Being forced into isolation has many of us questioning whether we are the introvert we thought we were. Spending 99% or our time alone or with a very small group of people in our homes has brought out some feelings about craving company from others. Never fear, you probably are still very much an introvert.
The dictionary defines an introvert as a reserved or shy person who enjoys spending time alone. I’m not sure how old that definition is but I do feel that there is so much more to defining what an introvert, an extrovert (a gregarious and unreserved person), or ambivert (in the middle of the two). Like many aspects of humanity, there’s a spectrum.
Being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a recluse, it just means that you perhaps are at your best when you can focus on something deeply, or when socializing, you prefer a small group of close friends to a large party. You probably get recharged after having time alone and are a pretty active thinker. Loud and crowded places can be overwhelming or drain you. All these things, however, don’t mean you want to be by yourself all the time.
There is a ton of study into introversion and extroversion and the different labels we afford them. But I don’t think we should get hung up on the labels, it is more useful to understand yourself and how you function best, what you need to recharge. This is where the research is helpful.
I feel like I know a lot of introverted people and have heard a lot of jokes about how this situation was made for them. It is important that we keep an eye on our extroverted friends, they may be struggling a fair bit with a lack of social interaction and stimulation right now. Remember they love a good crowd and to be loud and there really isn’t any of that going on. They might need you to swing by their house and yell out to them from the street. And as Samantha Edmonds said in her NY Times piece, ‘…chin up my beloved extroverts! We will crowd again.’
It’s a hard road for a lot of us and I’ve heard from some of even the most reclusive people I know are realizing how much they miss the company of others and the freedom of movement we had a couple of months ago. We will get it back, but in the meantime, reach out to your friends and family any way you can. Keep talking.