When people ask me if I am an introvert or extrovert, I confess that I never really know what to say. That is like asking if I am for Auburn or Alabama. How about neither? Today I am speaking up for those who have no obvious affinity to introversion or extroversion by making up a new, third social circle.
My name is Mark Dance, and I am a neithervert.
I suspect there are closet neitherverts reading this who did not know we had such a choice. It is time we claim our own social space between those well known weirdos whom others are writing books and blogs about.
Today is the day you and I boldly walk out of our closets and chat up a storm with whomever is nearby, then waltz right back into our closets to get away from those same people.
Only having two choices assumes that everyone is either constantly exhausted or energized by people. Neitherverts are hybrids who have no strong social preferences. We like people, but we rarely crave them or avoid them.
Neitherverts are unlike extroverts, who famously draw energy from other people. We usually don’t throw parties, but we like to attend them until we are bored and just want to go home.
Neitherverts are unlike introverts, who are mostly energized by being alone. Solitude energizes us too, until it feels like isolation, which is painfully lonely.
I’m not a sociologist or psychologist. To be honest, without spell-check, I can’t even spell those two professions. I am simply a guy with a new answer to the awkward question many of us have been dodging for years, “Are you an introvert or an extrovert?”
If you, too, are a neithervert, I hope to see you the next time I come out of my closet for a shot of human interaction. I will recognize you as one who is not avoiding or chasing me.
A thoughtful reader pointed out respectfully that there is a name physiologists have used since the 1920s called ambivert. Truthfully, I had never heard of that term. ambi is Latin for “on both sides.” Someday I will probably win a global award for correcting all those shrinks by making up a southern word that means “on neither side.”
All joking aside, I hope each of you knows that God made you exactly the way He wanted to.