Dealing with loneliness as an introvert

Is it harder or easier on introverts during the pandemic and global lockdown?

Does it matter whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert when it comes to feeling lonely, isolated, frustrated or anxious and depressed during the pandemic?

I’ve been debating the difference between an introvert and an extrovert quite a bit lately. Often in relation to a new audio only social media platform and app, Clubhouse. In my opinion it’s quite a safe space for introverts and people who are starting out with public speaking and being ‘visible’ on social media.

For me, the fact that Clubhouse is audio only, means a lot less pressure to worry about how I look, if I look into the right direction, if I have the right clothes and the right background and so on. I can simply sit comfortably cuddled under my blanket and join interesting conversations with inspiring people.

But that’s not the point of this piece of writing. Today I wanted to share some of my thoughts about feeling lonely as an introvert.

Can you tell who is and who isn’t an introvert?

Lots of people might not realise that I am an introvert as in many situations that they might have met me – networking, speaking at an event, running an event, delivering a training online – I’ve acted like an extrovert. They might know me as an outspoken, confident and sociable person that draws energy from being with people.

That’s definitely not the case. My happy place is sitting in a quiet room with a cuppa and a good book or hiking in the mountains by myself, far away from other people.

So how come that I’m acting as an extrovert publicly when privately I am an introvert? Am I faking it? Am I not being myself when I am socialising with people?

Nothing like that! I am always being myself…

It’s not that you’re either an extrovert or an introvert and that’s it, that you’re either one or the other extreme. There’s a scale between these two extremes and we each sit somewhere on this scale, but we can also move up and down. We change with time and experience and we adjust our behaviour depending on different circumstances.

Behaviour – that’s the keyword here!

We all probably know the generic distinction between these two types of personalities. Introverts are quiet and private whereas extroverts are sociable and outgoing. But that’s not the full picture. We are more nuanced than being able to fit into or box or the other.

When we consider introversion and extroversion to be more than just two distinct personality characteristics and explore the typical behaviours for each type, we’ll see that it’s not as black and white as we might have thought.

It’s generally true that introverts enjoy more time alone or in small groups of close friends, that they’re more internally focused, often lost in their own thoughts and that they tend to require quiet and solitude to relax and recharge. On the other hand, extroverts typically are more talkative, more social and outgoing, they love spending time with people and they draw energy from being surrounded by people.

Can you get lonely if you’re an introvert?

Hell yeah, even introverts need people and need to be surrounded by loving, like-minded people, friends and family. We simply need to manage our social time a bit more carefully and be sure we’ve got plenty alone time in between intense social events.

I’ve tried the whole ‘I’m an island and I don’t need anyone’ kind of thing. Trust me, it doesn’t work. We are not an island and we need others to be happy and thrive!

No matter if you’re more introverted or extroverted, it’s important to find the right balance between social and alone time, you need to figure out what works for you!

No matter where we sit on the scale, as especially if we know that we’re more introverted, we shouldn’t forget the importance of social connections in our lives. Spending time with other people, sharing our fears and worries, feeling connected and belonging is so important for our business and personal growth as well as for our overall happiness.

If you’re an extrovert, you might want to explore different ways to be alone without feeling lonely. As an introvert, you need to ensure you reach out to people regularly and that you spend meaningful sociable time with your colleagues, friends or family.

I know that I struggle with being social from time to time. And especially when I need people the most, I feel the least like reaching out. Some days it feels like Netflix is the only one checking on me ‘Still watching?’ which to me often reads like ‘Are you there? Are you OK?’.

Ultimately, it’s important to remember that we need other people, even if it feels like all we want is to be let alone. Nurturing meaningful relationships with our colleagues, friends and family as well as random encounters with strangers have a huge impact on our well-being and happiness!

So let’s make sure we put ourselves out there as introverts and that we check in on our introverted friends if we haven’t heard from them in a while!