Why lockdown is heaven for introverts like me - Jim Duffy

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Lockdown has not been so bad for some introverts says Jim Duffy

Locking down for another wee while and preparing for a “digital Christmas”. No more going down the pub or off out to our favourite restaurants. No more popping into town for a coffee and a blether with friends. No, we are being told everywhere that life is about to change again. We are going back to the future or March, April, May this year. But, it’s not bad news for everyone. Us introverts get another shot at peace and quiet.

But, what is an introvert? Essentially, we have a lot going on inside our heads. We like to keep this to ourselves or just tell a selected few friends and family members. We get our energy from being alone and thinking. We prefer one to one conversations rather than big gatherings. In short, we abhor noise, noisy people and noisy places. So, another stint at lockdown is code for introverts as “party time”. But with no guests and no DJ.

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Notwithstanding the terrible economic and social consequences of this pandemic, introverts are getting some “me” time. That said, if the politicians in Westminster were more open to Modern Monetary Theory rather than measly scraps of help here and there, there would be more cheer as we enter the festive period. But, I’m sick telling them that their reliance on old school traditional economic advisors is misplaced. I will have another go at it next Wednesday here in the Scotsman. I digress…. Back to that serene and quiet time that descends upon us introverts when the noisy people are corralled in their homes.

Having spent decades having to put up with noisy people, this period of confinement is absolute heaven. I don’t believe that being an introvert is a handicap or ailment. No, it’s just a different way that we are wired up that leads us to seek the shelter of our own space and our own heads. And noisy, loud and extroverted folks cause us great pain. Not in a toothache way or slip and hurt a knee fashion. No, it’s more like a teacher scrapping her long nails slowly and deliberately down an old style blackboard that screeches at high pitch. This noise creates a judder right down the spine and almost makes one shiver. That is what it is like being on a train with loud and extroverted people. Excruciating.

Actually when I read what I’ve just written, some may in fact feel that we introverts do suffer from some form of mental health issue. But, I can assure you that for 50 per cent of the population, that is not the case. We simply think more and chat less. And lockdowns provide the perfect setting to avoid you pesky extroverts.

No more train journeys on the commute where we seek a quiet carriage or at the very least a quiet seat. You will spot us a mile away as we look to sit with fellow introverts who are not talking, looking out the window and perhaps wearing earbuds [with the music turned down low so it doesn’t disturb our fellow introverts]. When we hear noisy folks guffawing and laughing, while shouting at each other, we look at them with that old Christopher Reeve Superman stare imagining we have a heat ray that emanates from our eyes - zapping them into silence. Many is a time, that I’ve stared at folks magically hoping they would pipe down.

You will also spot the introverts in coffee shops and cafes when they all re-open - if they ever do. They will sit with their backs to a wall. Why? Not for safety, but because they then have no-one behind them yapping in their earholes. There is method in the madness to how an introvert seeks solace in public spaces. They will of course be quiet and observe people or read or quietly listen to private music. No loud conservations on mobile phones like extroverts do, chewing the fat with people who are not even in the coffee shop.

So as you can see many of us in what we call society or the community actually enjoy silence or quiet conversation. It’s not a crime to want to keep the noise down eh? And lockdown, with all the negative stuff that goes with it, permits us introverts to live a quieter life. It actually makes me think about growing old, living alone or being locked down as an extrovert. It must have the same effects on them as introverts have with noisy people and situations.

I guess then if I’m being fair, I should look out for the tell tail signs that an extrovert is struggling being cooped up with a “quiet please” sign hanging over their heads like impending doom. In fact, if November is set to be a quiet one with most of Europe locked down, then maybe rather than being smug about it, I and my fellow introverts, should reach out to those extroverts who will have those fingernails running down the blackboard causing by silence and being less able to feed off others. I can feel a noble gesture coming on as I look around my network and pick out the extroverts. Perhaps a call to them to cheer them up, let them blab on a bit and suck out energy from us simply from interacting with another human being. Yes, I’ll do that, poor things.

Lockdowns are not great for many people and economies. But, as this next period of silence takes hold fellow introverts, spare a thought for struggling extroverts and give them a call.

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