Being an ambivert is not an easy task. There are extroverts on one side who are judged for being over friendly. On the other side, there are sworn-to-secrecy introverts. It is a problem for the ambiverts though who aren’t too sure about which side of the spectrum they lie on.
Shall I be an introvert or an extrovert here? Being an ambivert, I always find myself having to make this choice in different situations. It’s usually quick and depends on the people around you. However, this mechanism fails miserably at a hostile place for most ambiverts – the corridors.
It can be any corridor; the one in your school, college or office. That doesn’t really matter. But what matters is the walk that you have to endure.
The walk? That’s it? you might think. Yes, the very ‘whether should I wave at that person?’ walk. It’s an easy walk for most introverts. They just ignore everyone and make no eye contact. For extroverts as well, they will smile at most of the people if not everyone.
So when an ambivert sees a person approaching, their mind starts performing mind-boggling calculations. Being an engineer, I love solving equations. The equation in consideration is the one I share with the person approaching me. I try to find a boolean answer to the following equation:
To wave or not to wave?
The calculation begins as soon as I spot a figure at the far end of the corridor and proceeds as follows:
Calculate the approximate probability of you being familiar with the silhouette you spot. If the chance is less than or equal to 40%, terminate the process and relax. If greater, continue.
As the image of the person starts getting clearer, distinguish – friend, not a friend or acquaintance. If a friend, smile. If not a friend, ignore and if an acquaintance, continue.
(could turn out to be slightly awkward for some people like me)
Make eye contact. The first one should be a short one. Look at them in the eye and swiftly look elsewhere: at the floor or at the ceiling. Now, make eye contact again but hold it a little longer this time. Depending on what you think after this, find answers to following questions:
1. Will they wave back at me if I wave at them?
2. Do they even remember me?
3. When was the last time we talked?
4. Am I always the one who takes the initiative?
5. Will I be too friendly if I greeted them?
Even if one of above the questions result in an answer which gives you some kind of a weird and negative feeling, abort. You have gotten a false value. Do not wave, greet or smile.
Else, keep processing.
However, by the time you are making the calculations, both of you have just shared a smile somehow. Well and good. But that’s not the only possibility. There’s a chance that you have decided to smile but the other person just looked away. If that is the case, continue to Step four.
No matter how petty all of this may seem to others, accept that you are hurt. You failed to do your math right. It was your fault that you thought the corridor was a nice place to check how well you socialize.
Corridors and ambiverts just don’t get along. It’s just a bad combination overall. In fact, it goes to show how difficult it can be to be an “in-between” in today’s world.
So when they say passing a smile to people makes the world a better place – sorry, I’m not convinced.