“Human beings are social beings.” Dalai Lama
Overnight, social distancing has changed the lives of people all over the world. As I write this, coronavirus has spread to over 180 countries and we still can’t say with complete certainty how long this will last. With the virus not sparing anyone, lockdowns and social distancing have become necessary precautions. Now we are challenged to discover the best ways of dealing with the situation.
For most people, they took the news with shock, stress, and anxiety, but not everyone is feeling this way. For introverts, you can say this period (not the virus, but quarantine) has presented itself like a welcome respite, where they can have all the time in the world to reflect, be with their thoughts, introspect, read books or develop new skills and interests. And with governments’ full support! It’s a great time to be an introvert.
Friendly and out-going extroverts don’t see it as something positive. Extroverts, who thrive in social environments and love meeting new people and going to gatherings and crowded social events, are having a hard time adjusting to these unprecedented and uncertain times. They aren’t prepared for long periods of self – isolation and staying indoors, and that result in frustration, boredom, and anxiety. The good news for extroverts is that social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. There is a way to connect with our friends even in these strange and difficult times.
We are only as isolated as we make ourselves. Even in these “socially distant” times, social contacts are only limited but not broken. It looks like extroverts have made new friends even in difficult times. There are many examples of people using their positivity and compassion to develop stronger and meaningful relationships
Andrea, for example, is a chef from Italy and he is giving live cooking lessons a couple of times a week to his friends and followers through Instagram videos. This is his way of connecting with people and cheering others up while sharing his knowledge and passion, he says. He and his wife are having weekly group calls with their friends in Italy through “Zoom”. Sometimes they have online talks over a glass of wine or have online pizza nights to keep these meetings even more exciting.
Tina, an elementary school teacher from Croatia, keeps herself busy through online classes and Q&A’s with her students. Additionally, the whole school took on a project assigning all students with filming themselves performing ‘The School Anthem’ and sending their videos to their teacher to edit. In the end, the videos will be presented in an online competition where teachers and other school staff choose the best performance. Good luck, students! She says projects like this keep her motivated and positive.
Sandra, a pensioner from Croatia, entertains herself by talking to her neighbor from her balcony. Sometimes, other neighbors join them in conversation, which she says makes it even more amusing. During her dog walks she sits on park benches along with other dog walkers, keeping the distance of course, and they engage in many joyful and lively discussions about the latest events and news. She says she had never thought she’d meet as many people in her neighborhood as she has in this last month.
Julia (Australia) and her group of friends love to make each other laugh over comic- and quarantine related Instagram posts, such as: “Did a load of pajamas today so I would have clean work clothes this week.” She says these jokes make her feel more included and force her to see the whole situation from a different perspective. The best part of her week, she says, is when her whole family goes picnicking on the beach and, although they are keeping distance, they laugh and have a good time. “It made me realize how social connection is important.”
Daniel (Australia) said it was amazing for him to see how some classes he had to drop appeared online. He now gets to join online meditation lessons three times a week with his meditation group and workout online with his trainer. “I want to keep my mind and body active,” he says.
Tomas (Argentina) loves to play video games with his friends or go out with them to enjoy the sun while having a few drinks, keeping social distance of course. At home, he solves puzzles with his girlfriend and once she even made him follow a couple of online dance routines. For him, it was very silly. “I am not much of a dancer, but it made her laugh, so it was all worth it.”
The time has come to redefine social media and reach out to others or offer a friendly hand to those who have trouble adjusting to this new reality. Who knows, maybe it will lead to new friendships, business opportunities or even romantic relationships. Even if we are not extroverts, we can all relate to this basic need for human contact that is now missing, and find comfort in knowing that people are now more than ever connected in solidarity.
So, my dear fellow extroverts stay positive and loud! Now is the time the world needs our sociability and friendliness. Be yourselves and shine for us online as you would “offline”.