Podcast – Episode 0044 – Does The Ambivert Personality Exist?

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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about the ambivert personality and whether or not it exists.

In this podcast on the ambivert personality you’ll find:

  • What is an Ambivert Personality? Does it really exist?
  • All of us have one introverted and one extraverted process in dealing with the mental world
  • Example: ENFP. Extraverted Intuition/Introverted Feeling
  • Both introverted and extraverted processes are important and as you grow and develop these processes, the more you appear as a person with an ambiverts personality.
  • We generally assume that extraversion means social (extraversion with people) and we assume that introversion excludes other human beings. However there are mental processes that are extraverted but are not social, and there are introverted processes that necessitates getting in touch with people.
  • Ambiverts are the ones that who have a strong association of these two processes. They can see the part of them that is both extraverted and introverted.
  • Don’t mistake your identity to a four-letter code, that’s a starting place of understanding how your mind works. You are way more than what any personality system can type you. Don’t assume that it explains everything about you.
  • Your co-pilot is the highest leverage growth opportunity for you. The point of the map is to simplify.
  • You need different styles of maps for understanding personality development and how your mind works.

Does the Ambivert Personality Exist #ambivert #MBTI

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Showing 19 comments
  • Bernard

    Hey there. This is something that I’ve been struggling with in self identification of type. One thing/process you said really helps though :
    Step 1. choose your top decision making and top learning cognitive functions (which for me wasn’t that difficult)
    Step 2. Ask yourself if your preference is for learning or deciding. (also relatively easy for me)

    The key for me was not having to choose between which of the two “front seats” I prefer. Reducing the question instead to the more generic question of learning /deciding, really made a difference (for me at least).

    Great legacy of podcasts – thanks!

  • Leora

    ENFP here too, never able to figure out whether I am an introvert or an extravert, that worked perfectly for me, thank you so much

    • Charis Branson

      Thanks for your comment, Leora! I’m glad the information was able to bring you some understanding.

  • Kunjana

    hi! i think this podcast was wonderful and so balanced. i want to thank you two for being so honest and not just selling your programs for personal gains etc but really being so so invested and excited about real self-growth and self-understanding, and being kind and honest enough to warn your users and listeners about the limitations of the tools being offered. thanks for being true to the journey of self-growth and for not maintaining any illusions about the flaws and limitations of the system, it is not very often that such ethic is shown. i also loved how you both clarified that this is only one tool out of the many we use, and that overvaluing it would be a folly. i am an INFJ and i know groups on Facebook for the INFJ community where they can almost fight to fit into this category and anything that seems to contradict a typical INFJ description suddenly becomes ground for attacking and criticizing the entire MBTI system. so thank you for clarifying misconceptions about the MBTI and for encouraging and being excited about collective self-growth.

  • John Danzer


    Are you following a Jungian theory of individuation where the goal is to integrate your functions into a balanced mandala configuration? I think that is the Pygmalion project that Kiersey cautions us. The goal of individuation shouldn’t be to try to bump up your lower functions but rather to identify the proper configuration of the function stack. We are all condemned to being ourselves. We need to know our natural type and learn how to manage what we have. Our progress doesn’t come from changing individual functions but learning the point where we need to ally ourselves with someone whose personality is better suited to accomplishing the stage of a project that we aren’t equipped to handle proficiently. At some point, all individuals are failures. Success emerges when we integrate/cooperate with others collectively.
    Some people are naturally balanced between thinking and feeling or sensation and intuition. Most people are maladapted by virtue of their experience, or lack of experience with parents and other authorities. What shows up on a paper and pencil test is the person’s opinion of their adapted personality. After all, the person who says he is a certain type makes that claim from a very biased position. Usually this isn’t catastrophic because humans are quite plastic. But, some are extremely maladapted. It is possible under trauma to adopt a personality diametrically opposite to what you would develop under normal conditions.

    This brings up an important question. If you suddenly feel you have made a break through after trying to develop your auxiliary function, do you really know that you have developed that function or whether that function was naturally your dominant and you previously were suppressing your dominant with your auxiliary because of a maladaptation? You can’t really be sure.

    What law outside of Jung’s map says you can’t be so closely balanced between two aspects of your functions so that the best description would be that you are indeed both? The rule that if your dominant is extroverted then your auxiliary function must be introverted – Who decided that? Where is the data? Without data we are left with ambiguity and ambiguity craves dogma to settle things.
    Arbitrary rules are just one more roadblock to self-discovery. “You must not violate the rules.” If a person doesn’t feel solidly introverted or extroverted don’t force them to comply with the theory. Let them be both because who gives the coach or therapist the authority of Pygmalion?

    • Antonia Dodge

      Developing the auxiliary/secondary/Co-Pilot (call it what you will) isn’t focusing on one’s weaknesses. I actually actively tell people to avoid trying to balance their tertiary (10 year old) and inferior (3 year old) processes for the exact reason you mentioned. It takes three times as much effort for half the gain, and it forces a person into a place that feels unnatural and inauthentic. Hire someone else to do those things. It seems unreasonable to need to be ‘all things to all people’.

      From my perspective it’s not really about a ‘rule’ or ‘rules’. It’s more about what makes sense to me and has had observable results (in more people than simply myself).

      I see introversion as a way to get inside oneself and introspect. I see extraversion as a way to get outer world feedback. Both seem to be just as necessary as the other, and if we’re unable to do either one (or are stunted in either) we’re probably going to have a bad time of it. Hyper-focus on either world at the expense of the other generally manifests in a variety of interesting neuroses (depending on the flavor of extraversion or introversion).

      The easiest way to explain my take on this is in a webinar we did recently to pitch Profiler Training. I have the video time stamped to start at 23:00 (and the relevant info goes to about 53:00):


      One final thought on the Pygmalion project. As I understood Keirsey’s description, the Pygmalion project was about entering a relationship (romantic, friendship, coach, etc.) with someone of a different type and then over time systematically pressuring them to become more like you and your type. The differences that initially attracted you are now unacceptable (since that person isn’t perfectly mirroring your experience in life) and that needs to be changed. So, you start ‘chiseling away’ at them. I believe this is different than personality development, where the individual’s type is the backbone of progress. As a coach, it’s my job to see what’s awesome in my client and make sure they’re capitalizing on and exercising their natural talents. Not to turn them into some variation of me.


  • Jillian

    So if a person exercises both their driver and copilot enough could they switch seats? Become fluid enough they could identify with both the E and I profiles of their preferred styles? Say An INFP could also identify with an ENFP?

    • Antonia Dodge

      These two functions won’t ‘switch’ seats. You will have a definitive preference for your natural Driver process. It remains your flow state and your ‘favorite tool in your toolbox’. The more you develop your Co-Pilot, though, the less hyper-reliant you are on the Driver. You become more balanced and familiar with both the introverted and extraverted worlds.

      An INFP won’t become an ENFP and vice-versa. But an INFP will become more comfortable with the outer world using their Exploration process (so they may appear more chatty, or comfortable in groups, etc), and an ENFP is going to be more comfortable navigating their ‘inner world’ terrain using Authenticity (and may appear more calm, centered with less compulsion to be performing for others).


      • john danzer


        I see your point. I am not trying to be a “griefer”. I think the work you are doing is excellent. You and Joel are born communicators and you have chosen to communicate some of the best information available on personality.

        I just feel that if a person is balanced between two functions we shouldn’t be dogmatic. Some people need a place holder such as ambiversion because it actually reflects their development. I think there is more benefit than harm in allowing people to be their ambiverted selves.

        • Antonia Dodge

          That is probably true. Our primary focus is on the importance of developing that secondary (or, “Co-Pilot”) process, and so assumes the individual isn’t perfectly balanced. So, in a convoluted way, our core audience isn’t ambiverted by nature of who it is we’re talking to.

          Does that make sense? :p


  • john danzer

    The reason I have trouble with the MBTI is that it is an either/or structure. Nature doesn’t work that way.
    Nature doesn’t work that way. For an example consider the weather. Suppose you applied the either/or model to weather prediction. You decide 50 degrees Fahrenheit is the midpoint for temperature. You make the midpoint for humidity 50%. You make the midpoint for wind speed 25 miles per hour. There is no partly cloudy. The sky is either sunny or overcast. The weatherman looks at the data and discovers it’s 52 degrees, the humidity is 55% the wind is 19 miles per hour and there are clouds low on the horizon. So how does he describe the weather?
    “Today its going to be overcast, hot and humid with a light breeze”
    You quote Korzybski. But he had a lot more to say than “the map is not the territory”. He encouraged “degree” thinking. Things are on a continuum. Why do you dance around the fact that everyone is introverted or extraverted to some degree. Those who are extreme extraverts aren’t going to be extreme introverts. However, when you are very close to a match on the two it would be appropriate to refer to this conditions as ambiversion. All it means is that the two characteristics are so close that a test score might be ambiguous.
    There is a unique beauty that emerges from this situation. Antonio said the two would be battling it out. What happens in a tug-o-war where both sides are very closely matched? Quite often the results are determined by environmental factors such as wind, unevenness of the playing field, one side has the sun in their eyes etc. This is another way of describing “adaptation”. If a person is pretty close on both extraversion and introversion it makes the results more adaptable because there are more possibilities. The same can be said about any of the dichotomies including the so-called cognitive functions. Feeling and thinking, Sensation and Intuition.
    That’s why tests have shown that people who are close on extraversion and introversion make better sales persons especially when dealing with products or services that require flexibility in customer relations.
    Part of the problem with Jung is that he was in love with the four quadrant structure. This leads to his diagram of intersecting lines of Sensation/Intuition and Thinking/ Feeling. A triangle would be a better diagram. (Buckminster Fuller would agree). Think of feeling, thinking, sensation being the three corners of the triangle. Intuition would be right in the middle of the triangle because the middle is super-connected and intuition is all about connectedness.

    You combine the measures of Intuition and Sensation to express the degree of extraversion and introversion would be the sum of the thinking and feeling dimensions. Which ever sum is the highest that would probably be the dominant. This is much simpler than trying to explain things away with the cognitive function explanation. Cognitive functions are based on some things Jung said in a very brief sentence and his followers made a religion out of it.

    • guest

      Mbti theory is not an either or system. It doesn’t claim that you are either an intuitive or a sensor. It only claims that you have a preference for one function over another. As an intp I have sensing and intuition in my function stack. It just happens that I prefer extroverted intuition more over my introverted sensing. A better understanding of function theory will help in understanding the nuances in the overall mbti theory.

      • john danzer

        A Guest:
        Although I am not a fan of Jung and have zero training as a therapist I thoroughly understand the functions as do numerous Jungian psychologists who object to the construct of the MBTI. It’s not rocket science.

        CAPT, the organization that promotes the MBTI, has too much invested in their marketing organization to give unbiased information on their test. Mahlberg, Burney, June Singer, Mary Loomis have published serious critiques of the MBTI. Take the time to investigate the SLIP (Singer-Loomis-Inventory of Personality). Better yet take the test. It constructs it’s questions based on a Likert scale of 1 to 5 showing degree of agreement.

        My objection to podcast 44 is that it discourages people from understanding that extroversion and introversion can both be independently expressed in terms of degree like everything else in nature. If your score is equal on the test neither dominates at the point in time you take the test. At best it would mean a person is moderately extroverted and moderately introverted which would best be simply described as ambiverted. It changes the calculus to one of flexibility. If you are fairly balanced on extroversion/introversion why not just acknowledge that as the way you are? Ambivert.

        The appeal to the hierarchy of functions is an attempt to get around the errors of Jung’s scheme. If the MBTI is not an either/or system why is it that you can’t have the following function hierarchy.
        Se Ne Fi Ti . What proven data says that if the dominant function is extroverted then the Auxiliary function MUST be introverted.

        What is ignored is the possibility that S and N are inherently always extroverted and F and T are always by nature introverted. What is called introverted Sensation would actually be someone whose hierarchy of functions are as follows S F T I. This would be the case if on a scale of some sort the F and T (both naturally introverted) exceed the value of S. I don’t expect anyone to understand this especially if you have been immersed in Jungian typology. Stated simply you need to understand Introversion and Extroversion as an emergent trait based on the the hierarchy of the functions and the relative value of each function.

        • Antonia Dodge

          John – I think the reason I keep mentioning Korzybski’s “map” quote is because it’s the basis of how I see all models. If a model is helpful and working for you, use it until it stops working.

          Most people are not used to models. They aren’t systems thinkers. The easier the barrier of entry for a model, the more accessible it is to a higher percentage of people. MB has a low barrier of entry. Introducing people to the next more complicated construct of it – cognitive functions – usually crashes and burns because understanding the concept is too challenging. Not that people aren’t smart, they simply aren’t used to thinking in models. My observation (which is in no way reality) is that guiding others into an understanding of cognitive functions is an amazing first step in introducing models and systems thinking at all. It’s fun. It’s self-reflective. It’s a great introduction to personal development which already has a built-in infrastructure. And it’s not dangerous to see life through this lens. Since you correctly guessed my history in an email conversation between us, you know that I’m fully aware of dangerous models that people buy hook, line and sinker. This is not one of those paradigms or self-understanding tools that end up trapping others into deferred life programs and/or encouraging one to outsource their values.

          It’s not complete. More maps are needed to have a fuller, richer understanding of the self and ‘reality’ (whatever that is). In fact, at a certain point the model fully breaks down and becomes meaningless. But that’s the next step, and from where I stand one can’t skip steps.

          I’m thinking you want the most detailed map possible. But you know the more fully a map represents ‘reality’ the more complex it is, and eventually it becomes useless. The key is to find a map that accurately depicts ‘reality’ (as is perceived by an almost endless series of feedback mechanisms), isn’t too off-kilter as to make one disingenuous or create cognitive dissonance, and isn’t so complex as to become useless. The map one settles on should be based on one’s current level of sophistication with map-reading, and it will invariably change over time in favor of better or simply newer maps. Though the best maps are generally revisited as some point in your life.

          So, all of that said, if you don’t like the MB map, that’s okay. If you disagree with the way we describe the ambivert terrain, okay. There are other ways of seeing it. Again, it’s not dangerous to see it either way. No one is going to take up arms based on an interpretation of how personal energy management works. And if how a person sees introversion/extraversion/ambiversion is harming their energy management and making them sick (psychologically or physically) then it’s on the person themselves to determine this and release the tool that isn’t serving them.

          To me, Jungian cognitive functions are a solid map for our audience. In Jungian functions, it works the way we described in this podcast. And when people outgrow it or exchange it in favor for other maps (models), or simply add more maps to their collection I in no way take that personally. I sold a map at a certain part of the road to help at a certain part of the journey. I don’t think everyone has to stop at my little shack on the road.


  • Leon

    I value your entrepreneurship and your vision, and the message behind this whole website in general. I hope you can keep up the good work, and I look forward to your future work here!


  • Monroe


    Great podcast. How is it determined if you are introverted or extroverted or any of the other categories? What I mean is are you born introverted or do you become introverted due to your enviornment or over time? Can you change and use a different process as your main or favorite process? Can an introvert become dominantly and extrovert?

    Thanks for the podcast.

    • Antonia Dodge

      There’s some evidence to indicate that Introversion/Extraversion is in your DNA, but I don’t think anything at this point is definitive. My observation is that your preference doesn’t change over time, but rather that you’re able to grow your ‘auxiliary’ extraverted process with time and development. You’ll always keep your introverted preference, you’ll just have more skill using your extraverted mental process which gives you greater adaptability.

      Most people are so in love with their primary process (be it introverted or extraverted) they wouldn’t want to change it. 🙂

      Thanks for the question!


  • Jeff

    Hey this one was pretty cool! I do now see a need for you two to start digging into cognative functions a bit further. At one point I did think I was both introverted and extroverted but understanding my preferred methods of learning and decision making helped. I am an INTJ but at work I seem to function more like an extrovert because my extroverted thinking really plays out. Many people are shocked to learn that I am actually introvert and I explain my need to get away and recharge quite often.

    What I personally am interested in hearing from you two is doing a relationship comparison of 2 personalities. My wife is an ESFJ and I am an INTJ. I have been studying our two personality types in a relationship and believe that we balance quite well. I think it would be cool to see you two explore personality types in a relationship and point out what is common to see work and not work.

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