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An Introvert in the Time of Covid

Introverts need people, too.

Introverts need people too

Like many introverts, when the pandemic shutdowns began, my first thought was, “I’ve got this!”

I didn’t always know I was an introvert. I thought I was just shy (which I was and still am. I just bluff better about that now that I’m old…er.) I had a kind of aha/wild relief period when I realized that a lot of my social difficulties were because I was an introvert. It was also comforting to realize I wasn’t alone. 

How to know if you’re an introvert:

1. You are comfortable being alone. (More on this later.)

2. You can feel lonely or overwhelmed in a crowd. 

3. Networking is challenging (to say the least). 

4. Texting is easier than talking on the phone. (I have to make myself dial numbers to order things or make appointments.)

5. You feel exhausted after a party or social event. (And possibly cranky.)

6. You avoid being the center of attention or fall back on a “routine” when you realize you’ve inadvertently become the center of attention (or are forced into it by circumstances). 

7. You will do weird things to avoid small talk. (Like waiting until everyone has gone inside before going out to get your mail.)

8. You do a lot of your living inside your head (possibly having all the conversations there that you didn’t have at the party. Yes, you can talk to people who are no longer there.)

9. The self-checkout aisle is your friend. So is online ordering. And contactless delivery. 

But a strange thing happened on the way to the pandemic, or while passing through the pandemic. I realized that even introverts need hugs and voices and human interaction. 

Introverts need people, too. 

That’s probably why, despite my introvert tendencies, I have left my house, traveled to cities where there are concentrations of people, and gone to parties. (Here are some tips for handling parties as an introvert: How to Survive Birthday Parties as An Introvert. I’m posting this link in hope that we all will be able to start having parties again and I can start figuring out how to avoid some of them again. LOL)

I’ve learned a lot of things the last few months (and no, you don’t need to run in fear. I don’t plan to share them all here), but a big one for me was that knowing who and what I am, knowing what I need was important in navigating my way through this pandemic, just as it is important in my “normal” life. I can label myself all sorts of things, but none of them, by themselves, completely represents the totality and complexity that is ME. 

Yes, I’m an introvert and a hermit, but I’m also a wife, a mom, a grandma, a sister, a friend, an author, a citizen, a neighbor…I am a human being who needs other human beings, even if that need is hard for me to manage. I am the sum of a lot of parts.

And if you’ve read to the end of this blog post, then I hope you know you are one of those parts. That you show up here and read my meanderings is a connection that I also treasure. 

I hope you are doing as well as can be expected during this very challenging time. I suspect that, like me, you’re doing the best you can. Hang in there and we WILL get through this. 

Perilously yours,

Pauline

4 Comments

  1. Cara Bristol says:

    Yes, I’m an introvert and could easily spend my life as a hermit–if I allowed myself to. But everybody needs friends and contact with other people.So, I make an effort to get out and be social. Not as much as an extrovert would, but I don’t allow myself to hole up in the house. I genuinely enjoy and look forward to contact with friends, but to go to in a party or conference situation where I don’t know a lot of people? That’s another story.

    1. I think that is the dichotomy of the introvert. We really do enjoy our friends and family. We love them. But then we need recharge time. And yeah, those big events…

  2. Nancy Kay Bowden says:

    Of course, I read it all the way to the end! And I said “check” nine times. I miss hanging out with my kids. “Groups” that I barely started to get to know in person, after all the moving and then care-taking, have faded away. My neighbors across the street are moving somewhere, and I must admit I’ve lived here four years and wouldn’t recognize recognize them in the grocery store. That said, now with masks, I’m not sure I’d recognize my own daughters in a grocery store. COVID 19 has pushed being an introvert to an extreme. In many ways, nothing (for me) has changed. However, I wonder if I will suffer panic attacks once I’m back in a crowd. I miss chatting with people but I loathed/feared crowds (even in the mass exodus of a theater production or concert) before March came along and everything changed. We’re doing just fine for the most part, but we miss traveling. And hugs from the Grands. I don’t miss the airport crowds or packed flights. I’d like to wiggle my nose, like Samantha on Bewitched, end COVID 19 and skip planes when I want to get somewhere distant!

    1. I agree! Don’t miss the crowds or flying, but I sure missed the hugs. So very grateful to live where we are hugging again! Miss you and if you need to get somewhere, this is a great place to be right now! They even disbanded our Covid Response Team.

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