No, the corona lockdown is not heaven for introverts

Jonas Bisgaard Kristensen

Social media posts, memes, columns and articles suggest that introverts are thriving during the current corona lockdown. And whilst we do enjoy our own company and staying at home, we want our old lives back just like the extroverts. I even said it myself. ‘’As an introvert, I am absolutely fine with being at home all the time during this lockdown’’. To some extent, I am right. I am okay. I don’t need advice from a comedian on Instagram on how to stay sane – some would argue that it would be too late anyway. I don’t need new hobbies to keep me entertained. And I don’t badly need the company of other people.

But that does not mean that I do not miss what in a dramatic way could be described as my old lifeTM. So as an introverted person, I feel a bit misunderstood at the moment when I see news media, social media posts and memes describing this as the time of the introverts.

I don’t see why it wasn’t the time of the introverts two months or a year ago. If I wanted to stay at home instead of going to a social event in January, I just did so. For a few years, we have had self-service checkouts at supermarkets so that I don’t have to talk to anyone when I do my groceries. I have organized my life to suit my personality, and I suspect that many other introverts have done the same.

And just because I am an introvert it does not mean that I don’t ever want to engage in social activities. I have a big concert planned in May that I hope won’t get postponed. I have a yearly festival in the summer that I fear might get cancelled. I am addicted to football and once went to over 50 live games in one season. All of this has been taken away from me, an introvert, just as well as it has been for extroverts.

Yes, I disapprove of small talk. Yes, I enjoy my own company. And yes, I am doing fine during this lockdown. But no, I do not enjoy it. Of course, I want society to be open like it always has been to me.

Cat piss coffee

A couple of weeks into the lockdown here in Denmark, The Danish newspaper Berlingske suggested in an article that introverts ‘’sighed in relief’’ when our prime minister Mette Frederiksen first decided to implement serious restrictions such as closing schools, universities and other public institutions.

I have also heard suggestions such as ‘’maybe you all of a sudden feel that it is okay being an introvert.’’ Again, why on Earth would I have not felt okay with being introverted back in February or a year ago? Why would I be so selfish as to think that this deadly pandemic was created to accommodate my personality? 

In an interview with the Danish online media Zetland, Sophia Dembling, an American author and columnist specialized in writing about introverts, points out that what people experience during this crisis is not the same type of isolation that we introverts usually like.

‘’Believe me when I tell you that even for an introvert there is such a thing as too much social distancing. I’m antsy as hell. Fighting depression. Finding less pleasure in things I’ve enjoyed in the past. Rethinking how I do solitude,’’ she writes in her column in the magazine Psychology Today.

Whilst I am not struggling with my mental health like her, I do agree with what she writes. Usually, I absolutely effing love not leaving my home for an entire weekend. But to fully appreciate and enjoy this, I need a full week of going to school or work leading up to this lazy weekend. Like with everything else in the world, something needs to balance it out. Your homebrewed coffee tastes better in the afternoon if you have to go through seven hours of lousy cat piss at work.So in general, yes I am okay with sitting inside on my own at the moment. And I acknowledge that I might have it easier than the extroverts. But I also want my old lifeTMback.

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