Isn’t it funny just how much we crave human contact now, but when we had the freedom to do as we please we ignored it? The advent of social media saw a significant reduction in real life social interactions, resulting in less and less human contact and we were fine (or so we thought), until…
Before Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, MySpace, Hi5 etc, human beings had more of an incentive to go out and meet people. For those who could talk via phone, a telephone conversation simply wasn’t enough. Human beings were more compelled to go out and actually socialize. Amazingly though, outdoor activities that facilitated social interactions/human contact did not reduce, in fact an argument could be made that it increased over the years. In my parents’ youth, they didn’t have access to a lot of the things available to do today, but just the mere fact that they were able to go out and meet others was more than rewarding.
Before Covid-19 started its quest for world domination, human beings were so far deep into socialization through technology that it even spilt over into actual social interactions in real life. In my parents’ time, people went out and socialized with each other; today (prior to COVID), people go out and socialize through social media, even when they are in the company of others.
I remember the first party I attended and saw majority of the people paying attention to their phones rather than each other; it was surreal for me, and not long after that, I too was doing the same thing. We took for granted the importance of physical human interactions so much and now we are paying the price for it.
With a plethora of social media posts of people yearning and pining for outdoor activities with people, songs about what will be done after the lockdown (checkout Koffee’s Lockdown single) and so on, it’s clear that we took the presence of PEOPLE for granted.
Joy for Introverts?
Anyone that has suffered the agonizing distance between their lovers/loved ones in a long distance relationship, would have experienced the kind of longing being felt by most people locked down in this pandemic. The little things taken for granted when you were with your partner suddenly feels the most painful; a smile, a laugh, a scent, a touch…these are the things that can drive people crazy.
One would think that introverts and ambiverts to a lesser degree would be living their best lives, because they mostly seemingly live a reclusive and seclusive lifestyle. What a lot of people don’t realize though, is that there is a difference between flaking on an invitation in favor of staying at home to binge watch shows/read books and being limited/restricted from public appearances to avoid getting infected.
No one, introverts or otherwise, wants to be told when and how they should go about their lives. I’ve seen introverts and ambiverts find themselves in a ’sunken place’ mentally and when asked what they attribute that feeling to, they reply “I can’t go anywhere and it’s driving me crazy”. All human beings want to exercise their inherent right to refuse an invitation, or the right to live reclusive/seclusive. In other words, everyone wants to express their freedom to choose.
We have no idea what social interactions will look like when this pandemic is no longer a threat, but may we be reminded of the importance of human contact in our lives.
I will leave you with a Jamaican proverb; “Cow never know di use a him tail till him lose it” – This means that you don’t know the importance of something until you no longer have it.
Written by: Jason McPherson
Image by: EMS-Forster Productions / Getty Images