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A female introvert’s diary: Can I break free from the stereotype amidst this pandemic?

After Sophia’s 26th birthday, it dawned on her that she had four more years to her ‘Big 30”, and then it hit her hard that she still had so many items on her bucket list that she had not ticked off.
Many questions ran through her mind, but one question stood out, can I still have fun given the pandemic? Sophia has always loved to be in her space, she would rather do indoor hangouts, watch movies alone, spend time on the phone with her best friends from high school and literally work, work, work.

A psychologist once said “they call themselves introverts, but they go to so many places in their minds”. Many introverts like Sophia are looking for a breakthrough from being called boring and from not doing the fun stuff that the rest of the world does.
The coronavirus pandemic literally shut the doors of fun to both fun lovers and non-fun lovers alike, but does this mean that no one has been having fun? The answer is a big no. My conversation with some friends who used to be every Friday club goers has taught me that they just took their party home.

My thoughts below are not necessarily an exhaustive list but represents clear facts drawn from my conversations with people, the books I have read and of course, the movies I have seen.
Six steps every female introvert should take to break free from the stereotype are:

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Conscious decision and efforts
I need you to stop thinking about the million ways you can have fun and actually take the step for once. It is one thing to make a decision that you would give more time to social activities, but it is most important that you consciously make the effort.
You cannot keep spending every Saturday indoor, pick your calendar and mark dates in the month you would actually do something fun and out of your regular routine. It is not easy to change a norm that you have been practicing almost all your life, but never forget that when there is a will, there is definitely a way.

Surround yourself with extroverts and fun lovers
This is a little bit tricky because you will find out that these persons are almost totally different from you, but do not be in a hurry to run. If you really want to tick off all the items on your bucket list, then you cannot afford to be surrounding yourself with people that are socially like you.
You need to talk to people that you are comfortable with and make them understand that you need enough push and motivation to achieve your social goal. Of course, there is no rush, so take it one step at a time and learn as you journey with them in their conversations, where they love to go after work and other fun stuff they indulge in.

Try attending any virtual party of your choice
What the pandemic has shown the world is that several activities can be done online. In a bid to curtail the virus and maintain the social distancing rule, party lovers took their parties online and many have testified that it was fun even without the physical presence.
Attending a virtual party is one step to push yourself as a female introvert; at least you would not leave your room. You would however play dress up, put on your make up, learn your best camera angle and observe how the rest of the world behave during parties.
I know this might not be much, but trust me when I say that it is a step. This way, depending on how fun the virtual party organisers are, you might be asked to play games and interact virtually with everyone that connected to the party.

Say yes to at least one of the many people who have been asking you out on a date
There would be at least one person that you can agree to hang out with, just scroll back on those chats and make a choice that is most comfortable. You might be asking, where would we go anyways? Well, cinemas are now opening bit by bit, most of the public and private beaches have been open for a while now, and even restaurants are finally allowing sit-ins.
Do not stay indoor making excuses and remaining in the wishful thinking land. Break free from the not doing and have a feel of what it is like to go out to different places that you are comfortable with and just have fun.

Take your indoor games outside
You can hang out with your friends who do not necessarily have to be from the opposite sex. Go out with your girlfriends to eat, play card games, ludo, chess, monopoly, and other cool stuff.
The goal here is not to rush you but to get you to gradually push yourself to become more of an outdoor person till you hopefully break completely from what you are used to. So, try to do the indoor activities outside with friends.
Keep an open mind even if the dates or outing do not go so well
One annoying thing about wanting to change is that so many things start to happen to discourage the change process, especially when you plan a positive change.

Anything could go wrong with your dates or outing, but do not get discouraged as it is a slow and steady journey. Imagine going on a date in Lagos and spending three hours in traffic just to get to your date venue, how discouraging.
Put your mind at ease that this is just the beginning of better experiences and try to ensure that you are not necessarily making commitments to anyone at this early stage. Take time to learn and familiarise yourself with the whole outdoor process, know your strengths and limits and just enjoy the process.
In conclusion, do not lose yourself in the midst of trying to break from the stereotype. Always remember to compliment yourself, keep good company and do not be a people pleaser.

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