“The misconception is introverts are bullied outcasts who deserve all sympathy…”
The coronavirus lockdown has revealed many truths, one of them being that people will always find a way to feel superior over one another even during a worldwide pandemic. Proud introverts without hesitation began to online bash extroverts with “You ok, Sis” memes and “I’m just fine” status tweets that crossed the line from humor to finger-point “Nah, Nah, Nah” schoolyard cruelty. To ignore someone’s concern because it doesn’t fit into your private world box of judgment is a failure to understand that anxiety is a two-way street.
The belief in stereotypes is a validation of one’s own experience wrapped in small doses of truth and insecurities. The extrovert is perceived often as a carefree individual who’s only concern is their social status while an introvert seen as a societal detached bookworm who would rather have a conversation with a plant than with people. The judgment often comes from overused film scenes that depict an extrovert dragging their introvert friend to a party only to abandon them at the entrance gate for much cooler friends. The image of loneliness on-screen is relatable to anyone who experienced that awkward feeling of navigating through a crowded room of obnoxiousness and hard liquor. The misconception is introverts are bullied outcasts who deserve all sympathy. At the same time, extroverts usually are assumed to be overconfident jerks who have earned whatever cruel hand life dealt them.
The problem with typecasting an individual based on perception is that it leaves no room for growth and understanding. The reality is although an introvert’s headspace is a private paradise, they too enjoy human interaction, just at their own pace. An extrovert who feeds their energy from others can often be at home for days after a night of socializing until they feel the need for a refill.
Few took the COVID-19 lockdown seriously for the first two weeks. It wasn’t until each state began to place restrictions with no specified end date when reality sat in for most. To wake up and see an increased number of infections and death displayed on CNN’s daily count poll is enough to create anxiety for a robot. Watching the latest VERZUZ battle on IG along with humorous Tiger King commentary may provide short doses of satisfaction but ultimately fall short in comparison to the stimulation of shared smiles and laughs from bonded storytelling. Virtual happy hours may take the edge off for some while for others; nothing compares to the joys of Saturday afternoon get-togethers amongst loved ones with warm hugs and family recipe food smells from the kitchen.
Favoritism should not exist in any area of mental health. If before the COVID-19 lockdown, you were someone who preferred to have a stay-at-home brunch, then you shouldn’t be ridiculed any more than a person who dines out. Neither choice makes one a better or superior over the other. Anxiety is fear of the unknown, and the effect of the Coronavirus lockdown has brought a level of uncertainty not experienced for generations. Concerns of job security and health added with restrictions could create uncomfortable pressure that can lead to depression. The freedom of choice is familiar ground for both extroverts and introverts in which both can suffer under the conditions of lockdown. In these unpredictable times, it is best not to assume anything, so if you ever given a wellness shoulder-tap to a stand-offish friend at a social gathering before the COVID-19 pandemic, then be sure to extend some virtual grace to a friend during the lockdown, it could save a life.