The photo above shows a happy and relaxed couple- me and my dear husband on a cruise just before the pandemic hit in 2020. Sadly, we complained ad nauseam about what we didn’t like about the cruise when we visited my parents right afterwards. Little did we know that within two weeks, we would not be able to entertain ANY sort of travel or vacation for a very long time- no flying, cruising, or visiting our loved ones who live far away. Talk about not being grateful for what you have and the gifts that have been given you!
Now that we’re over one year in and people are slowly getting vaccinated, many of us are pondering what lies ahead. For a more in-depth exploration of this topic, please read the following article:
During this past year, I have had countless conversations with my clients about how their temperament helps or hinders how they’re handling the various restrictions and quarantine orders due to COVID.
While I am not a researcher and don’t have a lot of data to go by, I can share my observations about the link between temperament and coping with pandemics as a therapist. The bottom line?
INTROVERTS HAVE MOSTLY THRIVED DURING THE PANDEMIC.
EXTROVERTS HAVE FOUND THIS PAST YEAR EXTREMELY CHALLENGING.
Why is this?
One of the things I often exclaim in amazement as an introvert during the pandemic:
Introverts have finally inherited the Universe!
I am an introvert and am married to one and in the name of full disclosure, we have done really well during this pandemic and haven’t really noticed any big changes in our lives. Why?
Because we aren’t big on crowds of people and large gatherings, don’t go to bars, and are total homebodies who like a lot of quiet time and lone activities such as reading, meditating, long walks, and listening to podcasts.
Someone recently sent me a fabulous article called, The Coming Conflict Between Introverts and Extroverts from The Atlantic which shares the viewpoints of an introvert and an extrovert about their personal experiences during the pandemic and their hopes and fears about what lies ahead.
This article does a great job at showing both perspectives and the pros and cons of facing a global pandemic with each temperament.
Here are the first two paragraphs to whet your appetite:
Once, we had a wide world of socializing opportunities: crowded bars and intimate dinner parties, stadiums full of strangers and weddings full of everyone we loved most. The coronavirus pandemic made many of those things dangerous or impossible, and shrank our social worlds dramatically.
Now, as vaccination rates go up, the floodgates of social life are poised to reopen. But not everyone will want to use this newfound freedom in the same way. Even before the pandemic, introverts and extroverts disagreed on the optimal size and frequency of gatherings. Post-vaccine life may breed some misunderstandings between the extroverts who want to dive headfirst into a sea of other people and the introverts who are excited to see their friends but don’t want to pack their schedules so full that they have no time to just be.
As we make these shifts, I urge you to be mindful of both the introverts and extroverts in your life and how they may behave differently as things reopen. Remember that how we respond to the reopening of our social circles, workplaces and ability to travel is unique to our particular temperament and that differing approaches aren’t wrong- they may just be different from yours.
Remember that both temperaments have unique wants and needs and that we shouldn’t take it personally if they don’t match up at times. We need to be tolerant, compassionate and mindful of our differences as we all find our way in our new and profoundly changed world.