I’ve never really been an outgoing social person. But that was supposed to change in 2020. After being cooped up in the house for the majority of the last decade, I realized just how much I miss being out in the public.
And being closed-in for so long probably exacerbated a lot of problems I’ve had over the years.
When you’re working from home, you really don’t get the same level of social interaction as you would from a place of business. As odd as it is for me to admit this, I really do miss people in general.
Social Interaction and Working from Home
Let’s set the global pandemic aside for a second and look at working at home from a general sense.
When you’re stuck in the house for extended periods of time, you have less human interaction. For many people, this might sound like paradise. I know for the longest time, I relished the idea of not having to talk directly to people.
But then I started to realize something as time went on. The more disconnected from humanity I became, the worse the isolation felt. This is probably a subconscious motivator behind why I have so many blogs and YouTube channels.
It’s a way to get that human interaction and reach out to others.
Overall, humans are communal creatures. It’s why the majority of us live in overcrowded cities in condensed pockets across the world. Most of us are more comfortable around people, even if it’s crowded and uncomfortable to be around other people.
It’s paradoxical, I know. Even I, the mad hermit in his office who rarely goes out in public, would rather live in the heart of Denver than a rural area.
I have days when I consider getting a part-time job at Caribou Coffee just so I can leave the house for a few hours. It’s not that I need the money, but it’s the social interaction I seem to crave.
My point is that it’s incredibly easy to get cabin fever when working from home. A lot of people don’t realize it, but if you don’t get out and mingle once in a while, it can lead to all kinds of depression and anxiety.
Of course, that also depends on the interaction. Not all engagement is positive, as evident in the world today.
Online Meetings and Social Media are Not the Same
Some of you might point out how you can still be connected with others through online platforms. I mean, I have a Facebook account mostly to keep in touch with family in another state.
But it’s not the same as actually being there in person.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met quite a few awesome people who are solely online acquaintances, coworkers, professional connections, and friends. However, I would rather sit and enjoy their company at an Apple Bees or even a bar.
And I rarely go to bars.
Interacting online in Zoom rooms or on Twitter is just not the same. When you’re working from home, it’s even worse because you’re not even interacting with other employees or customers.
Not Meeting Anyone New
Being stuck in the house working all day doesn’t bode well for meeting new people. Friends, colleagues, relationships…all of these rely on varying degrees of being social.
Doing the WordCamps last year for GreenGeeks made me realize just how much fun I have being in public. Sure, it was work and I was helping potential customers. But it was still interaction from new faces.
And then there is the romantic side of things.
I’m single by choice. I have quite a few things to work out and don’t think it’s fair to drag someone into this mess at the moment. But someday, I think it would be nice to meet a woman who fills my stomach with butterflies.
But that’s not going to happen while working from home and living like an isolated hermit.
I remember shortly after my son came to live with me a couple of months ago, he was kind of depressed. He was sad because he didn’t have a girlfriend. He was 20 at the time, so, what do you expect?
My response to him was, “How do you expect to meet anyone if you don’t leave the house?” Which was really the point since he never went anywhere outside of Walmart to buy food.
Of course, the current state of the world as it is makes meeting anyone new far more difficult. But when the dust settles, it’s perhaps a good idea to get out of the house.
Social Distancing in 2020
Now, let’s bring the pandemic back into perspective. Because of a virus, we are told to be somewhat anti-social to curb its spread. And that’s fine, for the safety of those most affected.
Unfortunately, it’s apparently put too much of a strain on the human populace. Remember, we’re a communal species. Which I suspect is what’s making matters worse and more pronounced today.
Case in point; I want to be more social and be out in public. But when I do, I can barely understand most people because of thick face masks behind a wall of Plexiglass.
In a way, it’s not much different than online meetings: a person you can barely understand behind a screen. There’s been a few times I wanted to ask someone in real life to powercycle his or her router. But, I’m sure the joke would be lost.
Needless to say, it takes away from the experience of being out and about.
So until the current situation calms down, humans have to live with being a bit more anti-social. Which is sad in many ways.
I guess I picked the wrong year to come out of my shell.
Interacting While Working from Home
A lot of people are able to get human interaction while working from home. Well, outside of the self-quarantining of 2020, I mean. Normally, it’s not all that difficult to engage with others outside of the house.
For instance, you could go to meetups, hang out in the park (not creepily, though), or attend a myriad of functions that are always showing up in your Facebook feed.
And these were some of the things I really wanted to do this year. Because I can attest how locking yourself up indoors for more than eight years denies yourself a plethora of opportunities and missed chances of meeting new people.
Who knows, you could have met someone who introduced you to another person who winds up hiring you and tossing more money at you. This happens far more often than you might realize.
I turned down a long list of get-togethers, parties, and meet-ups because I am more comfortable with myself. Nowadays, though, I realize that I should have made more of an effort to engage others.
If someone wants to hang out, invite you to a function, or otherwise leave the house, take them up on the offer.
I suppose this post is more of a way to talk myself into being more social after it’s safe to do so. Not like I needed it since 2020 was supposed to be my year of effort.
Things were going great…for a month.
Do You Plan to Become More Social?
While I am still locked up, and not by choice this time, I still plan on being more social. I haven’t been able to attend some of the online Zoom meetings because of being busy. But, it’s on my list of things to do.
For me, I’m just eagerly awaiting the day when I can see smiling people and engaging. But for now, I guess I’ll just sit and incubate a bit longer in my shell. I just hope everything improves before I rot.