Thought You Were an Ambivert? You Might Have Misidentified Yourself

You could be this instead.
IMAGE How I Met Your Mother

INTP, ENFJ, extrovert, introvert, Scorpio, Sagittarius—we love to fit ourselves with labels and descriptions in an effort to better understand ourselves and others. But the thing with labels is that they’re not always all-encompassing, and in the case of extrovert and introvert, people are left with only two sides to choose from.

That is, until the word “ambivert” entered the picture to describe people with both extrovert and introvert qualities. Well, for those who thought they fell in the in-between category of “ambivert,” there’s a good chance you misidentified yourself because there’s another new label: “other-contingent extrovert.”

Well, that’s a mouthful.

The term was coined after a psychology study by researchers at the Michigan State University found that there’s another personality type for those who express their extroverted side only when they feel comfortable or are among people they trust or acted friendly towards them. Call it selective extroversion, if you will.

“We conceptualize other-contingent (extroversion) as an individual difference in the tendency to elevate one’s state extraversion when interacting with friendly others,” the researchers noted in the paper, which was published in the Journal of Individual Differences.

Note: psychologists prefer to use the term "extravert," but we normal people prefer "extrovert." Because extravert sounds a little too, well, extra.

In an experiment, they invited over 83 individuals to join a three-week study in which they were asked to answer questions daily pertaining to their interactions with other people and the type of people they talked to. Prior to this, the respondents disclosed their level of perceived extroversion.


The researchers (and the respondents) found that while those who labeled themselves as extroverts were more extroverted with friendly people, so were the introverts. The friendlier the person, the more extroverted these supposed introverts became.

So there you have it.

If you’re that person who’s quiet around strangers but talkative around friends, then there’s a good chance you fall into this mouthful of a category: other-contingent extrovert.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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