Being in quarantine has been a boon for many an introvert. Not only are we not forced to interact with difficult people face-to-face, but less time spent in traffic means more time to indulge our solitary interests, like writing.
I'd like to think that introverts will be viewed in a far more favorable light post-pandemic, with others gaining a newfound appreciation for solitude and staying in.
Do I anticipate that this will actually come to fruition?
I predict that our extrovert-centric society will push rather fiercely to revert back to the way things were.
Many people will expect others to be elated at the thought of again being able to attend sold-out concerts and dine at jam-packed restaurants.
And if you show the slightest indication that you'll actually miss being cooped up at home with your book and cat, you'll be subject to no shortage of incredulous looks from a public that feels newly liberated.
That's not to say that, once vaccines are readily available and restrictions are lifted, introverts won't visit places from which they derive intellectual enrichment, like museums and libraries; hit up movie theaters and theme parks; or travel to entirely new destinations by airplane.
But the fact of the matter is that introverts are getting little to no pushback right now because of the unprecedented times we're living in.
Zoom meetings, WhatsApp conversations, and emails have for the moment supplanted face-to-face contact in the name of keeping people safe and healthy. (Introverts are certainly not complaining.)
But once life begins to feel like 2019 again:
- Employers may not be as keen about letting associates work from home
- You might get inundated with invitations from friends and relatives to go out to parties and restaurants
- You may have to part with certain routines you've developed in the age of COVID-19 (e.g., going for a walk around the park across the street at 5 p.m. sharp)
- Introverted students who relish remote learning will have to contend with going back to in-person instruction
In other words, many introverts will feel the pressure to transition from fly on the wall back to social butterfly. We'll have to make a conscious effort to "fit in" again when, over the past 10 or so months, it's felt like a world tailor-made for us.
Is it possible some extroverts have become more introverted during this time? Sure, though there's no question we will continue to fall in the minority for the foreseeable future.
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