Covid-19: Check on the Extroverts
Where The People At?
You don't appreciate what you have until there's a threat of it going away.
We're now in a world where social distancing is not just advised, but is necessary to not just keep ourselves safe, but the vulnerable communities we might come into contact with. We're in a world where our usual activities are curtailed, for the time being at least, and the people we come into contact with are best seen via FaceTime or other video calling means. Even the most basic of routines have been thrown into turmoil and people aren't able, for the most part, to attend their workplaces in order to do the jobs that they might need to keep their families afloat. On the other side, there are so many individuals working on the front lines, risking their lives in an effort to beat back this virus.
Trying times, to be sure, and it's reshaping our social relationships.
Here's the thing: human beings thrive on contact with each other. Sure, there are some who we would class as introverts, who typically are pretty happy hanging out on their own and for whom being solitary is potentially less difficult than for others who we can consider as extroverts.
The extroverts are struggling with this, guys.
Take someone who is used to hanging out with a set group of individuals most days of the week, and then tell them they have to keep their distance from people. Tell them they can't go to their usual hangouts and see the people they talk to and hang out with. Tell them they can't even go and grab a coffee with a friend.
When you're an extrovert, there's a certain energy that comes from being around people, and when you're told you have to keep your distance from people, it's incredibly difficult. You suddenly have all this energy and nowhere for it to go. While I can't speak for everyone else's experience being extroverted, I can speak for my own and for that of my youngest daughter, who is 11 and who comes with me most places I go during the week.
Since COVID-19 started making its way through North America and everyone has been told to keep a social distance from those around them, I would say that extroverts are struggling. They aren't used to a fairly solitary existence, and that's pretty much what everyone's been asked to do at this point.
Some might argue that it really should not be that hard to be by oneself. In this very busy world where we tend to wear busyness as a badge of honor, sometimes I find that I struggle with where to put the energy that I've got that is not going to the usual sources it does.
My 11-year-old is having the same challenge that I am. She's got a very active imagination and tends to come with me almost everywhere I go in my travels throughout any given day, apart from school. Now, she can't really accompany me anywhere - at the very least, she can't come into the stores as we're trying to cut the numbers of people in the family that need to go into any building where there would be a fair number of people. I've tried to mitigate some of the solitude she might feel by taking her for drives or setting up video calls with some of her friends.
She's had some wrestling matches with her father, but her activity level has dropped significantly compared to our usual weekly outings, and it's been difficult for us both. Her attitude is prickly and she's touchier than a typical 11-year-old might be; I do expect that her attitude might start to shift, as she is starting to head into the preteen and teen years, but it makes it difficult given the current situation in the world right now.
In all honesty, I did not realize just how social I am. I was very quiet growing up and while I got along with pretty much everyone, I was OK with being alone many times. That has since changed as I grew up, and especially when I became a reporter. It's hard to be an introvert when you have to talk to a whole bunch of people you don't necessarily know.
I miss the people I see regularly.
To be sure, this would be far more challenging if we couldn't even text or video message our friends, but it just is not the same - not even a little.
This past week was March break in our school board, but I'd say for many, it potentially felt like one of the longest weeks of the year, simply because we've been working to restrict our movements and have not been able to interact with others the way we might usually do.
That being said, in spite of being extroverted, we do get the necessity of keeping a safe distance. We get the necessity that while this is going to be a habit-changing time of our lives, there will come a time when we can see the people that we became so used to seeing on a daily basis.
We just are finding it hard.