your life. It’s the meme-ified version of “I literally can’t even.”
So when creating an identity that will get you noticed online, your choices are to either have unlimited resources and a glamorous existence, or this comically pathetic existence that encourages both laughter and commiseration. Of course, almost nobody is really that despondent, and none of us are that rich — we don’t casually party in Dubai with oil barons, but pizza is not actually “bae,” either. We’re somewhere in between. We’re “ambiverts!”
Sigh. No, no we’re not. It’s true that everyone is special — everyone is different, everyone has something to offer — but not everyone is (or can be) capital “S” Special. It’s ok to be normal. It’s ok to not have a term to describe your normalcy. Just accept that you have both intra- and extraverted qualities, and stop trying to make “ambivert” happen. It’s not going to happen, no matter how many Buzzfeed quiz results you share to Facebook.
Head Pro answers the questions you send to him at email@example.com. For more of his advice and musings, pre-order our newest book, I Had a Nice Time, and Other Lies… Head Pro is also on Instagram, where pizza is only sometimes his bae.