• Cindy Mundahl

A Time for Introverts

I feel fortunate to be an introvert during this time of quarantine. For the first time in my life, it feels like being an introvert makes me well suited for the world. Oftentimes at events such as concerts, school events, or simply walking out my front door, I’m required to thrust my introverted self into a situation geared to extroverts. It often feels uncomfortable and I find myself feeling exhausted after several minutes of what feels like posing as an extrovert. There are many things about being in quarantine that are challenging, but missing out on socializing is rarely one of them so far in my experience, because my personality makes it easy for me to thrive in a time in which I’m required to spend a lot of time at home alone.

As someone who’s long suffered from social anxiety, I’m sometimes grateful for the break that quarantine provides from social events. I no longer have to work up the energy to engage in small talk with other parents at school events, or to remind myself that I should ask questions of my coworkers about their weekends rather than launch right into the work at hand. Quarantine is bringing to light just how much energy it takes for me as an introvert to move through what feels like a world geared to extroverts. That’s not to say that I don’t miss socializing with friends, but I do find myself enjoying this reprieve from the socializing previously required in everyday life.

I imagine that extroverts are getting a glimpse of what it may feel like to be a fish out of water now that the world is tilted toward introversion. I’m hearing from extroverts that they're uncomfortable with the lack of social time in their lives now. I’m quite comfortable to remain in my bubble of solitude. It often feels like a respite to me to be at home surrounded by books with time to write, nap, draw or to simply do nothing by myself. I don’t know how long quarantine will last, but I imagine there’ll be a part of me that misses it once it’s over. Perhaps I’ll go back to feeling anxious in social settings, or perhaps I’ll get better about saying no to some social engagements and setting boundaries so that I can enjoy more time alone like I now have in quarantine.

I’m hoping that once quarantine ends, the world we’re left with will more fully value introverted tendencies. Perhaps we’ll spend more time with ourselves and in our homes with our families, or maybe the world will understand and appreciate introverted qualities a bit more. Either way, I think this time will show that introverts have valuable qualities that were perhaps a bit undervalued. For now, this introvert is feeling grateful that my innate qualities are finally in fashion.

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