This is my absolute favorite xkcd comic because it requires no words and yet is so poignant and true. This is me. Not all the time, but often enough that the reminder hurts. And also heals, because it tells me I'm not the only one.
I feel it a bit even with friends. I'm always pleased (and pleasantly surprised!) when my roommates or friends say they missed me. This last week after coming back from home, I noticed a little post-it on my roommates desk, sitting upright on one of the shelves where it would be easily visible. It was an encouraging note I had written to her last semester to tell her not to stress too much (which she does, and has been doing the last week). I don't think it was up there the week before, but it certainly made me feel loved, that it had made her feel better and she had kept the note.
Humans have this need for social interaction. We're social animals. I like being alone, I like having time to myself to read, solve puzzles, learn new things, try to understand myself (which sometimes includes writing these blog posts).
Still, I have phases of needing to be with other people and being okay by myself (these are relatively long-term moods, by the way, lasting a week or two, not a couple hours or days). I'm not antisocial, I have plenty of friends, and I have some very good friends that I am very close to. Still, there are times when everyone is busy, and despite knowing and understanding that, when I'm in the first mood, I feel loneliness keenly.
Even when I reach out to sites like Facebook or other online communities, it doesn't feel like enough. I'm not a big fan of talking on the phone, I prefer face-to-face contact, and the same applies here. I would much rather talk to someone in person if I could, not because I don't like the internet (on the contrary, I spend too much time here, and I am a college student), but because the interaction is not enough.
In the second mood, I am content with myself regardless of what others are doing. Online communities are fine, I'm okay if my friends are busy, because although I would be happy spending time with them, I'm also happy spending time by myself. I try to strive towards this mood most of the time, because it's so much more relaxing, but sometimes I slip.
A while ago, I read a blog post by Zuska on why we're afraid to be alone, and it resonated with me. I'm not a big fan of watching TV (at least since I came to college) except as a social activity with friends. The internet, however, is a very good friend, and I think that has affected my ability to be alone. It just so happened that I read the article at a time when I was trying for the second mood. I was trying to spend my alone time productively, looking at myself and who I am. The article resonated with me.
Despite my need for social interaction, I improve myself the most when I am alone, and that was something I had been neglecting. Well, I will neglect it no more. I am a work in progress, there's always something I can improve on.