I just came a across this article Why go out? by Sheila Heti and it struck me real hard. It's about the reasons behind socializing and whether or not we can live without it. I'm not going to analyze or reiterate the points in the article. I just want to share my personal thoughts about the analogy of smoking and socializing which really captured my interest.
"Socializing is like smoking" - that's basically what the author wants to convey to us. Smokers brainwash themselves into thinking that smoking is able to help them in some way in life. With that they can continue smoking and soon become heavily dependent on cigarette. Socializers are very much similar. They go out to seek companionship, to satisfy their desire for love, sex, empathy, self-confidence and so on. Some say hanging out with other people is the best (for some it's the only) way to overcome bad things in life. And soon, just like smokers, when anything bad comes up, they seek other people to help ease it out. They become socially dependent. And then socializing becomes like an addiction. They just can't have enough of it.
The analogy is a bit extreme you may say. Socializing is not as harmful to your body as smoking. It can sometimes truly help you solve problems, not like smoking whose pleasure is always temporary. However, the point here is that socializing can become addictive. It makes you socially dependent and when time comes when you don't have enough supply of the the "human drug", you'll be miserable. This addiction can easily harm you just like cigarette though not directly. You can only feel it when you're left alone away from human interaction, love, and companionship.
Let's imagine a heavy smoker being moved to an island where there's totally no supply of cigarette. He'll still be able to survive, yes, but surely it'll be the most terrible time of his life. Similarly, there are often times in life when we have to move to places where familiar faces and human companionship are a luxury. And we must learn how to enjoy being alone in order to get through.
So why not start now? If we weren't dissatisfied at the first place, we wouldn't need smoking or socializing to bring satisfaction. This doesn't mean quitting socializing like quitting cigarette, but it's ok to reduce its impact to keep a good balance. I've been practicing spending time alone and enjoying myself without human interaction. It was hard to struggle at first, but when I got used to it, I felt like in heaven. Spending time along brings the peace of mind that I couldn't find when being with other people. My self-confidence and self-awareness also increase after getting rid of the social preasure and focusing on personal happiness. At the moment, I only view socializing as an addon to make life more colorful, not the main source of pleasure.
I highly recommend everyone to try the same thing. If you can, you're doing yourself a great favor. Start by taking some time away from others and do things that make you feel happy when doing alone. Take up a hobby, a personal interest, or just a small thing that can occupy you for a while. Do it until you are truly comfortable with yourself, and then you're ready for a life of independence.