Obviously, I’m an introvert

April 2, 2020


Organization brings calmness.

“Throw me in the briar patch, I love being at home.” — Me, three weeks ago. 

Being on lock-down due to health restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic sounded like a lovely retreat. 

Obviously — I’m an introvert. I love domestic life and was excited about hibernating to a world where I could bake pies, organize drawers and start my spring garden. I even laundered, ironed and folded an entire closet of table linens with great color-coordinated thrill, but found myself itching to tell someone about my Easter napkins matching my Easter dress, so I realized, I’m probably the kind of introvert who is slightly animated, easily excitable, and occasionally opinionated, which led me to learn a new term. 

An “ambivert” is someone who flips between introvert and extrovert qualities depending upon their mood and situation. They’re also called “outgoing introverts” or even “antisocial extroverts.” 

Obviously — I’m an ambivert.  I love good conversations with friends but can’t stand making mindless small talk. Walking into a room of strangers is no problem because I have great optimism I’ll find someone fascinating. But if it turns out to be a meeting of the Society of Sports Statisticians, I’d prefer to sit alone in the corner where I’d be happier eating little cubes of cheese on a toothpick. Even if it’s regular old cheddar. 

Salvation from pointless conversation.

A video conference with my church’s small group was the wake-up call that made me realize, “oh dear, I can’t stand all this alone time!” My husband whispered, “stop trying to hug the computer!” Home nesting was good at first, but I suddenly felt trapped and couldn’t breathe. I started taking my temperature every hour. 

Obviously — I’m an extrovert. An extrovert who has been locked away in homemaking hell. I don’t ever want to see another ugly apron or mop again. Why would anyone mess up their kitchen by baking a pie when you can buy a frozen one at Piggly Wiggly, or better yet, meet a group of friends for pie and coffee at a little café’?  I’m sick of the TV news, and shelling peas and churning butter are now pitiful memories. 

Finally, my husband found me in the backyard, lying on the ground. He wasn’t alarmed, because he knows I like to sprawl in the grass. It’s warm and smells good and I have a wonderful view of the clouds. He drew the line for me lying in the front yard because the neighbors kept calling an ambulance.  

“I can’t take this anymore!” I cried. “I have to be with other people.”  If I were a dog, I wouldn’t be a poodle, perched on a pillow in the parlor, I’d be a hound who needs a pack. I need my pack of hounds to go exploring, eating, hunting, howling and frolicking . . . all in a very ladylike pure-bred way, of course. 

Obviously — we’re all confused.  Part Betty Crocker and part dangerous prisoner, we’re a hot gumbo mix of emotions. Calm and confident, then angry and sad, with a dash of hope, joy and frustration. But no matter if we’re introverts, ambiverts or extroverts, we’re all in this together . . . separately. I recommend, allergies aside, a long sprawl in the warm spring grass, and maybe a homemade pie. 

This story first appeared HERE at AL.com and in the Mobile Press Register, Birmingham News and Huntsville Times.

Chime in and tell me how you’ve done during this new “alone time.”

  • Debbi Benedict says:

    I am definitely an introvert, but as I have read it called, “a social introvert”. I do get my energy from being home alone, which I enjoy immensely, but I was also a social columnist for a local magazine for eight years and went to many charity galas and luncheons here in Sarasota, FL. I am loving this time alone with an empty calendar, but am dying to go to lunch with friends and giving them a big hug, not to mention my children and grandchildren!

    • How interesting your job forced you out of your comfort zone to attend big functions with strangers! You must have loved the reporting and writing part of the job! It’s all a balance isn’t it? Hope you are safe and healthy and can hug your family soon.

  • Our church is having a drive in service on Palm Sunday. We’ll sit in our cars and watch our pastor on a large screen set up in the portico. No hugging though. I never thought I’d miss the hugs. I have never been comfortable being hugged. My brother-in-law once claimed that hugging me was like hugging a stick. Rigid and slightly panicked. But here I am missing that wonderful human contact with people I have learned to love. We will get through this and what a joyful time we will have when at last, we are all together.

    • That sounds like a great church experience. I’ve heard of several churches doing a drive-in sort of thing. You need to look for my story on the blog, “Are you a hugger or handshaker?” I usually prefer handshakes over hugs, but I”m there with you on missing people. I think I’ll burst into tears of joy if I ever get to go back to Piggly Wiggly again.

  • Rachel D Bowen says:

    That pie looks delicious – too pretty to eat! I’d love to be cleaning house and organizing (one guest room looks like a bomb exploded where Douglas piled it full of Stuff To Get Rid Of, including Dixie our Mannequin, but I’m not at homes as I’m an “essential worker.” At least it keeps me feeling normal and traffic’s a breeze. However, there may be a Spring Fever Day coming up soon 🙂

  • I’m with you, some days I love it and some days not so much! Hang in there…

    • Back and forth. It’s the way of life. I remember having days when I was so busy I wished I could just stay home. Ahh. those were the days!

  • Leslie Anne, you really know how to keeps things grounded, just when I want to stop and cry like a child not getting its way. Someone writes something that makes my day, we need that laughter.
    Thank you for keeping it real, bet there’s not a dull moment at your house.
    This is hard….keep writing…..happy thoughts.

    • Thanks for the encouragement Sue. Sometimes it’s hard to get motivated to write, even though I’m sitting home, all is clean and organized and there’s nothing on TV. I think we’re being taught a great balancing act. Hope you are well, and thanks for the note! (and don’t cry! It will make your eyes puffy, and even if no one is around to see it, you’ll know and it will make you cry harder!) . . . experience.

  • Perfect take on our current situation. The true introverts are probably content but most of us are combinations of both.
    Miss your printed column. What’s up with the Press Register!?

    • Hi Rosanne. I think you are a great ambivert – the best of both! My column was in the paper this past Sunday, “What will your story be?” – they changed the title to a less alluring, “time to write your family story,” but it was there! The week before they didn’t run any local columns, probably to give room for more national news. It was the TP – “thoughtful planning” column that didn’t make the print issue. It can be found on the blog. Hang in there, and thanks for reading!

  • Leslie Anne, I think you described me perfectly! Today I polished all the silver and brass. And my shower is the cleanest it’s ever been because I scrub it every day. Last night I invited some friends to a cocktail party…at 7 pm we all raised our glasses and toasted the first responders. Not together in body, but together in spirit. And now “they” are predicting a more active hurricane season! ?‍♀️

    • Cleaning will be our mental salvation. I always feel better when I’m organized, so now’s my chance! Glad to hear from you and keep polishing!

  • Savan Wilson says:

    Oh, this may be your best ever! You hit it on the head as I have loved the time without a calendar so much that I was afraid my thoughts may have actually brought this down on us. By week 3, we are all feeling the pinch more – but still clean out one more drawer and pile up clothes to give away (when we can). I am now moving more toward reading, writing letters, calling friends and renewing my energy and not let this sap me.

    Thank you for being the one person I can always count on to be “spot on” each and every blog or article. We must keep calm an carry on as they say – as ” it is what it is” and we need to keep the tiller straight through this storm of life.

    • Thanks Savan. So good to hear from you. I’m tackling my big closet tomorrow. I’ve worked on smaller projects, and now is the time to finally go for the big one! I like your idea of writing letters. I sent two handwritten notes out, but can think of several more I should write. Hang in there, and let me hear from you again soon!

  • You know if I knew everything would be alright later I would be perfectly content to stay home. I am truly an introvert; that old only child who could provide endless hours of entertainment for herself. However, I can not seem to turn off the worry, no concern, about what is coming after the pandemic. I know God has us, but I also know we could all have some very hard times ahead. That sounded all gloomy. I go between trying to keep a happy face on and think positive to thinking I might just meltdown. When I get to the meltdown point, I go for a walk or putter in my plants. The weather has been good for my sanity.

    • This beautiful springtime weather has been a boost to us all, thank goodness. I understand what you are saying completely. We trust God to see us through the hard times, but we’re human and can’t put everything out of our minds! I’m going crazy because I can’t see my mom who only lives 2 miles from me. She’s on lock down and is stuck there by herself. Good thinking for you to get outdoor with plants. I don’t know what it is about growing something . . . maybe the act of hope and better days ahead. Take care!

  • Ellen Shook says:

    I didn’t do this but my cousin in Atlanta did: for many many years they have had a social get together on Sunday nights at a favorite restaurant with their Sunday School Class from the Baptist Church they have attended forever in Marietta. This past week they found another way to convene, keeping their social distance. Each brought a picnic of either homemade or takeout food, and they loaded up their folding lawn chairs in the trunk. They parked in a semi-circle in the deserted church parking lot, and placed their respective lawn chairs in from of their vehicles, making sure to keep the required distance of at least six feet from the next person. They had their abbreviated Sunday School lesson, then they all enjoyed their food while visiting. No hugging, no touching, and obviously anyone who was even a little under the weather was instructed to stay home. She said it did them all a world of good, and they will do it again.

    I am not a health professional, but it seems to me that this was a workable to solution for people who literally are losing it, not being able to see their friends now and then. What do you think?

    • I think it’s brilliant. Leave it to the Baptists to find a way to have a dinner on the grounds – no matter what! Thanks for sharing this great idea. Our group got together online, and so many of them have young children at home they couldn’t get out of the house anyway, but I do like the idea of a big open circle. Still face-to-face yet safe. Hope you are doing well and staying home!

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