We’re living in strange and unprecedented times right now and it can all feel a little overwhelming. We’re (hopefully) all pulling our own weight and following the advice of professionals. Together with keeping up our hand washing and general cleanliness in public places, the whole world has been given one clear instruction – practice social distancing.
Before the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak, I had never heard the term “social distancing” and I think it’s fair to say I’m not the only one. It is a new phrase sweeping the globe and it’s been a bit of an adjustment for some. But for the others, we’ve have been practicing social distancing all our lives without even noticing.
Being an introvert and social distancing go hand in hand.
What Is Social Distancing?
Governments and medical professionals all over the world have requested that we all practice social distancing. This strategy’s aim is to reduce and slow down the spread of the virus, so we don’t overwhelm our medical services and hospitals.
The rules of social distancing are simple, and incredibly attractive to an introvert. Stay in your own home as much as possible – easy. Avoid gatherings and large crowds – delightful. Work from home and avoid public transport – done and done. If you do have to go out, avoid other people – what more could we want!?
If we all follow these rules, even if we feel completely healthy, we can prevent the virus from spreading must further and we can minimize the risk of vulnerable people catching it.
What Is Social Distancing to An Introvert?
Whilst everyone else is panicking about what they’ll do during this time of social distancing, introverts aren’t feeling much different at all. We all feel the stress and the fear, but being self-isolated isn’t the issue.
We’ve honed the art of being alone after years of voluntary isolation. Except, to an introvert, it’s not isolation at all, it’s necessary me-time. Constant social interaction, large crowds and being out in the world all day can be exhausting for an introvert. Our homes are our safe places that we retreat to for refueling. It is now a government instruction that we have to stay home as much as possible, which means never running low on fuel at all.
Most of us introverts will understand the nerves that arrive on Friday as we start to worry that we’ll be invited out. Weekends are prime time for parties, loud gatherings and late nights. Fridays are for planning your excuses. What better excuse than a government-imposed social distancing scheme.
“Sorry, I can’t go out. The Government says no.” There’s never been a more legitimate excuse since our Mothers were in charge of our schedule.
Even better is the reduction in invites altogether. Suddenly there is no expectation to get out there and overwhelm and exhaust yourself. We are free to be as introverted as we need.
What Can Extroverts Learn from Social Distancing?
Extroverts thrive in the presence of company. For some, it truly is the more the merrier. Their love of being around others could make this time of social distancing feel quite difficult. Fortunately, there’s plenty to be learned from their fellow introverts.
What better time than now to learn how to be comfortable in your own company. A great skill to have is the ability to entertain yourself and be alone with your thoughts.
Extroverts tend to have a habit of filling their time and mind so much that they don’t have to consider their deeper thoughts. It’s time to start learning who you really are and what you really want. This quiet time could totally transform the way you think if you use it well.
Extroverts are often busier people in general because unlike an introvert, they excel in “full-on” situations. Busy work lets you ignore your thoughts and any troubles that might be brewing under the surface. Social distancing is forcing us to slow down. No more mindlessness. This time brings opportunities for quiet activities extroverts might normally avoid. Try meditation, baking, yoga or writing.
What Has Social Distancing Taught Introverts?
Introverts love to be alone, or maybe at best with our close circle of loved ones. Unfortunately, this forced social distancing is making even the most introverted amongst us miss the company of others.
As an introvert myself, I already feel like I’ll never take for granted or roll my eyes at invitations to be with friends or family. We all need a little company sometimes. People may be loud and a bit much sometimes, but surely, it’s better than staying away from everyone and everything for an uncertain amount of time.
During this time of uncertainly and anxiety, revel in the opportunity to grow and learn as people. Extroverts should be taking social distancing as a chance to practice peace and quiet. Introverts love the space to think and just be as they are.
Extroverts could gain so much perspective by taking on some introverted traits while we wait this phase-out, just as introverts could learn an awful lot from those extroverted traits we covet. Introverts should be using this time to be a little more grateful for communities, for the ability to socialize. It’s barely been a week and I’d give just about anything to be in an overwhelming loud crowd right about now.
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