I always thought I was an extrovert because I can talk to anyone.

(Except handsome people, who make me feel pathetic and thick and suddenly silent.)

Whenever there was assigned seating (like at a wedding reception), my husband used to make me be the one to sit next to strangers because I could do the social chit-chat thing and then he wouldn’t have to… which annoyed me, but – yeah. I’m good at it. Still, I was always exhausted afterwards. It was such a huge psychic toll.

And now I think that what I wasn’t realizing is that I am actually a highly-chatty introvert.

Because all this time alone? I’m good with it. Social distancing feels pretty glorious to me. Sometimes people call me on the phone to check in and I find myself thinking “all right – that’s enough. I have to get back to my plans, now. Move it along.”

(Of course – let me be clear: I am among the most privileged people you’ll ever meet. I’ve already retired. My aged parents have already been gathered to their great reward. My son is robust with good health. I have ALL of the privilege and NONE of the worries of this virus, and I can at least academically appreciate that.)

But I’ve discovered that I have three friends who really and truly ARE extroverts – meaning that they get their energy and sense of self from how they interact with others.

And those three people really ARE in extremis right now.

All three are people who are driven to HELP. No matter what’s going on, their instinct is to leap up – lend a hand – offer a boost. They are all volunteers, all selfless, and all superb hosts or hostesses because they really do want to make sure their guests are happy and comfortable.

And they’re climbing the walls now. One bravely shared with me a totally out-of-character descent into actual anxiety. One is making masks with the frenzy of a fanatic. One is doing a ding-dong-ditch, leaving baskets of treats on the doorsteps of friends and running away.

My point is – the quest for good health includes MENTAL health, too – and you can probably help a little if you think of who in your friend circle is the best hostess and then call them. Talk to them. See if there’s something you can do to help – or if just talking helps to take the edge off for them. Because this shit is REAL.

I’d be violating my own philosophy if I left out a reminder that exercise creates “endogenous morphine” in the brain – a term that’s been shortened to endorphins. If you or someone you know could stand a hit of self-made morphine, try a little sweat on a regular basis. It will not only relieve your stress. It will also restore regularity to your days and give you a reason to get up and put on new clothes. MAYBE even shower – although who would know or care if you didn’t?!

I thought this meme was a cute joke until I checked in with a few people. It’s not. Really: Check on your friends. The extroverts are going through something they really, really didn’t prepare for.

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May you have peace, good karma, and ongoing health. Don’t let the cabin fever tempt you into foolish behavior; stay where you are!



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