MANILA, Philippines – Many of us identify with certain personality types. You may be the life of the party, or the introspective homebody; but now that we’re all under home quarantine – has your personality been changing in certain ways?
If so, don’t worry! Nikki Vergara, co-founder of Positive Workplaces, and Gallup-certified Strengths Coach Clifton Esteban say it’s normal. It’s just how we’re adjusting to extreme change – by forming a new personality in order to survive and maybe even thrive – in this brand-new “coviverse.”
‘Coviverse’: The new normal?
“A new world – in this case, the ‘coviverse’ – necessitates new narratives and personas,” Clifton told Rappler.
“We are now captive in our homes. There’s low mobility, a mandatory co-existence with home and work, and no more school and regular routines,” he added. Face-to-face and group socialization is at a pause, and so are our usual outdoor habits.
Most of us had to sit through the first few weeks in an uncomfy state (call it growth pains, if you will), not knowing what to do. Extroverts were “dying” without social interaction, while introverts cringed at the loss of their daily routine. But now that we’re two months into the lockdown – have you finally come to terms with this “new normal,” and maybe actually like it? (READ: Keep calm and cope: How to stay mentally healthy during coronavirus crisis)
In comes the covivert – “a combination of introversion and extroversion skills,” born amid a pandemic.
“This new personality can be a ‘stepping stone’ to becoming more of who you are and who you’re not, so that you may better co-exist with others during and after the pandemic,” Clifton said.
The makings of a ‘covivert’
We’re familiar with the extroverts – those with an “outward turning of energy who are energized by the external world and its people,” according to Nikki. Aside from thriving in groups, extroverts can usually handle (and maybe even look for) a lot of external stimuli at the same time.
Introverts, on the other hand, “turn inward” and are “energized by their own internal world.” You might catch them standing by the wall at a party with one friend – or rather, canceling on said party – and spending the night at home recharging and reserving their energy for hobbies or self-reflection.
Finally, an ambivert personality – which combines both – is “the most ‘normal’ with individuals who show flexibility between the two extremes, depending on the context,” Nikki said.
In this case, “coviverts” are similar – as an introvert, they now appreciate not having to go out, but also as an extrovert, are still looking for stimulation and social interaction. How are they responding to the lockdown then?
Coviverts enjoy their alone time, the freedom, but also the control they have over “virtual socialization” done at their own time. There’s no pressure to chat everyone up – but when the need arises, they don’t mind engaging in a day’s worth of conversation – say, they’re even most likely to be the hosts of Zoom parties, e-numans, and game nights.
When they’re not catching up with friends, they’re busy honing new hobbies – caring for a plant, baking bread, or practicing yoga – as soon as the work day is done. (READ: Work-from-home burnout? 4 ways to cope in lockdown)
Basically, it’s the best of both intro and extroverted worlds. “You’re energized by interacting with people, actively still engaging with the world – but still comfortable at home,” Clifton said. No social commitments, awkward interactions, and time constraints to feel pressured by.
“You’re relishing the solitude that the lockdown offers, using it even as an opportunity to go inward, reflect, and get to know yourselves more, while making sense of the world,” he added, which explains the obsession with new interests and skills.
But like anything, there are cons – and being a covivert forces you to come “face to face” with yourself, even when a problem arises (don’t you miss the pre-pandemic world’s abundance of distractions?)
“You can’t run away to another location, to another group of friends, or a distracting activity anymore,” Clifton said. You can only stick to “mind-numbing activities,” like refreshing your social media timelines or show-surfing on Netflix.
“With nothing to distract you, this is a ripe space for introspection,” Clifton said, which at first, can be daunting. All this time with my thoughts? Yikes.
“But if not now, then when? Do this before the external world again resurfaces and showers you with all sorts of ‘errands’ and ‘distractions’,” Clifton added.
Coviverts and the future
So let’s imagine when we’re all “allowed” out of our homes – what now?
“You can now use these lessons to gain perspective about how to deal with the external world from now on,” Nikki said. Maybe you realized you actually don’t need to spend all your time (and money) going out on weekends, that solitary hobbies bring you peace, or that you do need to “feel connected” with friends more.
“With what they’ve learned during their introspection (introversion skill), coviverts can now share these lessons with others, in hopes of building a better, more connected world (extroversion skill),” Nikki added.
So if you feel like this very strange time in your life has been working for you, don’t feel guilty. Hold it close, and keep it. After all, the only thing constant in this world is change – so embrace it while you can. – Rappler.com