Members in the Media
From: The New York Times

Yes, Even Introverts Can Be Lonely Right Now

APS Member/Author: Adam Grant

As an introvert, I thought I was immune to loneliness. I’ve been working remotely as long as I’ve been working. I enjoy the comfort of writing at home, the efficiency of not commuting and the freedom from interruptions by extroverted colleagues.

But in my first year of graduate school, I was struggling to get my papers accepted by journals — and to feel accepted by my new classmates. In the middle of the cold, gray Michigan winter, my roommates went home for the holidays, and I felt completely isolated.

It’s often said that extroverts get their energy from people, while introverts are energized by solitude. The data show that’s a myth. In a pair of studies, people rated their energy hourly or weekly. Extroverts felt more energized when they were being talkative and outgoing — but introverts did, too. Then, in an experiment, people were randomly assigned to act like extroverts or introverts in a group discussion. Acting extroverted energized even the introverts.

Being introverted has nothing to do with liking alone time. It turns out that the desire for solitude comes from a different trait altogether: independence.

The good news is that it doesn’t take a village to fight loneliness. My colleague Sigal Barsade has found that it takes just one friend to feel less isolated at work. It doesn’t require a long interaction, either. My mentor Jane Dutton has spent years studying high-quality connections, and she finds that even brief encounters can leave us feeling seen. As Dr. Dutton put it recently on WorkLife, “Forty seconds of interaction — a positive, caring interaction — has measurable impacts on both people.”

Read the whole story: The New York Times

More of our Members in the Media >


APS regularly opens certain online articles for discussion on our website. Effective February 2021, you must be a logged-in APS member to post comments. By posting a comment, you agree to our Community Guidelines and the display of your profile information, including your name and affiliation. Comments will be moderated. For more information, please see our Community Guidelines.

Please login with your APS account to comment.