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Y Talk: Check on the Extroverts in Your Life by Justin Rose

After reading a great blog by Michelle Bell, a fellow Carlisle Family YMCA employee, contributor and friend, last week I could not get something she wrote out of my head. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here. (You really should read it!)

In her blog Michelle talks about the common misconception that introverts are in heaven during this stay at home mandate. Michelle is a self-described introvert and correctly asserts that all though introverts do enjoy a slower pace and less social interaction, introverts recharge their batteries by having alone time. As you can imagine, alone time can be difficult if you are in a home with other people, your family, who are also ordered to stay at home. This means that virtually every hour of every day will be spent with other people, which is inherently draining for introverts. Now, Michelle does point out that she is thankful for the time she is getting to spend with her family, but for introverts, being in this situation is like being between a rock and a hard place.

So, you might ask what about Michelle’s blog kept me up thinking last week? I am an extrovert, and I am not having any fun either! Luckily, I am married to an extrovert, my daughter is an extrovert and my dog is an introvert, so we have a lot of fun when left to our own devices. However, I find that I am truly craving social interactions.

The typical extrovert archetype works like this: physical social interactions, large groups of people, equals lots of energy for extroverts. This is how they survive. This could not have rung truer for me during the first week or two of the mandated closures. I lost all my energy. I could barely muster the energy to work out even though all I did the entire day was sit in front of my computer.

Then I started making a schedule. The schedule put me back to neutral. I would wake up early, close off my interactions until a certain time of day and focus on work. Once work was finished and the afternoon came, I would put away work and focus on the interactions—video call with my grandparents, virtual happy hour with a few friends, play 57 games of memory with my 5-year-old daughter. I finally had the energy I was so desperately missing. I had to adjust my interaction expectation.

As an extrovert, I was spoiled before the closure. Most of the people I work with are also extroverts, where I work is extrovert central, every day was an opportunity to overindulge! I can still overindulge, just slightly different than what was the norm. Small adjustments, a little more effort and the same great people make for a very energizing day.

Michelle encouraged you to take some time to reflect who might be an introvert in your life—the person who is struggling with the forced social interactions without having the time or space for a solitary re-charge. I also encourage you to reflect on who you know to be an extrovert—the person who is struggling with the disconnect and lack of social interactions without the time or space for a social re-charge.

-by Justin Rose, Associate Executive Director

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