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Introverts quietly mourn the end of Singapore's circuit breaker

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For some Singaporean youths, being told to stay home comes as a welcome break from the stressors of daily life.

If you're like me and have been having a hard time staying home due to the COVID-19 situation, it may seem strange that other people are actually enjoying this period of physical isolation. 

As we eagerly await the announcement of Singapore's eventual exit from Phase 1, when we can finally interact with people outside our families, some youths are saying that they'll miss staying home.

Youth.SG spoke to three such youths to find out why they will miss life under the circuit breaker.

No more forced workplace interactions

Jasmin Tan, who is interning at a multinational corporation, found that an unintended benefit of the circuit breaker was that she was no longer being subjected to office small talk.

The 21-year-old said: "In an office environment, you would bump into your colleagues and there is always a lot of awkward small talk which can get tiring at times. I'm glad I don't have to deal with that anymore.

"Work meetings now are just about work, there is no pressure to interact."

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Workplace interactions can sometimes be a source of stress for introverts.
PHOTO CREDIT: MIMI THIAN VIA UNSPLASH

Human resource assistant Sharon, 24, shared that in her regular life before the circuit breaker, she was often placed into many uncomfortable social situations she couldn't escape.

"Forced social interactions like going out to lunch with my colleagues is something that used to cause me a bit of distress daily," said the self-declared introvert, who didn't want to reveal her last name.

"I'm not the most social person and these kinds of interactions tend to tire me out even more. I'd much rather spend my lunch time alone to recharge," she said. 

Socialising on one's own terms

Tharshwin Thanaskodi, a self-proclaimed homebody, appreciates not feeling obliged to go out to meet people.

"Thanks to the circuit breaker, I no longer have to make constant excuses to avoid hanging out with friends and acquaintances all the time," said the 23-year-old.

The National University of Singapore undergraduate, who stayed in a hall on campus, said: "Something I struggled with a lot in hall was being pressured to attend the large gatherings with other students who I am not close to."

"My social battery tends to get depleted quite easily. Having to attend many of these events can really exhaust me," he said.

The ban of large gatherings even before the circuit breaker made it easier for Tharshwin to avoid such big social interactions.

introverts-miss-circuit-breaker-hall-gatherings
Staying on campus often means being invited to large gatherings that can get tiresome to attend, especially for introverts.
PHOTO CREDIT: THARSHWIN THANASKODI

All three youths we spoke to also agreed that the quality of their friendships hasn't worsened over the circuit breaker, as platforms like Zoom and Houseparty allowed them to spend quality time with their friends.

"Although I do miss going out for meals with my close friends, I have been able to talk to them frequently over text and FaceTime, so I am getting the social interaction that I need even in physical isolation," said Sharon.

Avoiding the pains of public transport

Sharon also dislikes having to squeeze with peak-hour crowds on public transport every day.

"I'm a bit of a germaphobe, so with the virus going around, I was a little stressed out when I still had to take public transport to get to my office," said Sharon, who now works from home.

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Long commutes and squeezing with others on public transport are unpleasant experiences that many could avoid while working from home.
PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/NIGEL CHIN 

Jasmin shared that her current work from home arrangement meant that she could save almost four hours a day previously spent on travelling and getting dressed up for work.

"My interactions with my family used to be very quick and functional during the work week. Now there is more time to have deeper and more meaningful conversations with them," said Jasmin.

Looking forward to the economy reopening

As much as they miss staying home, these youths are looking forward to the reopening of places they used to frequent as Singapore transitions out of the circuit breaker in three phases.

Sharon said: "I wouldn't say I will be disappointed that the circuit breaker is ending, I'm looking forward to having my usual comforts like shopping and eating out again.

"I will miss the peace and quiet of home. I am not looking forward to returning to the franticness of my daily working life."

Nonetheless, the circuit breaker was a good break for introverts to recharge and have greater control over their time.

Tharshwin said: "The circuit breaker has been like a reset for me almost, I didn't have to be pressured into doing things I didn't want to do, and everything went at my own pace."

BANNER AND TEASER PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTH.SG/NIGEL CHIN

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