I am an introvert in the truest sense of the word. I hate small talk, love deep and meaningful conversation, thrive on my alone time, and have a very vivid thought life. While I am very much a “people person” and have chosen a field of work in which I am interpersonally engaged all day long, it is in solitude that I am able to rejuvenate and recharge.
One might think that a mandate of social distancing would be every introvert’s dream, right? That’s certainly what many a meme would suggest.
The truth? Not so much. The difficulty I – like so many, both introverts and extroverts – am experiencing with the current social distancing guidelines has honestly caught me off guard. And I can explain it as succinctly as this: Human beings require connection. It’s been said that “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection.” In other words, when isolated, human beings are prone, in one way or another, to self-destruct.
How, then, are we – the introverts, the extroverts, the human beings of the world – to make it through this challenging time?
It starts with connection. If ever there was a time for that, it’s now – by any means possible under these social distancing guidelines. Why not find (or start!) a virtual support group via Zoom? Or FaceTime daily with your bestie? And did you know you can now host long–distance movie nights via Netflix Party?
Don’t get me wrong: None of these things are quite the same as being there in person. I get that. And, at the same time, modern technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected across all those miles. Therapists around the globe are offering telehealth sessions via phone and video. Help is available. Connection is accessible. Hope can be contagious when we resist the urge to isolate. And who couldn’t use a hope boost right now?
As I recently said to my teenage son, “Now is not the time to be scared. But, now IS the time to be smart.”
Wash your hands, people. Stay at least six feet apart. Do your part to be a wise and responsible human of the world.
But also, be creative. Find ways to make connection happen. Be intentional about checking in with one another.
And remember – we’re all in this together, even while we are apart.