Researchers have found that isolation for long periods of time can change people’s personalities. What isolation can do to a person can have a profound effect. After spending a year and a half in and out of pandemic-related lockdowns, we’re just beginning to find out. Some people may find, for example, that returning to social life isn’t so easy.
New York Times Opinion writer David Brooks pointed out that people tend to become more calm, self-confident and socially aware as they grow older. But experience also shapes us and without social interactions, we are also less likely to be as natural at making small talk and interacting in groups.
For example, we feel connected to others through small acts of kindness and hospitality such as refilling a friend’s water glass at the dinner table. In his Times Op-Ed on the impact of pandemic isolation, Brooks explains how these soft skills and interactions were lost during the pandemic, and we may need to retrain ourselves in how to behave in company. He wrote:
“It’s having a stranger on a plane confide something in you and you being a momentary presence in her life. I used to have my meetings at the same coffee shop in D.C. and all around me I’d overhear conversations between friends offering each other counsel and care.”
How has socializing been for you? What tactics are you using to relearn how to socialize? Have you seen or felt the effects of what isolation can do to a person?