You can be a different person after the pandemic

After all, the person who emerges from quarantine doesn’t have to be the same old you. Scientists say that people can change their personalities well into adulthood. And what better time for transformation than now, when no one has seen you for a year, and might have forgotten what you were like in the first place?…

Dr. Wiseman writes that George Kelly, a prominent 1950s psychologist, went so far as to ask his clients to perform “roles” that represented personality traits they would like to adopt. A person who wanted to be more extroverted might sign up to speak in front of people or go to bars and talk to strangers. After a few weeks, many people began to think of the roles as their real selves. “Many of Kelly’s clients reported that the new role seemed as though it had always been their real self,” Dr. Wiseman writes, “and that it was only now that they were becoming fully aware of it.”

Geraldine Downey, a psychology professor at Columbia University who studies social rejection, has similarly found that socially excluded people who want to become part of a group are better off if they assume that other people will like them. They should behave as if they are the popular kid. Going into social interactions expecting the worst, as many socially anxious people do, tends to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.