Everyone should be 6 feet apart? Don’t touch other people? You don’t have to shake hands?
It turns out I’ve been practicing social distancing since I was 5 years old.
Many people have bemoaned the lack of physical connection caused by the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve celebrated it.
The world is divided into introverts and extroverts. Everyone knows how extroverts feel about things because, by definition, they’ll share it.
It’s a little harder to hear from an introvert, whose default position is there’s no reason to speak up, since no one else will care. As my dad and I (both introverts) like to joke, “I can’t complain. No one will listen.”
People who study such things estimate 40 percent of people are actually introverts. Frankly, all this social distancing has been great for an introvert’s way of thinking.
We have fewer in-person meetings. Now, most committees find a way to get together via Zoom or some online alternative. Everyone being in one meeting, with everyone having an equally loud voice in the conversation, really cuts down on the small talk.
Talk about great news for an introvert! Now the only thing discussed is what’s on the agenda. There’s no expectation that you have to hold court and be clever. You can just sit there quietly and wait for your turn to give input. In my case, I generally keep myself muted until I really feel like there’s something I want to add to the conversation.
Similarly, I’m thrilled by the lack of human touch that people’s fears over catching COVID-19 brings. I’m not a touchy-feely guy in the first place. I reserve my hugs for my immediate family and really close friends. Still, there are people in my life who think we’re on hugging terms, and I’ll generally reciprocate with a very stiff, unfriendly hug. You know, it’s kind that passive-aggressively says, “This isn’t really a hug,” but it still passes emotional muster so the giver isn’t offended.
I’ve really enjoyed being able to work from any desk, using nearly any phone to accomplish my tasks. I’ve enjoyed getting ahead on a lot of various jobs because of the lack of human contact with other people.
I say all this not to win you over to the introvert way of life. You are what you are in this particular divide, with some having more chameleon-like tendencies to be able to blend into the other’s world. I share it so we don’t spend all our time mourning how sad it was that the coronavirus kept us from one another. For some of us, it was one of the best springs ever.