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Lives in Isolation: For extroverts, it's especially hard

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Jaymi Wilson poses for a portrait on Tuesday, April 21, 2020, at her home in Rochester. (Traci Westcott / twestcott@postbulletin.com)
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Jaymi Wilson is a project manager in her mid-40s who lives and works in Rochester. She finds value and importance in socializing. While most people might be finding social distancing difficult, it might be even more challenging for people who fit her personal profile – extroverts who live alone.

Jaymi is a true extrovert. She’s often heavily involved in local theatrical productions on weeknights, and on weekends.

A Fish Out of Water

"I would be at rehearsal most nights if COVID-19 wasn’t happening. I miss the people, having that constant interaction with people who are working towards the same goal -- that creative outlet."

So now, with no theater work and the loss of in-person community, she’s focusing on what she can do at home.

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"I’m trying to commit to doing something productive every day -- I signed up for a virtual project management conference, so most nights I try to watch at least one video from that -- and it makes me feel like I’m working towards something. While I have this extra time, I’m doing projects around the house, simple things; cleaning out drawers and those tasks that you often just don’t get to when you are so busy."

She’s also learning new ways to socialize.

The Language of Virtual Happy Hour

"We have a group that gets together Friday nights. We do a virtual happy hour. Last week we were on it from 5 to 9, and people come and go -- at one point we had nine or 10 people on there, and then at the end there were five of us."

Jaymi says one big difference between a virtual and an in-person happy hour, is the loss of intimacy.

"If everybody is together, you’ll spin off into one-on-one, in-depth conversations whereas this is everybody all the time -- you don’t have that same opportunity to really connect with individual people on that personal level."

It’s very casual. People step in and step out.

"People will go and make another drink or fix some dinner ... My friend sets an end time, but it may go longer than that. Five is a really nice number because you can see everybody."

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One the toughest things about COVID-19, she's found, is not talking about it. 

It "gets to a point of just being overwhelming. It’s on all of our social media, I don’t watch TV." Happily for her, it's not on Netflix.

The Positives Gleaned

She says social isolation has led to some renewed connections.

 "It has been interesting, I’ve found that there are certain people I connect with more now than I normally do, because we’re both less busy and we both recognize the importance of having those connections," she says. "We’re being more conscientious about reaching out and getting people together -- and by together, most of that has been with video."

Once this is over, Jaymi says she will appreciate connecting in-person with people even more.

"I would hug everybody. I’ve told a couple of my friends to watch out because when this is all over, I’m coming for you."

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Lives of Isolation

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