How Covid Can Change Your Personality
Distancing and isolation shaped who we are.
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I don’t know about you, but I’ve found the latest stage of the pandemic hard in its own distinct way. The cumulative effect of a year of repetition, isolation and stress has induced a lassitude — a settling into the familiar, with feelings of vulnerability. The shock of a year ago has been replaced by a sluggish just-getting-to-the-end.
I’ve got the same scattered memory issues many others in this Groundhog Day life describe: walking into a room and wondering why I went there; spending impressive amounts of time looking for my earbuds; forgetting the names of people and places outside my Covid bubble.
My extroversion muscles have atrophied while my introversion muscles are bulging. If you tracked me on a personality chart, I suppose “liveliness” would be down and “reserved” would be up; “carefree” down and “anxious” up.
Which gets me wondering how a year-plus of social distancing has changed our personalities. The good news is that personality traits are pretty stable. They change, but gradually over decades. In normal times, they generally change for the better. Research shows that most people get more calm, self-confident and socially sensitive as they mature.