Monday, April 06, 2020

The lockdown turns out to NOT be an introvert's paradise.

Contra my March 28 post on our current lock down being springtime for introverts, here are some slips from a salient article by Abby Ohlheiser that resonates with my experience of feeling overwhelmed by the demands of video conference meetings set up to replace what we have lost in person to person contacts: people began to adjust to isolation, they started to find ways to bring their outside social lives into their homes. Living rooms that were once a sanctuary from people-filled offices, gyms, bars, and coffee shops became all those things at once. Calendars that had been cleared by social distancing suddenly refilled as friends, family, and acquaintances made plans to sip “quarantinis” at Zoom happy hours, hold Netflix viewing parties, or just catch up over Google hangouts.
People are coping with the coronavirus pandemic by upending their lives and attempting to virtually re-create what they lost. The new version, however, only vaguely resembles what we left behind. Everything is flattened and pressed to fit into the confines of chats and video-conference apps like Zoom, which was never designed to host our work and social lives all at once. The result, for introverts, extroverts, and everyone in between, is the bizarre feeling of being socially overwhelmed despite the fact that we’re staying as far away from each other as we can.
Turning down invitations to talk to people during a global pandemic can simultaneously be needed self-care and something that makes you feel like a bad friend...The only excuse is ‘I don’t want to,’ and no one wants to hear that right now...The reality is that introverts don’t want to be alone all the time, and extroverts can appreciate moments of quiet. But the division exists as a way to describe how people gather their energy: introverts charge up by having quiet time to process, and extroverts do it by socializing.
Video chat has become the go-to substitute for many people’s discarded social lives, the place where they can see the most of the people they can no longer be with. Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Hangouts are easy to use. But they have a way of making everything feel like a meeting. At a happy hour of 10 people in a bar, you can settle into a side conversation, step away for fresh air, or listen to a conversation while nursing your drink.

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