The answer lies in whether you see yourself through your own eyes (self-examination) or through the eyes of others (expressed in how they respond when you are around). Herein lies the problem. The definition of extrovert vs. introvert is almost always housed in psycho-babble more confusing than it actually needs to be to help a person answer the question. Here is one example:
“Introverts are most comfortable interacting in small groups and with one-on-one relationships, and are energized by spending time alone. Extroversion is a personality type characterized by traits such as sociability, assertiveness, and cheerfulness.” (quote from: https://www.simplypsychology.org)
When I typed this title question into the BING search engine it produced 2,200,000 results, which is probably as telling as anything I’ve said so far. Then I revised my question to ask “extrovert or introvert test” which produced 2,290,000 results. On of these tests, I took the time to answer every question as accurate as I could, and in the end came up with the answer I already knew about myself from my own self-examination over the years. Here is what came back:
“You are an ambivert – a mixture of both personality types. It means that depending on your mood, you can gain energy either from socializing or being on your own. You enjoy social interaction, are interested in other people, and love to get to know them. But just like introverts, you feel the need to withdraw and stay on your own after a social event. Yet, too much alone time makes you feel restless and lonely, and you find yourself craving social contact again.” (https://www.learning-mind.com/introvert-or-extrovert-test)
This word describes every aspect of the various seasons of my life, from High School, through College, marriage, and working in different environments where I was forced to be an extrovert part of the time, wanted to hide like an introvert part of the time, and for the bulk of the time was a blending jumble of both/and not either/or resulting in Ambivertness. (Yes, I know that is not a word, and the incorrect use of grammar, but there it is – I said it anyway. My extrovert is showing.)
The problem I’ve discovered over all this time is how our culture today has taken this whole either/or concept and made it into an art form. You can either be this or that, but not both at the same time, or move from one into the other and back again. And, you don’t change at all, becoming one or the other over time, you just are, or you aren’t one or the other.
Wrapping people up in tiny little boxes with labels has been the problem for thousands of years. In fact, one of the greatest evidences of this is found in how people treated Jesus of Nazareth. Ask yourself, “was Jesus an extrovert or an introvert?” How most people answer this question says much about their own knowledge of Scripture, but specifically their understanding of what Jesus said, and how Jesus behaved, as a Hebrew male in Nazareth and Jerusalem and all points in between or nearby.
In Scripture, we see Jesus in the middle of crowds of thousands, teaching, healing, playing with children, confronting His enemies who would later have Him killed. But we also see Jesus calling those 12 men He chose, pulling them aside and away from the massive crowds for alone time. Within that smaller group, we also see Jesus taking just three of them, Peter, James, and John, even farther from the 12 to do side trips. And last we also see Jesus moving away by Himself, for quiet-alone times by Himself, away from every other person or distraction. Jesus was neither an extrovert or introvert. Jesus was an ambivert.
I have known for some time now that I wanted to model for people around me, what it means to be like Jesus. Now, I’ve found that as an ambivert, I am like Him. So, what can you do with this information?
If you know your tendency is to be an introvert: shy, silent mostly, and alone much of the time, find a way in your own life to be like Jesus… find some friends, hang out, speak up, be bold. He will help you do this.
If you know your tendency is to be an extrovert: ready to party, ready to meet new people, ready to speak your mind, find a way in your own life to be like Jesus… calm down, get away, shut your pie hole one time and let someone get a word in. Trust me, He will help you do this.
Regardless of what your tendency might be, remember these words from the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi describing his own ambivertness (I did it again):
“I know how to get along with little, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” [Philippians 4:12-13]