It's a Pandemic. Be Kind to Each Other.
Spoiler alert: Every day is a good day to be kind to each other.
Our extroverted friends have gotten some love for not being able to be around people and get their energy. Huggers, high-fivers, fist-bumpers, and anyone else in the socially appropriate physical contact realm are also having a rough go. It’s a dreamland for our introverted friends, though! No pop-in’s, no awkward chit-chat, no being put on the spot in a meeting, “Everyone else has spoken up, except you. What’s on your mind?” Ah, delightful. Maybe not.
Our introverted friends might have more opportunity for reflection and contemplation, but they also have stressors.
Email – even an introvert likes to get some non-verbal feedback. The stress a person feels trying to write for the right content, tone, interpretation, and length (tl;dr) is real. Being able to talk through something can be less stressful than trying to think through all of the possible trip hazards in an email. And we haven’t even addressed when the email is circulated and comes back to the sender with a completely unrelated outcome even when the original message is RIGHT THERE IN THE THREAD.
Zoom or conference calls – Is there a fan of these? “Wheee! Another conference call,” said no one, to nobody. During the conference call, there is more interaction without non-verbals. For Zoom meetings we get to add the benefit of seeing others AND what we look like. Great.
Individual phone calls – no non-verbals, again. Trying to unpack any unspoken (or even spoken) code can be exhausting. Then the call has to end. Okay. Great. Sounds good. Thanks for calling. Thank you, too! Have a good weekend. Right, it’s only Tuesday. Oh, yeah! This work-from-home does a number on me. Yep. Okay. Okay. Great. Thanks for calling. Thank you! Have a good rest of your day. You, too! Okay. Good bye. Bye. *takes 40-minute nap*
Team projects – Lets take all of the communication methods, add a specific goal, specific timeline, unique humans with unique perspectives with, possibly, views of what is important in the project that is different from each other person in the project. Is this like a retreat teambuilder to emphasize the importance of communication? “Now, you can do whatever you can to work together but none of you can ever be in the same physical location at the same time for any reason – go!” Remember those meetings where the introvert’s question or comment toward the end of the extroverts’ discussion is contrary to the direction the extroverts’ meeting went? Imagine that prolonged for DAYS. Everyone levels up on Stress Achievement.
People of all personality dispositions are going to have struggles. It’s a pandemic. There might be precisely no one literally living their best lives right now. Collectively, let’s be sure to give grace to others, ask for forgiveness when we misstep, and give ourselves the same courtesy.