Steve, Giggle’s founder, creative director and well-known extrovert, has now been self-isolating for 3 weeks after catching Coronavirus. He shares his top tips for extrovert survival below:
“Extroverts are interested in engaging with their environment, and they feed off the responses of the people and events around them. They enjoy pushing limits and seeing what the world can do. Extroverted personality types lean toward taking the initiative and relying on the world around them for validation” 16 Personalities
I’m an extrovert.
Self-isolation is my idea of hell. The eternal dichotomy of extroverts (IMO) is how much we like to share ourselves with the world, yet are afraid of spending too much time in that self-same company. I started feeling unwell with CV19 on the 10th of March and isolated myself for 14 days until my symptoms went away and then wham, lockdown! More isolation!
The next 2-3 months could well be a boom time for the introverts, whilst us extroverts have to find ways to function in this new, alien landscape! So, in true extrovert style, I thought I would broadcast my ideas to the world, even though the world hasn’t asked for them!
First things first – are you an extrovert?
If you don’t already know from the way you engage with social situations, then it is relatively easy to find out. There are a plethora of personality tests out there, my personal favourite is 16 Personalties. In 50 simple questions, you get a wide spectrum analysis of your personality type. My extrovert score is 96%. When I discovered this my only thought was “Where did I lose that 4% and what can I do to get a full 100% mark”. Classic extrovert!
Extroverts put a huge amount of importance on engaging with people around them, I have built a business around the idea. Being with others can be so important that we find it difficult to be alone. Boredom comes easily and we resort to adding excitement to our lives rather than letting life wash over us. We love to be the centre of attention, at any cost.
Warning signs that your extrovert nature is beginning to affect you can manifest themselves in many ways. For me, it always starts with frustration at the little things: I might start shouting at inanimate objects for example. But this can escalate quickly into being stressed, anxious or even depressed. I rarely let it get that far, I go out, network, interact and generally engage with the world. But what can the extrovert do when that opportunity has been completely removed?
Working from home
As a writer I actually work from home a lot but, unlike my many introvert writing friends, I don’t turn off distractions, I have everything switched on! Music, Slack, WhatsApp, Messenger and iMessage are all there, keeping me connected to a web of people. I surround myself with noise so I can’t hear the silence. In this busy environment, I work in short sprints, focused on one thing for a short period of time then hop to the next. I feel busy, I feel connected and engaged.
Video calls are great – I love them, always have. For the extrovert a conf call can literally put you front and centre, you are on TV. Try not to let the fact it looks like you are the star of your own TV show overwhelm the fact that you should probably be shutting up and listening! If you are in the presence of an extrovert on a call then a gentle reminder that there is a mute button they can use and, in the worst cases, switching off the video can tone down their need to perform.
Keep busy, have fun.
Extroverts like to be busy, so we have busy social lives. If you live with your family, you are going to be very tiring very quickly if they have to fulfil all of your social needs. You need to seek alternatives. I normally do improv, take pictures, paint and cycle and as a result, I watch a lot of content about those things: Online classes, tip videos and technique. But with improv, it is possible to join online classes through companies like Bristol Long Form or the Bristol Improv Theatre. They are holding regular drop-ins via Twitch and Zoom.
Being so busy I tend to lose contact with friends. I don’t mean to but I just get a bit blinkered and don’t invest the right amount of time in my friendships. So now is a great time to reach out to old friends and people you may have lost contact with and check-in. You have a shared experience and they will appreciate that you thought of them. It could be the start of something new, again.
Netflix has also just launched Netflix Party, a great way to interact with friends in isolation by watching films and tv shows together. It has a message system built in so you can all slag off the crap writing at the same time! Now that feels like great fun to me!
I know we are all allowed out once a day but again that is basically on your own so where can you go to get that all-important interaction. Zwift, Peloton and other social-based fitness apps are amazing! They allow you to keep fit whilst interacting with real people who enjoy the same things as you do. Zwift also works for runners these days so there is really no excuse.
Finally, learn from the introverts
Look, introverts are really amazing. We can learn a lot from their calm considered approach to life. Maybe try slowing things down a bit, maybe give yourself time to read that stack of books you bought from Amazon on recommendations but simply don’t have time to read. The one big gift this pandemic has given those of us who are healthy is time…don’t waste it. You will grow as a person and maybe lower that extrovert score a bit, I’m told it can make you more manageable in the long run!