I live in Nashville, TN. So, if you are aware of the tornadoes that we had in early March, you already know that those, on top ofthe coronavirus outbreak, have had us a little on edge—and slightly numb (understandably so, I might add). However, I'm pretty much an ambivert (which is kinda like the person folks might assume is an extrovert when they are actually more of an introvert) and an at-home writer. That pretty much boils down to the fact that self-quarantining is a lifestyle for me, even before Nashville's mayor issued a "Safer at Home" order to try and control the pandemic in my county.
The introverts in my world? Although the thought of being at home for weeks on end doesn't have them exactly turning backflips, at the same time, their attitude is more in the lane of "I mean, now is the time to work on a few projects and catch up on some reading." Oh, but the extroverts that I know? Bless their hearts. Literally. Some of them have expressed to me that they are on the verge of losing their minds, all because of how bored they are. I get it. A lot of their energy and inspiration comes directly from interacting with other people. That is being tested to the utmost these days.
It's another article for another time, how much we're going to need to tend to people's mental health once this storm passes because, as they say, no man is an island and human interaction is important. But while officials are trying to make sure that our physical health is the top priority (or at least some of them are; peep "Florida City Official Calls Out Mayor for COVID-19 Response". That commissioner is a hero. Straight up), if you are an extrovert—someone who is outgoing, hates to be alone, thrives in large groups, has lots of friends and is always up for a good party or event, etc.—who is trying your best to practice social distancing, yet, at the same time, you feel like you are low-key going insane without having some physical interaction, here are a few ways to make coping with this interesting time in our world's history a little easier to bear.
Talk Face to Face—Online or on the Phone
Because most of my counseling sessions are via the phone, I have a landline. It's also the number that my friends call me on. Matter of fact, the only time I do any real face to face chatting is when I'm speaking to my goddaughters. But whenever I do (in my case) hop onto Google Hangout, it really does feel almost like I am right there with them. I'm an Android kind of gal but, while I'm sure that most of you iPhone folks FaceTime often anyway, definitely amp the frequency up a bit during this time of social distancing. Also, when you're on your laptop or computer, hit up a platform like Skype (you can speak to up to 10 folks on there). It's not exactly like physical interaction, but in many ways, it's a wonderful alternative.
Use This Time to Host a Webinar
A webinar is basically a virtual event that is held online. A good example of one is the meeting some of the xoTribe recently had through our relatively new app recently. Basically, what happens is a speaker (or small group of speakers) makes a presentation to an online community who can then submit questions, answer surveys or interact with the speakers.
The cool thing about webinars is, not only can you hold events from the convenience of your own home, but it's an effective way to earn a few bucks in the process too.
If you're trying to build up an audience, you might want to do a few free webinars first. Then, once you've created a following, you can offer some exclusive content, some advance trainings or special product offers to those who are willing to pay for future webinars (by the way, you tend to make more money if you present paid webinars as a series and offer a bulk price). Webinars are a great way to "scratch the itch" of interacting with people while building your brand and (eventually) getting paid for it. If you'd like some tips on how to make your webinar one that really appeals to people, I've included some how-to videos here, here and here.
Download Some Extroverted-Friendly Apps
Apps. Lord, what would we do without them? Even if your smartphone is already loaded with a ton, I've got a few recommendations that were created with the extrovert in mind.
Meetup. If you want to use this time to meet new people or make new friends, Meetup may be the app that you've been looking for, perhaps without even knowing it. The features on the app make it possible for you to find local groups who have similar interests to you, whether it's books, yoga or cooking (those are just examples). Meetup makes connecting easier by letting you put in keywords to find exactly what you are looking for. You can use the app for personal or professional reasons—or both.
Tapebook. If you dig podcasts, then you will love Tapebook. It basically makes it possible for you to participate in social podcasting because you can either start of blog or vlog on your own via the app, or you can call up a friend and start recording the conversation that the two of you are having (with their permission, of course). You can then publish your tapes on the platform's Tapefeed for other members to check out. Since over 100 million people listen to at least one podcast a week, by downloading this app, you just might be onto something.
Whisper. Whisper is an interesting kind of app because you can speak as freely as you want with its 30 million members. Why would you take that kind of risk? Well, the true identity of people on the app is hidden. There are no friends or followers on the platform, but there is an open chat (it uses your location to help you bring others into your group). I know a lot of extroverts who like to get all kinds of random stuff off of their chest. If you're one of 'em, now you've got an app that'll let you do it. Anonymously.
Vero. If the ads and algorithms of apps like Instagram are driving you up the wall, you might want to give Vero a shot. According to the creators of the app, vero means truth and their app is a place where you can share all of the things that you like without all of the "extras" (like ads and algorithms) so that you can more easily connect to people who share your interests. From what I can see, it is "cleaner" (meaning, it has a lot less clutter) than a lot of social media apps do too. That alone can at least make it worth checking out.
Houseparty. One app that has gained a ton of popularity as of late is Houseparty. It lets up to eight people talk together. When you feel like interacting with people, you simply log on to the app and, if any folks on your list are available, they can join you. Generation Z is all about this app. Oh, if you're concerned about safety, Forbes wrote a piece on that very topic. Check out "Houseparty: Is The Hit Coronavirus Lockdown App Safe?" (from what I read, the answer is "yes").
Thrive As a Remote Worker
Boy, this social distancing/quarantining is having domino effects in ways that truly boggle the mind. For instance, the weekend that my city went into "Safer at Home" status, the adapter to my main laptop went on the fritz. In my mind, I thought to myself, "No problem. I'll just purchase a new one." Five stores later, I still had no luck. Why? Because due to the coronavirus and the need for social distancing, thousands and thousands of more people are working from home which means that thousands and thousands of more people are upgrading their computer equipment.
Anyway, if you happen to fall into the work-from-home category, another way that you can shine as an extrovert is to put your best foot forward on the professional front. See if your company uses sites like Slack and Buckets to stay organized when it comes to communicating with one another. Recommend using Zoom to participate in video conferencing.
Speak with your supervisor or manager about possibly starting a small online group that offers support to other co-workers who are also working from home; maybe the group can meet for an hour after work via a video platform to have a glass of wine and share stories—it can be like getting a drink at work only, everyone's at their own house. Or maybe lead an exercise group where everyone can workout together in the mornings via the same video platform.
The key is to use your extroverted nature to bring more joy and interaction to others—even if, for the time being, you have to rely on technology in order to do it.
Cross Online Dating Off of Your Bucket List
There is a network of Black actors who live in Cali who I dig. One of them goes by Minks and, I promise you that he had me crying recently while checking out his skits "HOOD STUDIO SESSIONS" and "UBER CHRONICLES PT. 5". So, when one of his recent offerings "QUARANTINED", I just knew that I had to check it out. I don't know what was funnier—him getting into a dance battle with the actual movie You Got Served, him throwing dollars at some strippers that he found on a television show somewhere, him playing Twister with himself, or him having a romantic dinner with an "I Love You" balloon (LOL). Anyway, that last one is a reminder that if you are an extroverted and single, another option is to try a little online dating.
The reality is that, these days, three out of 10 people do it and, in America, more than half of all relationships actually start online. If you're a little skeptical, talk to some of your friends who've done it before to get a feel for what they think about you creating a dating profile. Also, check out video features like "Online Dating as a PoC", "Is Online Dating Really THAT BAD For Black Women? Mask & Chat", "How we met on Tinder!" and "ONLINE DATING WORKS! Story of how we met!". If you want to know what apps are people-of-color-friendly, Dating Advice has a list (although again, you might want to confirm it with some friends who have used the sites). I mean, it beats talking to a balloon, right? Chile, here's hoping so.
Do Something Nice for Someone Else
A historian and playwright by the name of Howard Zinn once said, "Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world." Since, as an extrovert, you get a lot of your fuel by others, use this time of crisis to lend a helping hand.
If your city lets you go to the grocery store, offer to purchase something for the person in front of or behind you. If there is a senior on your block, ask them if there is anything that you can get for them while you're out. When you are ordering food for delivery, be intentional about giving a larger than usual tip to the driver who delivered it to you. You already know that the world is wearing the hell outta streaming platforms. Why not get a couple of friends an online gift card to their favorite one? Send someone you care about an email or text about how much you love and appreciate them. Play a few games on Free Rice; when you do, they donate rice to hungry people through the world (the site is free; so are the games that are on it).
Donate some of your time or talents and abilities to help someone get an idea off of the ground. If a customer service person who works for your electricity, cable or water company was especially nice and professional, ask to speak with their supervisor to let them know (because customer service people are hearing A LOT of complaints right about now). If you want to help an entrepreneur out, Kiva lets you give or lend money to ones all throughout the world. These are just some examples that, even if you can't directly interact with others, there are still ways to profoundly touch their lives. Like the rest of us, you'll survive this as an extrovert. It just takes thinking a little outside of the box. That said, please feel free to post comments if you've got other suggestions on how extroverts can survive social distancing as well. We'd love to hear 'em! In the meantime, remain safe, healthy and totally you!
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