The Odd Life of a Univert
Univert. Solovert? One-at-a-Time-Vert? Ya know, not an Extrovert, definitely not an Introvert, but still not an Ambivert. Yeah.
It's a beautiful Sunday morning and I'm up early. I spend a small amount of time getting ready for the day (scroll through my social media and maybe put a shirt on) and start to think about who I want to receive my undivided attention today. Because, you see, I am a Univert. What is a Univert? It is a fake word I have invented (thanks brain) to explain to people why I always seem so busy but also have no friends. I almost exclusively want to chill with on person at a time. Maybe you can relate! Conversations are deeper and more quality, there are no group dynamics you have to navigate BUT ALSO, as a verbal processor, you are not alone. You can have a witness to this thing called life that you're doing. That's pretty freakin' cool if you ask me.
I'm sure I'm not the only person out there who exclusively wants to hang out with one person at a time. I think a lot of romantic relationships morph people into Univerts. They've found their person and that's who they want to spend a bulk of their time with- and that's great! But what about those of us who want that kind of partnership and don't have partners? We rely heavily on a small army of confidants. Univerts are the kind of people who yes (like extroverts) want to get their work done in a coffee shop but yes (like introverts) want to not be bothered by anyone but then ALSO Univerts want someone to share the table with. That's what Univerts are all about: sharing time, space, and energy.
Let's not get crazy- I don't want EVERY activity to be with one other person. "Hey, Sarah, I was hoping to take a relaxing epsom salt bath, you free around 7?" No. But I can see how Univerts may be serial daters OR serial monogamists based on this desire for intimacy. And intimacy can just simply be knowing things about a person that nobody else knows. Still not getting it? Let's take some familiar concepts and throw my fake word at them:
Things Univerts Have in Common With Extroverts
- Love people (but, ya know, just one at a time)
- Solve problems through discussion (Univerts are often conversationalists. Some more talkers, some more listeners, but in general just a whole lot of both)
- Open books (but maybe not as performative as Extroverts)
- Can feel isolated/lonely when solitary
Please, let me remind you, I'm making all this shit up.
Things Univerts Have in Common With Ambiverts
- Sees and experiences the benefits of socializing and alone time (like... everyone does.)
- ACTUALLY the term ambivert kind of bothers me because DUH people experience both extrovert and introvert tendencies because that is the way that we are socialized and function in society and guess what labels are dumb anyway but I guess sometimes it can be nice to distance yourself from whatever constructs and judgements people have in their mind to different categories like Extrovert and Introvert and maybe we just want the opportunity to be more specific about how we feel and to take a second to explain ourselves especially depending on the circumstances I mean people have gone through some shit and maybe don't want to go to your big party Brittney because of some anxiety and they don't need to explain that to you, thanks.
- Comfortable in most environments (do NOT @ me, Brittney.)
- Indecisive AF.
- Enjoy spending time around both Introverts and Extroverts.
Things Univerts Have in Common With Introverts
- Fewer, closer friends
- Can feel drained around a lot of people (crowds, parties, etc)
- Introspective (but see "Extrovert" for verbal processing... I guess Univerts just like to talk about themselves.)
A couple weeks ago I had a dear friend ask if I wanted to get brunch. Um, hell yeah (obviously) but when she said someone else was going to join us I was actually shocked. A funny thing to be shocked by, but I was taken aback nonetheless. She was able to divide her attention to more than one person? But how could I navigate our close friendship with someone who I considered an acquaintance*? Was this other friend on the same friend caste system level that I had created in my head?? Don't worry, I realized how dumb this was immediately after texting her:
*I think I tried to spell this word about 12 times before I finally just decided to Google it because spellcheck was being a bitch. Spellcheck is not my friend NOR is it my acquaintance. It's RUDE.
Followed up this text with a swift "I'm just being the worst" (no emoji or anything so you know I was being serious.) But Univerts: IT'S OK! Just like an Introvert who needs to say hi to the dogs at the party and leave super early or the Extrovert that wants to go clubbing on a Tuesday, you've got your own hangups too! They're not bad, they're just U...nivert tendencies. Be mindful of what you expect of others and be flexible with your definitions of yourself. Because that brunch was one of the best and most memorable I have had (Summer 2018, hell yeah) and I'm so glad I didn't keep myself from a great opportunity for camaraderie. Everyone, everywhere: be yourself, but also push your own boundaries.
The word Univert will never be a thing, and that's cool, but now you know a little more about me. A-person-who-almost-exclusively-wants-to-hang-out-with-one-person-at-a-time: A Univert! (But don't just not invite us to stuff 'cause that sucks.)
Does this sound like you? Comment below with some other characteristics you find interesting about Univerts. Or, if you aren't one, be kind to the ones in your life. Maybe give them a call and ask them to do something. Maybe a coffee shop or cocktail, maybe a movie, maybe a one-on-one lunch date or walk. Platonically, though. Let's not get weird. Thanks.
Why did I capitalize Extrovert, Ambivert, Univert, Introvert? I don't know. I went to college and see what good it did me.