For all of us, quarantine has been a very surreal and unexpected experience. Now that we have been quarantining for more than 2 months, we’re starting to get a little stir crazy, at least I know that is the case with me. You would think that this would be the perfect time to be productive and get everything done that you have been putting off. However, I have found it hard to motivate myself in what seems like a never-ending repeat of boring days.
Ever since quarantine started, Zoom and FaceTime have been all the rage and the go-to method of communicating with friends, teachers, and distant family. Video chats seem to be even more popular for girls our age. Don’t get me wrong, Zoom and FaceTime have been great ways of keeping in touch, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a little overwhelmed with the pressure to participate in every video chat we’re invited to join.
Experiencing Life As An Introvert
I am naturally an introvert, so I gain energy by spending time alone and relaxing. However, I find myself surrounded by friends who are textbook extroverts. I think that’s because I do like to socialize and hang out with my friends, but unlike them, at the end of the day I need to spend time alone to regain my energy. Being at college for only about 8 months made me learn a lot about myself. Since I lived in a dorm this past year, I was constantly around people which was very hard for me at first. However, I learned that it is okay to still be yourself and need time for yourself. Everybody needs alone time, and some people need more alone time than others, and that’s okay.
This time of social isolation has definitely been easier for me than a lot of my extrovert friends. Since coming home, I have kind of conformed back into my full introvert ways. Many of my friends have been constantly video chatting with friends every night and even having a schedule each week for their video chats. Every time I am invited to a video chat with multiple friends, my introverted brain processes it as a potentially mentally draining activity that is a bit overwhelming for me.
The hard part for me is actually motivating myself to join the video chat, but once I do join, it’s not as overwhelming as I expected. Many of my friends describe me as fun, but what they don’t see is that it takes twice the energy as them to go out and socialize. A video chat once in a while is great for me, but a video chat scheduled every night that lasts hours on end would be torture for me.
Managing Friendships During Quarantine
At the beginning of quarantine, I felt very pressured to engage in all of the countless video chats every night because I feared that I would be left out and miss out on something important. Another thing that I have learned about myself from my first year of college is that I have serious FOMO (fear of missing out). I’m always scared that if I let my introverted side of me get in the way of building friendships, then I will never make really good friends. I know that many of us have worried about this and I want to tell you from experience that it all turns out okay. Your true friends will love you the way you are and will not try to change your personality even if they do not experience the same difficulties as you do. This time of social isolation has brought on various struggles for all of us, so here are some tips that I have lived by as an introvert during quarantine:
- Do not feel pressured to join every single video chat in order to fit in.
Do what you are comfortable with and don’t feel pressured to do more.
- Don’t try to conform to being an extrovert to make your friends happy.
Remember to stay true to who you are. You are perfectly made and there is nothing that you should feel pressured to change during quarantine.
- Know that face-to-face in person interaction is an important part of friendship and we’ll get back to that when quarantine ends.
We will not be in social isolation forever, so know that with time, things will go back to normal and this will become a period of growth and learning. I’m hoping to be back with my friends at Auburn in the fall, even if we have to learn new ways to hang out together.
- Communicate openly with your friends about how you’re feeling.
If you talk with your friends about what you are feeling each day, chances are, they will respect you and appreciate you for communicating with them. It is okay to not want to Zoom with your friends every night, so don’t feel like you have to.
- Your friends will understand and accept you for your personality and emotions.
Your friends are friends with you for a reason, so know that they will still be friends with you even if you don’t join a video chat every night.
All in all, this time is very difficult for everyone, so don’t add pressure and stress to yourself by trying to be someone else. After all, the world needs both introverts and extroverts. You are perfect the way you are, and your personality is unique and special, so continue to be you!