A World Gone Quiet

One of my favourite books is Quiet by Susan Cain. It’s one of those books that made me go, “Oh. So it’s not just me then.” It describes all the great things about introverts even though it’s a struggle to get that known because we live in a world designed for extroverts.

The subtitle of her book is “The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking”. Well, the world has just gone a little quieter.

Containment measures are being implemented across the world to try and stop the spread of COVID-19. People are being asked to stay in their homes and only go out for essentials. Non-essential activities have been cancelled.

The Australian Football League has just suspended the season. My son messaged me with the news and Messenger gave me the option to reply with “Yay!” It’s a little worrying that my phone knows me so well…

Of course, introverts around the world have responded to these extreme measures with “You mean I have to stay at home, limit contact with people and avoid crowds? Sweeeet!”

 

But what does it mean for the extroverts of the world? Well, dear extroverts, you get to walk in our shoes for a while. It’s uncomfortable, isn’t it? It feels unnatural and way outside your comfort zone, doesn’t it? It has sucked all the energy out of you, hasn’t it? Yeah, tell me about it. I live it every day.

Do not fear, extroverts. Help is at hand. I have long advocated for extroverts to make friends with at least one introvert. Introverts make deeply thoughtful, compassionate and loyal friends. We may not be good at chitchat but we’ll give serious thought to a request for advice. We’re unlikely to want to go to a party with you but we’ll come around and help you with a task whenever you ask. We won’t be the ones making the speeches but we’ll make sure the dishes are washed and the chairs are put away.

But now, we really come into our own because we know how to spend vast amounts of time alone.

FB_IMG_1584751740879

This will be good for you, I promise. You’ll have more time for reflection, for new activities, for careful thought and consideration.

It doesn’t have to mean hours in front of the television. Read a book, do a jigsaw puzzle, make some art. Lie outside on the grass or sit on your balcony and just watch the clouds go by or contemplate the stars. But do it slowly and deliberately. It’s not a thing to be completed as soon as possible, it’s something to spend time on and as much time as you have (which is likely to be lots, let’s face it).

If you’re craving physical contact, go outside and hug a tree.

If you’re allowed to leave the house, find a remote natural area and spend time in the nature. I promise it’s just as rejuvenating as a boisterous crowd if you allow your mind to settle in it.

Trees

Since contact with others has to be so limited and deliberate, utilising various virtual arrangements, take the opportunity of one-on-one contact to really talk to someone. And, more importantly, listen. Really listen. Who knows what you may discover about a friend that you never knew about them?

Take the time to be less task-oriented and just BE.

Extroverts, you can do this. After all, introverts have survived in an outgoing world for millennia. Surely you can survive a few months?

And remember, if it is all getting too much, your introvert friend will always be there for you. Because that’s what we do.

Just don’t expect it all the time. We’ll be enjoying the lockdown.

27 thoughts on “A World Gone Quiet

  1. I have also been thinking how difficult this situation will be for most of society, whilst we may not be jumping for joy, but rather breathing a sign of relief at not having to perform all the time, putting on our pretending to be extroverted hat! I am mostly overjoyed at not being forced to name 3 positive things this month at team meetings and sit through those “I would rather have my teeth pulled than attend,” workplace type team building exercises and “get togethers.” Do you know the ones?
    And we don’t have to tolerate standing in crowded trains breathing smelly armpits when there is standing room only! Yay, indeed. It is high time they cancelled the sport. Schools are next down your way, I hear?

    Liked by 1 person

    • You made me laugh! Oh yes, I know the ones.

      Yes, schools will close at the end of tomorrow. I’m casual so I’m basically unemployed from Tuesday until the schools reopen. We also have a Year 12 student (our youngest) and we’re not sure what that will mean in regard to his end of year result for university applications. I’m hoping they’ll factor in some sort of compensation or adjustment. It’s strange days indeed.

      Like

      • I feel sure they will factor in something for Year 12’s. Do they offer online delivery? That is what is mooted here. Unis have moved to that last week. Still plodding over the other side of town to work, but wondering if I could get out of it, seeing as the Premier has said – “stay in your village”…. Sorry to hear that you are out of work – hopefully temporarily. My daughter is in the same boat, but she has rent to pay….and can’t pay it.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Quiet is one of those books that made me realize that I wasn’t alone. As an introvert, a lonely only growing up, I was forever feeling weird about who I was. Then I read that book, saw myself in the pages, and felt whole. I’ve been reaching out to the extroverts, but they haven’t quite got the hang of introverting. If’n you get my drift. I like your idea about telling them to hug a tree. That’s brilliant. Stay safe, be well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The book Quiet changed how I viewed myself and the world. I wish I had had a book like that for support when I was a teenager and throughout university!!

    This really is our time to shine. This whole lockdown thing (and we’ve been doing it since the 13th) feels completely natural to me. My husband on the other hand is like a duck out of water.

    I laughed out loud at your meme to check on the extroverts. I’ve said it a few times, but isolating the extroverts together would make everyone’s life easier.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t understand people who complain about having to be at home. I have no trouble entertaining myself and I have so many projects lined up. I also challenged myself to do a little cleaning job and a little declutter each day. Today I have the cleanest sparkliest shower door in town. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Quite right. I enjoyed that book as well. I would love to be enjoying some introversion and instead I am sick and at best, can do this 🙂 Excellent post. I love the sarcastic bits the most, but then, when don’t I?

    Liked by 1 person

Talk to me. I love a discussion. I might learn new stuff.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s