One of the best books I’ve ever read is Susan Cain’s Quiet. It’s about how introverts show up in an extroverted world and I found the insights invaluable – I’d recommend all introverted people and their significant others read it.
One of the things that struck me when I read the book was how I hadn’t realised just how much the world is set up for extroverts.
Pretty much every aspect of society has been geared towards those who enjoy working in teams and engaging with people all day, being in office setups that favour group activity and constant interaction.
That’s not to say introverts weren’t getting ahead or were being punished, of course. It’s just that introverts had to typically fit into a world designed for extroverts. I know that often at the end of the day in the office I’m pretty wiped – as a highly stimulated introvert, my energy levels were depleted after a day of full engagement and I’d need a few hours of silence to recharge.
Then came Covid-19 – and the resulting lockdown and restrictions have shown the differences between introverts and extroverts more starkly than ever.
All the other stressors aside, lockdown has certainly meant fewer of those wipe-out days for me but for my extroverted colleagues it's been a nightmare.
The past few months have an eye-opener in many ways as we all tried to find ways to cope.
And as a second wave of infections looms, many offices will continue having staff work from home with plenty returning only next year – if ever.
For many introverts there’s a sense of relief at being able to work remotely for a little while longer whereas many extroverts are dreading it.
But everyone working remotely will need to find ways to connect and tackle the issue of isolation. Check here for a few options on how to do it.
It’s not going to be easy by any measure as we try to find balance.
Yet find balance we must as we hurtle into ever more pressurised deadlines and end-of-year stress. The need to socialise and bond with other people is hardwired in our DNA and even introverts have a need to connect with others.
After all, solitude isn’t the same as isolation and we’d be wise not to confuse the two.
READ MORE | HOW TO CARVE OUT SOME ALONE TIME