An Introvert’s Guide to Post-Quarantine Socializing

Most people who are around me for more than a few hours discover that I am an introvert. This typically comes as a bit of a surprise since I tend to be confident and outgoing, but it’s usually evidenced by my need to briefly slip away during long group activities. Are you starting to understand why I go by “most boring person” yet?

As you can imagine, being quarantined for over two months was not that bothersome to my introverted self. Sure, I missed eating out and going to movies, but overall, I loved being able to stay home and enjoy spending time with family and reading books. I knew that this adjusted way of living wouldn’t last forever, but I didn’t expect it to end as extravagantly as it did this week.

I ended up making plans to visit Ohio to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and while the trip was an unforgettable weekend, I’d be lying if I said that it didn’t have its fair share of “wait, how do I talk to people?” moments. In case I have some introverted readers—which I’m sure I do—I’ve decided to share the top three things I had to keep in mind when venturing out into a post-quarantine world.

  1. Schedule some time to breathe. In my excitement to meet with friends I hadn’t seen in over a year, I hurriedly scheduled coffee date after coffee date on my first full day in Ohio. It seemed like the best use of time as I happily made plans, but in hindsight, I realized I could have used a few minutes in between each visit. Ultimately, I ended up having a mere twenty-minute break in between meeting friends from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. As I headed to bed feeling bleary from all the talking, I made a note to do a better job of at least scheduling some bathroom breaks between my social engagements. 
  2. Plan relaxing activities. The birthday celebration involved a day full of different activities I’d planned with my friends, and while it was busy, it was peppered with things that didn’t take too much energy. This included coffee/catching up in the morning, kayaking in the afternoon, and watching a movie in the evening. It was certainly a full day, but what we’d planned made it feel relaxed and allowed us to thoroughly enjoy the shared company. 
  3. Savor every moment. Yes, there were times when I felt my introverted self desperately needed some alone time, but those never once overshadowed how much I enjoyed being around so many dear friends. I was able to catch up with friends I’d lost touch with and share life updates with those who greatly impacted my life when I worked in Ohio. Because of this, I never regretted being sociable and am grateful so many people were willing to take time out of their busy schedules to spend time with me.

If anything, this quarantine has taught me that while I will always enjoy quiet time, I also thrive during time spent with friends. I didn’t realize it until I was driving back to New York today, but I’m going to miss all the boisterous conversations once I settle back into my quarantine routine. And while it may seem to contradict my self-admitted introvert status, maybe I do require some socializing to recharge.

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