Psychoanalyst Carl Jung describes extroverts as people who direct their energy outwards – towards other people – and gain energy from such encounters. It was from Jung’s work on extroversion and introversion that the Myers-Briggs personality test was created. About 50 million people have been typed by the Myers-Briggs assessment. At first introverts and extroverts were each estimated to make up about half the population, but newer studies are recognizing that many people are actually ambiverts, falling somewhere in between the two. I am a top-of-the-charts extrovert – and that hasn’t changed because of COVID-19.
Confession #1: My best days start and end with people
I wake up every morning thinking about who I’m going to connect with and meet today. I look forward to letting people know I’m thinking about them, learning something new, meeting new people, whether it’s online or from the-safety of my second-floor balcony, and brain and heart sharing. Our mothers have told us not to talk to strangers. This is one of those times I disagree with my mother. I think we should talk to everyone.
Confession #2: I don’t need or want to see everyone I’m communicating with
If seeing each other was always a requirement for communicating, we would either never communicate or we’d all be wearing hats all day long. I know some of us already are. Please feel free to contact with me via your preferred mode of communication. We extroverts are comfortable with phone calls, texting, emailing – any and all kinds of communication – preferably all at the same time. We don’t want to miss a thing. All of these modes of communication are still relevant and convenient. Sometimes a quick note will do. Voice-only communication is very satisfying. Talking on the phone isn’t new or compromising. We can tell a lot about a person from their voice. And sometimes what we need to know does not include what the person looks like, is wearing, where they’re sitting or what they’re doing. Sometimes not seeing them is better. We can get distracted by which room they’re sitting in, what’s behind them, what child is sitting on their lap. And sometimes I don’t feel like being on camera. I’ve been working from home for over 20 years, always get dressed and am camera-ready, but that doesn’t mean I need or want to be seen every moment.
Confession #3: I like all these online webinars and classes
My head is spinning from how many digital invitations I receive – webinars, conferences, Zoom happy hour invitations, alumni meetings, dance classes, virtual travel. Webinars are the new industry conferences. I like to attend five conferences a year. At an average of three days each, between the travel and conference attendance, that’s a total of about 15 days per year. That equates, for a one-hour digital event, to 120 one-hour digital events a year – another 120, if I assume that I watch half of them after they’ve aired. That’s a lot to time to see and hear other people and learn new things. If you invite me, I will attend.
Confession #4: I’m channeling my inner introvert
Introverts may not know this about us, but we need downtime and alone time too. We need to rest and recharge. We just need less time to do it, and we come out of it a whole lot faster than introverts. Some of my dearest personal and professional connections are introverts. Many say they’ve been training for this their whole lives – to stay home and stay away from people. They are enjoying the eased social pressure and are more productive right now, although they do stress more over Zoom meetings than my extroverted friends. I’m learning so much from introverts – and I thank you all.
Confession #5: I still want to have a conversation with everyone on earth
COVID-19 has not changed my interest in meeting everyone. If you invite me to connect on LinkedIn, I will accept and invite you to a phone call. I’m looking forward to meeting you and hearing your voice.