Disclaimer: Authors Courtney and Nathan Kessler-Jeffrey are in no way relationship experts. They are not therapists. They have BEEN to a lot of therapy. (They find it’s an essential part of maintaining a healthy relationship. You’ll probably understand why when you finish reading.)
Second disclaimer: It should be noted that Courtney and Nathan ARE both professional playwrights. That’s why this Hot Topic is written as a dialogue.
Nathan: I think I’m just going to add disclaimers as we go.
Courtney: That works.
Nathan: So, you’re an introvert.
Courtney: Very much so.
Nathan: And I’m an extrovert.
Courtney: That’s an understatement.
Nathan: What advice would you give to your fellow introverts who are currently under quarantine with their extrovert partners?
Courtney: Step 1: Invest in headphones.
Third disclaimer: This Hot Topic is sponsored by headphones.
Courtney’s first disclaimer: I was made to take off my headphones to write this article.
Nathan: Ok, what’s Step 2?
Courtney: Step 2: Extroverts get energy from being around other people. That can be exhausting for an introvert if they’re the only person around. So I recommend finding ways of getting your extrovert to interact with literally anyone else. But in a way that makes it sound like you’re taking care of their mental health.
Nathan: Can you give us an example?
Courtney: “Nathan, why don’t you call up your brothers and do a video happy hour together?”
Nathan: That’s a good idea!
Courtney: I’m just thinking of you. Step 3: Sleep in. Your extrovert will probably entertain themselves for hours before you get out of bed.
Courtney’s second disclaimer: However, when you DO get out of bed, they will be VERY anxious to talk to you.
Courtney: What’s your advice for all the extroverts trying to take care of introverts?
Nathan: Give them cheese.
Courtney: I think that might just be me.
Nathan: Cups of tea?
Courtney: That’s better.
Nathan: I think I’m getting the hang of this. Wait ‘til I tell everybody!
Courtney: Sure, Nathan… once we’re out of quarantine.
Nathan: What about exercise and getting out of the house?
Courtney: Well, there’s a balance, right? You and I are in this together, and we have to take care of each other, but also take care of ourselves. Exercise and getting out of the house are great for you. And I will do them with you sometimes, because we’re partners, and we’re in this together. But sometimes, I need you to go do your thing so I can have introvert time.
Nathan: What is ‘introvert time?’
Courtney: Introvert time is time to myself. Quiet time to watch a show, read a book, work on a project. By myself. It recharges my metaphorical batteries.
Nathan: Whereas I get my energy from being around people.
Courtney: Exactly. One of the things I try to do for you is keep you from thinking about how lonely you are. Or how long it’s been since you’ve seen our friends. Or how many days you’ve been in quarantine.
Nathan: Approximately 427 years at this point.
Nathan: That’s what it feels like.
Courtney: I’m sure it does.
Nathan: And I try to create space for your introvert time.
Courtney: If the golden rule is ‘Treat others the way you want to be treated,’ it might be better to think of the platinum rule during marital quarantine as: ‘Treat others the way THEY want to be treated.’ Because something that helps you during Stay Home Stay Safe won’t always be helpful for me and vice versa.
Nathan: Yeah! That’s a good point. And probably a solid place to wrap it up, don’t you think?
Final disclaimer: it WAS a solid place to wrap it up.
Courtney: Maybe. Anything else you want to tell people?
Nathan: It was fun writing this with you.
Courtney: I love you, handsome. (putting her headphones back on)
Nathan: Aha! It’s introvert time!