STARTING LIFE AS AN ESTJI've always been a big fan of the Meyers Briggs Personality Test because it does quite an accurate job of summing up the characteristics of the people I know who've taken it. For years my result always came out as ESTJ and I was fine with that. My husband (the eternal introvert) always strongly agreed with my assessment and the fact that I was an extrovert (the "E" of ESTJ) and I continued to believe this until I recently redid the test.
MORPHING IN MIDLIFETo my surprise, the "E" had changed to an "I" and lately I seem to be ticking a lot more introverted boxes. This threw me a bit - and rattled my husband's cage a little too! He was still insistent that I was the extrovert in the family because I liked spending time with friends and chatting.
What I've come to see though, is that as much as I enjoy the company of others, I also really enjoy time by myself. I'm just not a party person any more and if there is an excuse not to attend then I'll find it. I find large groups of people quite exhausting these days and much prefer catching up with one or two people at a time. Too much noise and too many conversations all going at once just seem to drain the life out of me and I end up with a headache and a sense that I didn't really connect with anyone on more than a superficial level.
CHANGING MY LABELRecently I found an article on the term "Ambivert" - which defines a different subset of people (apparently it covers two thirds of the population) who aren't really extroverted or introverted - they float somewhere in the middle. I felt like I'd found a definition for the person I've become in midlife - the woman who loves company but also loves being alone. I also found a great quote from Sylvester McNutt III (great name!) who describes the term in the quote below:
9 SIGNS OF AN AMBIVERT
Another article I read entitled 9 Signs That You're An Ambivert by Travis Bradberry lists nine statements that apply to Ambiverts:
1. I can perform tasks alone or in a group. I don’t have much preference either way.
2. Social settings don’t make me uncomfortable, but I tire of being around people too much.
3. Being the center of attention is fun for me, but I don’t like it to last.
4. Some people think I’m quiet, while others think I’m highly social.
5. I don’t always need to be moving, but too much down time leaves me feeling bored.
6. I can get lost in my own thoughts just as easily as I can lose myself in a conversation.
7. Small talk doesn’t make me uncomfortable, but it does get boring.
8. When it comes to trusting other people, sometimes I’m skeptical, and other times, I dive right in.
9. If I spend too much time alone, I get bored, yet too much time around other people leaves me feeling drained.
I can tick every one of those boxes! So now I'm going to say I'm an ASTJ if people ask - I still have a lot of the ESTJ traits, but I think I might be mellowing in midlife!