How an Extrovert Deals with Quarantine

The short answer—not well. I’m not saying quarantine has been easy for introverts either, but my guess is that it has been somewhat less excruciating. 

These sentiments are coming from personal experience, as I am an extrovert myself. For everyone out there who has taken the Myers-Briggs test (if you haven’t, stop reading this article and do so asap), I am an ENFJ. The first letter determines whether you are an extrovert or introvert, E or I, respectively. Not only am I an extrovert, but I am an E by 97%. That means there is only 3% of me that wants to spend all day cooped up binging Netflix, which has pretty much been the only solution during this pandemic-induced quarantine.

For background on the difference between introverts versus extroverts, the best distinction lies in how they receive their energy. Introverts need time to recharge during the day, and they do so alone. By being with ‘me, myself, and I,’ an introvert can regain their energy from inside themselves. Extroverts thrive in the exact opposite way. They gain energy from being around others; thus, social interactions are what recharges their batteries.

From that explanation alone, one can understand why isolation is not ideal for the social butterflies. While an introvert might have dreamed of a whole month filled with days and nights spent inside their home (although certainly not for the condition of this world), this is an extrovert's worst nightmare. My social network now extends to the walls of my home and the screen on my phone, and I feel suffocated by it. 

Through this quarantine, I have learned that I can no longer solely rely on other people to ease my anxieties and energize me. Knowing I am going to have no social interaction outside my family leads me to have less energy and motivation throughout my day, so I have turned to other things for help.

Luckily, I have friends that will put up with my constant group FaceTimes, Zoom calls, online movie nights, etc. Some clubs I partake in at Wake choose to lead their meetings on an online platform, which thankfully gives me another thing to look forward to during the day. Snail-mail has also become a solution; when I receive a letter in the mail it adds an extra element of excitement to my otherwise mundane day. Lastly, exercising outside not only helps me breathe air that isn't trapped inside my house and avoid going stir-crazy, but also helps substitute the adrenaline levels that I typically get when I am around other people. 

This new normal comes nowhere close to being within 0.1 mile of most of my friends on a college campus. However, I am using this time as a learning experience. After all of this is over and I can resume my social interactions, I can promise you that social interaction will not be taken for granted. My bubbly, outgoing self will soon rise from the ashes, and until then, my heart goes out to all the extroverts trapped in isolation.