Daily Archives: November 12, 2009

Better an ‘ambivert’ than some other kinds of ‘verts’ I can think of


For years I have wondered what I was – I mean aside from being a rivetingly handsome, dashing and charming late middle-aged dude – because there are aspects of my being that seem contradictory.

As for the aforementioned personal affirmations about my ‘dudeness’, most of which were lies or exaggerations at best, I have long been bemused and sometimes irritated about a certain tendency within myself.

The conflict involves being actually rather shy and isolationist at one level, and gregarious and outgoing at another. That is, I truly do like people, but sometimes I can’t be bothered to get off my ass and go out to connect with them. When I permit the latter tendency to prevail I often regret it.

What that makes me, said a very wise and perceptive friend (for whom I did get off my ass to go and meet for coffee early this week), is an ambivert. That is, I love people but am tempted to avoid interchanges at the same time, depending on my mood. 

I realize I am shy – but conflicted. In my shyness I can walk into a room and be comfortable around even strangers. I can public speak with relative ease, and have done it many times. My conversational skills are pretty decent, or so I have been told. I can even sweet-talk members of the opposite sex to ‘some’ avail. Or, at least did so in the past. Currently I have no call to, and “damn well better not” as some people in my life would have it. That works fine for me.

Yet, I am still shy. And very private, filled with the impulse to depart a social scene and sequester myself in my own comfort zone where I am master of my own domain. No, not in the Seinfeld sense. So, I will then do that after having longed for a social situation to end, regardless of how pleasant it might have been. Yet, if I am at home for too long I get uneasy and want to interact with others to boost my dynamic. It’s only in the anticipation that my shyness takes hold.

For example, as people who read this thing know, I love to travel. Yet, for a few days prior to departure on an excursion – especially an extensive one – I’m a basket-case filled with a sensation of wanting to stay home where it’s safe. Yet, once I am actually on my way I get pumped. I’m thousands of miles from home and have just been deposited in that horrid zoo known as Heathrow Airport. And I feel exultant. Bring on London! Bring on the rest of Europe! Now that I’ve arrived I’m world traveler par excellence.

Same with social obligations. I’ll make a commitment to attend something or other. Then as the time approaches my mood will turn sour and I’ll be given to muttering things like: “I don’t wanna go (in a plaintive whine), Why the hell did I agree to do this? It’s going to be lousy. That dork (whoever) will probably be there and I’ll just hate that,” and so on and so on. Yet, when I get there I invariably have a fabulous time and am grateful that I made the commitment.

So, that is what being an ambivert is all about.

I suspect (just suspect, mind you) that a lot of bloggers are ambiverts. We have these fabulously frank and honest relationships with our fellows, some of whom we even come to love, yet we have never met. I mean, I have met some of you and it’s been great. But generally we’re scattered across the globe, have these tender bonds, but we don’t have to actually get up and go out.

Kind of cool in a way.

No, that’s my ambivert talking. Have to fight that impulse. But, you see, I have two evening obligations next week and I am already resenting them. One of them is on Tuesday. Damn, that’s when NCIS is on.