Western culture is designed for extroverts. Fortunately, thanks in part to Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, as well as her TED Talk on introversion, introversion is becoming seen as a valid orientation. Still, life requires that we interact with others. Workplaces are more communal, with shared office spaces. In our personal lives, most of us do need connection with other humans, some more than others.
Extroverts are people who obtain their energy by interacting with others. Introverts get theirs through alone time. I was always introverted, and I was told by family members, friends, and teachers things like “You need to talk more” and “you need to get out more.” As I’ve grown older, I have gotten more extroverted, and I’m probably the textbook definition of an ambivert, a person who lies in the middle of introversion and extroversion. My job requires me to interact with people on a daily basis, and even Quiet has a chapter on introverts acting as “pseudo-extroverts.” This is what I do. And on a Friday night, I’m ecstatic to lock the door to my home and binge on one of my Netflix shows. Alone time is great.
Thanks to COVID-19, I’m getting much more of that alone time than I’m accustomed to. Naturally, introverts will have an easier time with this than our extroverted counterparts. Social media still connects us, though, and there are more memes about how we introverts quarantine naturally than I can realistically count, like this one:
I even posted this mean one:
Of course, I laughed. The sadistic side of me called it “karmic justice”. Throughout my life, I had been told by so many extroverts about “needing to talk more” and “needing to get out more”. Revenge was sweet: Ha ha! This is my time!
I saw a friend post on Facebook about difficulties she was facing about being a single extrovert, and I sent her my best vibes. However, my mind changed when another friend, a married person, wrote a post about having a breakdown and crying for no reason. I’ve known this person since childhood, and she was always extroverted. At that point, I began to feel some empathy for her situation, as well as how extroverts might be coping.
There are a lot of pieces out there about how introverts can “fake extroversion.” So I’m gonna share my experiences thus far about how I’ve coped as a single introvert, and hopefully, my extroverted friends can take something away at “faking introversion”:
Stay safe, my friends! And when this is over, please don’t tell me to “get out more.” I’ll probably be doing that anyway (for a little while. Anyway).
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.