The ups and downs of working from home alongside an extrovert partner
Adjusting to life indoors presents different scenarios for both introverts and extroverts. Some of us have partnered with extroverts, not realising that one day there could be a pandemic and we would end up quarantined and working from home in small apartments with these lovely people, only to want to shake them off.Updated: Apr 29, 2020 16:55 IST
“I cant survive it anymore!” is the reaction of most introverts who are working from home while dealing with a restless extrovert partner during social isolation.
Adjusting to life indoors presents different scenarios for both introverts and extroverts. Some of us have partnered with extroverts, not realising that one day there could be a pandemic and we would end up quarantined and working from home in small apartments with these lovely people, only to want to shake them off.
If you are an introvert who is working from home during quarantine with an extrovert partner then you might feel like you are living life on a roller-coaster. The pandemic has become a personality-driven factor, as an overwhelming majority of introverts working from home, become anxious about their normal quiet spaces. They are used to working and creating spaces without distraction and in solitude even while working from the office.
They now how to deal with being surrounded by their extrovert partners who are also working from home.
An Introvert may not be ready for any distractions during quarantine, for instance - It’s been just two hours of work and your extrovert partner starts whining like a puppy with both hands pressed against the desk looking towards the window. Or, while working, your partner keeps pacing around, irritating you asking for help because they are unable to even acknowledge the existence of any stuff at home?
If this is the scenario, then essense of the quarantine i.e. social distance is proving to become an oxymoron for both the partners. It is surprising, that social distancing has increased the divide between introvert and extrovert partners, making it more visible than ever. Couples who had to abruptly turn their home into sacred workplaces, find that their need for social time versus alone time can be quite different from one another.
Especially for the extroverts, the pandemic is a forced a ‘time-out,’ upending their lives which may lead to psychological scars of social distancing from an undesirable period of self-quarantine. The number of calls to mental health professionals has gone up as has depression and anxiety, especially amongst extroverts who are emotionally powered by spending time with others; they currently lack social contact, and cannot even attend an in-person therapy session.
Many organisations as a whole are embracing the work from home strategy, for introverts who are more used to solitary pursuits, the time alone can be rejuvenating - and a relief from the distress brought on by news of the coronavirus and its ravages.
Indeed, the difference lies in what, cognitively, somebody finds “stimulating” as opposed to “exhausting”.
For an extrovert life can be difficult under self-isolation, it is in the hands of the introvert partner to manage the workload as well as their problems, while maintaining calm and composure.
Dr Paras, Life-leadership Coach and Psychotherapist speaks about this predicament that people find themselves in and shares a few tips to handle your extrovert partner.
Differentiate the type of extrovert and understand their problem
New research has discovered, there are two types of extroverts, ‘Agentic’ and ‘Affiliative’, each with distinct brain structures and distinct brain anatomies.
Agentic extroverts are ‘go-getters,’ the kind of outgoing people who are persistent, assertive and focused on achievement.
Affiliative extroverts tend to be more affectionate, friendly and sociable. Identify which one of these behavioural patterns your partner falls in and conceptualise a strategy according to it. It won’t be a complex interplay once you note their behaviour patterns and timings as it will help you to take different approaches to stimulate your partner’s behaviour toward boredom and exhaustion. Thereby making it easy to avoid flight or fight response.
Talk the Talk
When your extrovert partner is dealing with boredom and feeling mentally exhausted, sit down and have a conversation. Do this confidently to eradicate the problem and find an eloquent solution for it. Give your extrovert partner positive reinforcement, and try not to judge so harshly or find a fault in everything they do.
Remind them about their positive traits and ask them to discover a new idea.
Be willing to listen to your introvert-partner, let your loved one know that you want to understand how he or she feels. When the person wants to talk, listen carefully, but avoid giving advice or opinions or making judgments. Just listening and being understanding can be a powerful healing tool.
Perhaps you can also establish a pep talk everyday for 30-minutes to make sure your partner does’t succumb to significant stressors, ask them to take this opportunity to find strength and try becoming mindful of the current scenario.
Ask them to recognise the importance of rules and time structure between social time and alone time while working from home during the pandemic.
Diminish your extrovert partner’s cabin fever
Cabin fever is a series of emotional psychological upheavals that people experience when they’re confined to their homes for extended periods of time. Cabin fever is felt mostly by extroverts and social distancing for them can lead to adverse psychological and physiological effects.
Here are a few things you can do to maintain your extrovert partners overall health. Firstly understand the signs of “restlessness”, “decreased motivation”, “irritability”, “hopelessness” ,”difficulty concentrating”, “irregular sleep patterns”, including “sleepiness or sleeplessness”, “difficulty waking up”, “lethargy”, “distrust of people around you”, “lack of patience”, “persistent sadness or depression.”
To cope deep dive into meditation, helping the brainwave patterns into an alpha state that promotes healing. The mind becomes fresh, delicate and beautiful.
Meditation is like a seed, when cultivated with love, it blossoms and nourishes you from within. It calms you, whenever you feel overwhelmed, unstable or emotionally shut down.
Time structure your work-from-home routine
No commute. No drive-by meetings. No dress code. Remote working can seem like a dream - until personal obligations due to an extrovert partner get in the way. These distractions are easy to ignore in an office, but at home it can be difficult to draw the line between personal and professional time with your extrovert partner.
At home establish suitable working hours for you and an extrovert partner and make sure it isn’t chaotic. Schedule it in such a way that the number callings and conference calls should clash at a same time with your partner. If you and your partner need to make calls, find a space which doesn’t intrude on your respective workspace.
Make time to eat lunch together. If your partner isn’t working you can actually establish a plan where your partner is busy watching videos usings headphones while you enjoy your work with silence, calm and control.
Instead of catastrophising, spend time together
Your extrovert partner may be craving more time with you to battle the loneliness. Reward your partner by spending some quality time to help ease his/her exhaustion. Planning one-on-one time together is crucial for romance.
Intimate relationships need a lot of together time and a lot of time apart to recharge. So, it’s a good idea to plan how to approach both the togetherness and privacy during the pandemic.
Set boundaries with others. To make your effort stick, be clear with maintaining spousal distance to minimise conflict and distractions.
Explain to your extrovert partner that the days you’re working remotely aren’t opportunities for non-work-related activities. For example, if you’re home with your extrovert spouse, tell them, “I’m planning on being on my computer from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today. I’m happy to chat at lunch, but other than that I’ll be occupied.”
Typically, when you set expectations and stick to them (say, really stopping at 5 p.m), people understand your limits instead of assuming you’ll be available. (I also recommend having a place where you’re away from anyone else who might be home, such as a bedroom where you can shut the door and be out of sight.)
Skype or Zoom
Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. Your extroverted partner may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract their mind may help erase their frustrations.
Experiment with different ideas until you create a functional space that works for both worlds.
Quarantine during a pandemic can be traumatic, it goes without saying. But like all difficult times, it’s not equally harrowing for everybody, and can be potentially even liberating for some.
(This story has been published from a wire agency without modifications to the text)