READ: We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. (Romans 15:1)

The circuit breaker has caused many introverts—like me—to come out from our shell.

A friend of mine who is usually holed up at home and will not step out of her house unless absolutely necessary recently told me, “I have been in self-imposed isolation mode since end-February (or maybe a few years ago) . . . I hope to reacquaint myself with the outside world sooner, not later.”

Another who used to enjoy working from home commented, “I can’t wait to go back to the office.”

What’s happening? Why are those among us who have preferred quiet solitude yearning to meet up with friends and colleagues all of a sudden?

Perhaps a controversial social experiment conducted by Roman Emperor Frederick II in the 13th century can shed some light. This medieval monarch wanted to know if there was such a thing as a “natural language”. He reasoned that if infants were to be sheltered from the sound of the human voice, they would eventually speak this natural tongue. So he hired wet nurses sworn to absolute silence. While the babies were cared for, they did not hear a spoken word, nor were they cuddled or shown any expression of love. Within several months, all the babies died.

People aren’t only biological beings; we’re also social beings. Without social interaction, we cannot live. We’re made for relationships, and we need them to survive.

But the irony is this: we crave for relationship when it’s missing, but often shun it or take it for granted when it is in abundance. Why? Is it because it’s so easy to rub each other the wrong way? After all, relationships bring out both the best and worst in us.

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About the Author: Leslie Koh

Leslie Koh spent more than 15 years as a journalist in The Straits Times before moving to Our Daily Bread Ministries. He’s found moving from bad news to good news most rewarding, and still believes that nothing reaches out to people better than a good, compelling story. He likes eating (a lot), travelling, running, editing, and writing.