This noon, accidentally, I had a very interesting discussion about the human need for socialization with my colleague who is 99% introvert according to the 16 personalities test.
Without a packaged lunch like many others, every day, at lunchtime, I have to struggle with two questions: what should I eat and should I eat alone or eat with others. For the first question, I decided to have my usual lunch combo which includes rice, soup, ice tea, and fruit as dessert at my favorite restaurant. With the second one, I was hesitating. I asked my colleagues around to see if anyone likes to eat with me and the answer, as always, was: “Yes, I would love to but could you wait a little bit for A, B, and C, and then we will go together?”. I turned around and talked with my closest colleague, the one I mentioned above, who is not only my colleague but also my very good friend that I often discuss with so many things that I have observed in life: “Everything has pros and cons, right? If I eat by myself, I can go immediately without waiting but in return, I will be a little bit lonely. On the other hand, if I want to eat with others, I have to wait. Why do people need to be socialized?” He answered me: “I do not know why since I do not need to be socialized.” And that is the start of our argument.
As an ambivert who enjoys being alone but also feels good to be surrounded by people, I believe that everyone will need to be socialized because, in the end, we cannot be happy if we are alone. We need family, friends, spouses, and many others to share with, to talk with, or just simply feel safe and peaceful by having somebody by our sides. I agree that sometimes, we need a private space to think about ourselves or recharge our minds but we absolutely need the time with others. As humans, we need to be listened to, cared for, and loved. Therefore, we need to be socialized. My colleague, on the other hand, thinks contrastingly to me. He believes that not everyone needs socialization. Being or not being socialized is an option, not a demand. Just like him, he could be very fine and happy to be alone without interacting with anyone and he used to try that situation within a whole week. It doesn’t mean that he would not communicate and interact with others. He still does that every day (personally, I think he is very good at communicating though he said he doesn’t like it) but it is his choice, not his need. He chooses to be socialized on some occasions as he knows that it would be better for him to be and chooses not to be socialized when he feels unnecessary.
This way of thinking surprised me so I challenged him by asking: “How could you know that is your choice, not your need. Is it possible that you could not differentiate between those two so you assumed so? Actually, you are lonely sometimes and the act of your socialization is the result of that loneliness?”. He said: “No, I am fully aware of myself and know what I like and do not like, what I did and what am I doing? I believe that if any person cannot be happy just by staying alone, he will never be happy by staying with anyone. You think my opinion is odd just because it is different from yours and you may think my argument is wrong just because it is out of your understanding. However, though it is not like what you think, it doesn’t mean that my thinking and lifestyle are an exception and not existed.”
What he said makes me think again about the way I think about people. Possibly, it is not appropriate to think that as humans, we have to socialize with others. Instead, it is more intriguing to believe that it is ordinary for anyone to choose the way they live even though their ways are far from the majority expectation.