Extroverting Your Introvert

The Venetian Court in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building, a space introverts understand.

Of the many factors that push back on a post-pandemic call to Return to the Office, one is that introverts have been, during these dark two years, living their best work life. I am not sure how much of the population prefers (but does not insist on, mind you) to work alone and away from the daily buzz and spark of people, but I think our numbers are larger than perceived.

You see, we have been quiet for a long time because in office situations, extroverts are usually heard. They are extroverts, and they love to connect, and up until 2020 in the United States, that meant in person: at meetings, seminars, social events, and just around the office. The person at the networking event, standing in the group but doing more nodding than talking — that’s an introvert, plowing through it, perhaps having a great time, but thinking of her couch and book and cat and quiet at home. Storing information, perhaps, for processing later, when at last the crowds have gone.

Even if we remain a hybrid work society (and we will), there will be times when introverts have to get out and mingle with humans in person. But now we want this to be a trade off: many people or organizations got very good at facilitating networking-type events via Zoom or other video apps, and these skills are still absolutely useful going forward. Distance or inability to physically get to a location does not ever have to mean missing someone’s input again.

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