I get it. People are tired of being cooped up in their houses and going on long, solitary walks and sitting on their front porches reading books and well, generally being not surrounded by people. It sounds absolutely excruciating—unless you are an introvert, in which case, you’ve been given an extended vacation from people-ing that is akin to winning a getaway to a tropical island filled with coconuts, island breezes, and cabana boys—the kind that deliver drinks and don’t want deep conversation.
It’s not the most popular opinion. Most of my friends are chomping at the bit to GET. OUT. THERE. To get back to normal, whatever that was. To get back to the office, get back to the grind, the carpools, the birthday parties, the over-committing, the general busy factor of life. But what if… What if this has been a way to get us all to slow down, look around, and appreciate what we do have? So take a minute. Look around. Breathe. Play some silly games and watch Netflix. We WILL all be back out there soon. Soon the tide will turn, and it will be the introverts who are uncomfortable again.
This post is for you, introverts. We’ve all become accustomed to being at home, and quite honestly, we’re loving the fact that we don’t have to work so hard to bury our introvert tendencies just to function in the real world. We can be productive, work successfully, and NOT be in such a loud, extroverted world. We don’t have to worry that the spotlight will turn on us in meetings—but we can still do amazing work. We LOVE our teams, but we don’t have to worry about team-building activities that include constructing the tallest spaghetti towers. (Please stop doing this to us. It’s unnecessary, and we don’t need spaghetti to understand the concept of teamwork.)
But I digress. Let’s get down to the business of taking care of your inner bridge troll. My inner bridge troll is the one who does not want anyone TROMP-TROMP-TROMPING over her bridge (or getting in her personal space). She’s an unpredictable troll because sometimes she likes to go out, have fun, and kick back…but those times are exhausting—and they require recovery time. You see, we introverts LOVE our people, but we recharge in our solitary environments.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure your inner bridge troll is the happiest troll around—and in turn, you can be sure to be the best friend, co-worker, and family member to those around you. They’ll understand you better, and you’ll FEEL better, so just go for it:
Don’t overcommit. I know, it’s difficult, but when things get back to some semblance of normal, everyone will want to do ALL. THE. THINGS. And probably all at once. Check yourself before you wreck yourself, introverts. You’ve been in your house for weeks with nothing but your kids and your toilet paper stash, so ease back into outside life gradually.
Prioritize. There will be things you really, really want to do—and then things you feel like you have to do. Here’s the thing: you don’t have to do anything. Be gentle, be kind, and learn how to say no.
Do what you love. Things are changing daily—heck, probably even hourly—and no one really knows what’s coming next. What do you love to do? Answer that question…and then REMEMBER the answer. Don’t forget to do the things you love. I love to write, make mosaics, spend time with my family, and currently, my new fascination is bullet journaling. Don’t let any of those things go. Instead, build on them—even when life lets us get out and about again.
Reach out. Ok trolls, here’s the hard part. You are not the only people on the planet—and there are people out there who love you and care for you. That means you have a responsibility to not only focus on your own introverted comfort, but also look outward and focus on the needs of your loved ones. Try picking a day or two a week to make phone calls and check in on people, send good old-fashioned cards, and plan coffee dates with friends. If they can respect us as introverts, then we can at least go get a damn cup of coffee.
Relax. Life will go on. We will adapt—humans are good at that. Let’s all just lean into each other’s strengths and get through this thing. Some of us are good at people-ing. Some of us are good at introverting. Let’s all work together.
My hope is that from all of this we will emerge smarter, more intuitive, and more able to respect boundaries of those who work differently, play differently, and live differently. That’s the beauty of being human. Find your people, love them, and appreciate them even more after all of this is over.
Bridge trolls: Come out of your caves occasionally to chat with people and get in touch with what’s going on in the world.
Extroverts: Reach out the introverts and try to understand that it’s sort of tough for us to leave our Hobbit houses and socialize…but we really love you and want to be your friends.
And there you have it. Bridge trolls, meet the extroverts. Extroverts, meet the bridge trolls. Now, y’all work that shit out.