French writer Jean-Paul Sartre once wrote “Hell is other people”, and he was fucking right.
The truth is that human beings can be awful to one another. There are prisons where people have to eat each other to survive in this very year and few need reminder of the human violence of history. There is rape and there is murder.
The truth is also, however, that Heaven and Hell are two sides of one coin; Hell is people, but so is Heaven. The things we learn in this lifetime are likely to be from a human being directly or created by a human being and preserved in time . Our greatest pleasures are other people or their work.
We should be taking risks and holding back from people in moderation—making sure we don’t get stuck in Hell or miss out on Heaven
Instead, there is a tremendous amount of shaming sentiment echoing across social media clickbait sites that no doubt have many people self-criticizing about ‘not being social enough’.
BuzzFeed has several articles designed to court the introvert’s self-hate, the sense of shame that a shy person sees in his or her reflection. The consumer of opinion pieces online is awash in material that shows you that being an extrovert is next to godliness. If being incredibly sociable is the best thing that everyone should be doing, popular advice seems to be locked into the shaming of the people that are going to stay sitting at the party.
Attaining positive gains from people around you is not something that requires you to constantly reach and pull strangers in. If anything, the people who always add others to their lives are the people who also most continuously subtract them.
In the metaphoric poker game of life, if you fold, you return to zero progress and wait for a new start. But if all you do is bluff, you have only played half the game.
In a state of persisting loneliness, maybe all that you have been doing is folding from people, and in this case it is time for a new approach. But also, if you keep playing the game with a weak hand, you will not be able to win for very long. People will catch on that you’re a phony.
So, if one is to wallow about not attaining the dazzling social heights vomited by some writer from a corner of the internet, they could probably spend better energy doing what they actually, deeply want to spend their time doing. Solitude is the method of becoming confident inside your own spirit. If you cannot be comfortable independently, you will never be fully comfortable with others.
With that said, the people who could change us for the better deserve our attention. Some of the most interesting conversations to take place challenge our own ideas and expose us to alternative perspectives which we may come to associate with more deeply than the ones we held before. This is the true benefit of taking the stranger risk, the real reward that many self-proclaimed introverts miss.
Strangers hold unlimited potential in them. Serendipity is fundamentally impossible to hunt down, and instead is the term that defines all eureka moments that ever happened.
Friendship and love are things that some people hunt like a white whale and end up just short of being dragged to their salty deaths by their own harpoon rope. They attract superficial relationships and get existentially tired out. Their trust in others is slowly eroded.
Other times those who go without and choose to live in solitude watch the world go by in happiness.
There is no real binary between introverts and extroverts. Do what you feel but do not wear a uniform; the cure for loneliness is people, and the cure for people is to be alone.