Episode 31: Care and Feeding of Introverts

Woman relaxing in a kayak in a mountain lake
No, we did not steal this image from an Eddie Bauer catalog, OK?

If you have made it to 2021, survived a global pandemic with its various forms of isolation, consumed any kind of online content, and yet still don’t know if you’re an introvert or an extrovert …. dude, what the fuck? 

OK, OK, that’s unnecessarily harsh, even for us. 

But introversion is Having a Moment and has been for about the last decade-plus. Authors have penned best-selling books on the topic, like Susan Cain’s “Quiet.” There are entire online communities devoted to introverts and why we are the way we are. And don’t forget the memes. My god, the memes.  

Yet despite all this, it sometimes seems like not only do extroverts not really know what to do with us or our antisocial tendencies, we don’t really know what to do with ourselves either. 

While taking care of an extrovert can seem relatively simple (just add people, expect a lot of talking, and brace for — ew — physical contact), making sure an introvert is healthy can be a little more nuanced. (Yes, we know we totally stereotyped extroverts and left no room for subtlety. We’re tired and just wanna go re-watch “Ted Lasso,” so we need to keep this short, OK? And if you come at us about not mentioning ambiverts, we will cut you.)

If you do identify as an introvert, it’s important to understand that loneliness can affect you too. Although there’s been some recent debate about whether introverts get energy from being alone, not having any human interaction is not healthy for anyone. 

A lot of us are starting to emerge on the other side of the pandemic. For those of us who are introverts, returning to whatever the hell “normal” is going to look like will take some more adapting. 

So, whether you are an introvert or know and love one, here are some helpful tips:

  • Take It Slow: With many restrictions easing, it may be tempting — even as an introvert — to want to see alllllll the people and do allllll the things. But it’s OK to say no to events and activities that deplete your energy reserves. Set your boundaries and stick to them.
  • Prioritize Your Mental Health: It’s not going to do you any good to have just survived a global pandemic, only to make yourself sick with social, work, or relationship pressures. Have frank discussions with people in your life — whether that’s your boss, your kids, your significant other, your family members, or your friends — about how you want to handle social situations and gatherings after COVID. Again, boundaries are cool.
  • Schedule Alone Time for Yourself: Mark it on your calendar or do whatever is necessary for you to carve out time for yourself, especially once you start to go out and do things with people. Your social stamina is likely pretty diminished at this point, so you’re gonna need some extra time to charge those batteries. 
  • Take It Easy on Yourself … And Others: We’re all just navigating some of the craziest shit most of us have seen in our lifetime. Things are gonna go sideways. People (that means you, too) are going to behave erratically. Be more understanding and forgiving that you maybe normally would, with yourself and with those around you. … Whew, that just got deep. Quick! Someone make a dick joke!

What about you? Are you an introvert who’s just making your way through? Or do you know an introvert who’s got this all figured out? Drop us a comment or two!

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