To those who know me well, it will come as no surprise to learn that, despite my sparkling wit and charming social demeanour, I’m actually a very happy introvert. To the extent that our current locked-down circumstances have actually had very little impact on my daily life and almost none at all on my mental well-being and happiness. I’m well practised and content with spending hour upon hour in my own company, thinking about thinking, reflecting and getting on with life all without feeling the need to externalise my thoughts or processes or express them to anyone.
Mr. Jenny, on the other hand, is not only so extraverted he’s off the scale, he’s also highly sensation seeking and has the tolerance of boredom something akin to a Tasmanian Devil pup who started the day with 10 espressos and a Mars bar.
Now don’t get me wrong, of course Mr. Jenny and I rub along just fine most of the time. I actually really like him and his zest for constant novelty and social interaction has been a really healthy Yin to my introverted Yang over the years. There are so many things I would never have done, places I wouldn’t have been, people I wouldn’t have met if it hadn’t been for the balancing forces of Mr. Jenny’s personality. But there was the key word. Balance.
In the new circumstances we find ourselves, that balance has been upset. Apart from the obvious benefit of getting to spend so much time we don’t normally have together, the nicest thing I can think of to describe the experience is “occasionally overwhelming”. Example? Here is a real conversation from last night:
Me: *reading a book*
Mr. J: Whatchya doin’?
Me: Reading a book
Mr. J: What kind of book?
Me: One with pages
Mr. J: What’s it about?
Me: Why don’t you read a book? In-fact take this one, read it and then you will know what it’s about
Mr. J: Books are boring. I hate books. What’s for dinner? Wanna go for a walk? I’m soooooo bored. I wish we could go somewhere. Do you think we could go somewhere? Where could we go? Ugh, I’d love to be on the beach right now. Imma put some music on, and the TV. And let’s look online for beach holidays.
Me: *Throws book away*
Mr. J: Whatchya doin’?
I’d actually been hoping that Mr. Jenny would perhaps start to discover some of the joys of a little introverted me-time. But no. It seems instead that quite the reverse is happening. Even in the midst of a crisis which asks no more of me than to continue with my daily routine of staying home and away from people, the extroverts have found their way into my sanctuary.
So please, if you’re an extravert reading this, have a thought for your poor introverted companions. You’re probably a bit overwhelming sometimes to them anyway. When the balance is distorted and you’re in each other’s spheres constantly, try not to trample their metaphorical flowers as you barge into their cocoon.
And maybe read a book, you might like it. Or have a bath, quietly, with the door shut. Just for five minutes. Please?