Dear Extroverts,

I am an ambivert. I have extroverted and introverted qualities that emerge depending on who I am with. 

In the past few years, I have developed more of an introverted personality. When you present as an introvert, many incorrect assumptions can arise. Introverts are often painted as shy and antisocial, but some of the introverts I know can hold some of the best conversations.

It seems even in the church, there are some unfair assumptions. As an ambivert, I have seen both sides of the coin. One concern that sometimes stands out is the tendency of some within the church to criticize those with more introverted personalities. 

Stereotypically, there is a key difference between an extrovert and an introvert. Extroverts get energy from interactions and tend to process information by talking. 

Introverts get energy from alone time and with “their people.” They process information inside themselves.

Since this is a personality assumption, most people can fall anywhere on the extrovert to introvert spectrum. Others process in different ways, either through solitude or verbal discussions. I desire alone time to work, yet I verbally process information out loud with myself or others. 

While labels never fully encompass everything about an individual, this understanding of introversion and extroversion can help us understand our own behaviors and those of others.

For example, Jesus will never take the Myers-Briggs Personality test. I think it’s about 2000 years too late for that. 

Yet, through the extroverted to introverted lens, I believe Christ had some introverted personality traits. From the works of the gospel writers, he had his “own people” (the twelve disciples), went away for solitude, listened intentionally and valued deep conversations.

From my own experiences and observations, I want to address some myths about those who hold “introverted traits.” This does not apply to everyone, but some recurrent patterns in my own life.

Introverts are not selfish. They do not purposely avoid people because they are antisocial or ill-willed toward others. 

They do it to reduce their stress levels, which allows them to function to the best of their abilities, both for themselves and others. They need time to slow down and think.

In conversations, introverts might appear quiet, uncaring and with nothing to say. One myth is that introverts are weak and passive. 

Yet, if someone looks closely, introverts are observant, listening to every word. Information holds power, so be warned.

Also, introverts would appreciate not jumping from topic to topic too fast. They have something to say; they just need a moment to think. Like all people, introverts need a safe place to be themselves and a place to hold emotion to open up.

There’s nothing wrong with them and (depending on the introvert) they don’t hate people. Yes, introverts truly value their own presence. They aren’t shy, scared or antisocial.

One of the biggest myths is that introverts cannot be leaders. Nothing in their introversion prevents them from a position of leadership. They can be thoughtful, great listeners and dedicated. 

So, to those who identify as extroverts, please take a second to see those who don’t talk as much. Create space for them. Otherwise, connections with other brilliant people will be missed.

An Ambivert 

Share This