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View Full Version : Do people need people?



enigma
10-23-2006, 12:23 PM
Do you guys think humans crave closeness and intimacy with other people? Or do you think some people are okay by themselves?

wordsmith
10-23-2006, 12:25 PM
Most people do, I think. I actually got into a pretty interesting conversation about exactly this thing with somebody over the weekend. I'll write more in a bit on that, when I can grab a larger pocket of time.

CTGirl
10-23-2006, 12:25 PM
As a species, we desire contact with others. We're not a "lone ranger" type of species, we're more like a "pack animal" type of species.

WorkInProgress
10-23-2006, 12:26 PM
As a general rule, yeah, I firmly believe that people need other people. Some people are more loners than others, but overall, there's a reason why solitary confinement is such a big punishment.

weary
10-23-2006, 12:29 PM
i'd say i'm about 70%, 30% (people, loner).

i think we all need down time once in a while, but overall, we need people. just MHO.

Kitty
10-23-2006, 12:30 PM
99% of people do need other people. Of course, there's always going to be recluses in society or people that want to travel to the most remote part of the world to get away from people (think Chris McCandless from Into the Wild). Those people are the minority, though.

cache
10-23-2006, 12:34 PM
I think its a matter of relativity. Of those people who prefer being by themselves, I'd guess only a tiny number of them would want true isolation. Just think of how many people you interact with everyday, from the clerk at Starbucks, to co-workers. Even if these are not close relationships, I think that very (even minimal) contact is essential.

Kitty
10-23-2006, 12:38 PM
I also think there's a difference between choosing to be isolated and being forced into isolation. Knowin you can always re-enter society is different than being completely thrown out from it.

wordsmith
10-23-2006, 12:43 PM
True hermits are extremely rare. The vast majority of people do have a need to not be isolated. Everyone needs temporary solitude, but most people don't prefer it the majority of the time.

enigma
10-23-2006, 12:44 PM
I dated someone in the past who said they didn't really 'need' a social life... not sure I really buy it because he ended up being one of the most affectionate people I have ever dated.

CTGirl
10-23-2006, 12:46 PM
True hermits are extremely rare. The vast majority of people do have a need to not be isolated. Everyone needs temporary solitude, but most people don't prefer it the majority of the time.

Agreed, and anyone who is truly a hermit - having no contact with other human beings - is going to be someone who suffers from some sort of phsychological disorder. Healthy people need other people around.

weary
10-23-2006, 01:38 PM
I dated someone in the past who said they didn't really 'need' a social life... not sure I really buy it because he ended up being one of the most affectionate people I have ever dated.

yes, but social and affectionate are not necessarily the same thing. i can sort of see where he was coming from...

WorkInProgress
10-23-2006, 01:39 PM
yes, but social and affectionate are not necessarily the same thing. i can sort of see where he was coming from...

I agree that they're not really the same thing, and I can even get the point that I think he was trying to make. But both require other people.

SmilesSoSweet
10-23-2006, 01:40 PM
I tend to be on the loner and homebody type, but by all means it doesn't mean that I don't need people. I can't be isolated for such a period of time without having any contact with anyone.

I think that's what makes us different from other animals - that we do need to have people around though the number of people or how often you need people will vary from person to person.

Chameleon
10-23-2006, 01:45 PM
I think it varies from person to person. Some people like being around other people all the time, some can get by with minimal interaction. I like my friends but I would go nuts if I had to be around them ALL THE TIME. I've had to do some soul searching recently to figure out a balance between taking time for my self and doing my own thing and spending time with my friends. I'm still trying to form boundaries so I don't get too wrapped up in the drama going on in my friends' lives but not to the point of giving up on them entirely and at the same time living my own life fully.

wordsmith
10-23-2006, 01:52 PM
Okay, re: needing people. I was talking with my mom about this over the weekend, because she works with autistic kids - children who are quite literally as isolated as it's possible to be, because even in the middle of a crowd, or with thier families, or their classmates, they are alone...they focus inward and retreat into themselves, away from outside stimulation as much as possible. I was asking her why one of the kids she works with, a 14 year old boy, goes through regular junior high classes, rather than all individualized work in a contained classroom. It seems that he's too bothered by all the flurry of regular school activity around him, it overstimulates him. She said, "His parents want him to be around as many people as possible, they feel he's isolated enough within himself."

I don't think that most humans are wired to prefer isolation, that is, unless they aren't mentally or emotonally healthy. That's why you get recluse serial killers, etc. It's also why in primitive cultures (and some not so primitive), SHUNNING PEOPLE is the worst form of punishment there is...being excluded and isolated from the group is so affecting to people that in extreme cases, it's downright psychological warfare. On a psych level, people can be so affected by feelings of isolation, not relating to others that they snap and do horrible things.

Solitary confinement in prisons? Prisons in general? They're built around the premise that isolation from society is one of the gravest punishments there is, the thing that can break your spirit the worst. I went to Alcatraz once, and the guided tour made note that The Rock was especially cruel, because the inmates could hear, through the windows, people having fun and exciting nightlife every night, across the water of San Francisco Bay. But they were isolated from that world.

Think about kid cruelty. Excluding a peer, isolating them from normal interaction wtih other peers, social isolation, is a powerful, powerful thing. It does a lot of damage, because a great deal of our worth and essence of life is tied up in how we relate to other people.

Kitty
10-23-2006, 01:56 PM
It must be horrible for people with autism. D's sister is autistic and it's sad because she does have the realization that she's different and that she doesn't understand and that she can't communicate the way others do.

and1grad
10-23-2006, 01:58 PM
Okay, re: needing people. I was talking with my mom about this over the weekend, because she works with autistic kids - children who are quite literally as isolated as it's possible to be, because even in the middle of a crowd, or with thier families, or their classmates, they are alone...they focus inward and retreat into themselves, away from outside stimulation as much as possible. I was asking her why one of the kids she works with, a 14 year old boy, goes through regular junior high classes, rather than all individualized work in a contained classroom. It seems that he's too bothered by all the flurry of regular school activity around him, it overstimulates him. She said, "His parents want him to be around as many people as possible, they feel he's isolated enough within himself."

I don't think that most humans are wired to prefer isolation, that is, unless they aren't mentally or emotonally healthy. That's why you get recluse serial killers, etc. It's also why in primitive cultures (and some not so primitive), SHUNNING PEOPLE is the worst form of punishment there is...being excluded and isolated from the group is so affecting to people that in extreme cases, it's downright psychological warfare. On a psych level, people can be so affected by feelings of isolation, not relating to others that they snap and do horrible things.

Solitary confinement in prisons? Prisons in general? They're built around the premise that isolation from society is one of the gravest punishments there is, the thing that can break your spirit the worst. I went to Alcatraz once, and the guided tour made note that The Rock was especially cruel, because the inmates could hear, through the windows, people having fun and exciting nightlife every night, across the water of San Francisco Bay. But they were isolated from that world.

Think about kid cruelty. Excluding a peer, isolating them from normal interaction wtih other peers, social isolation, is a powerful, powerful thing. It does a lot of damage, because a great deal of our worth and essence of life is tied up in how we relate to other people.
TOTALLY agree. I dont believe that ANYONE is wired to be completely alone for long periods of time. Like CTgirl said, we're a pack/social animal.

WorkInProgress
10-23-2006, 02:02 PM
If anyone has doubts, I would seriously recommend reading about hostage/POW situations generally.

Kitty
10-23-2006, 02:03 PM
My first boyfriend ever claimed he didn't need people and all he needed was his computer and video games. I guess he didn't realize he was using his computer to chat to people and was playing role playing games w/ his virtual friends. :googly:

wordsmith
10-23-2006, 02:04 PM
Of course! You're STILL being social, interacting with others. It's just your chosen medium of being social.

and1grad
10-23-2006, 02:11 PM
My first boyfriend ever claimed he didn't need people and all he needed was his computer and video games. I guess he didn't realize he was using his computer to chat to people and was playing role playing games w/ his virtual friends. :googly:
I used to be the same way. Not video games but I played a ton of pickup basketball at the gym and would be annoyed if not many people were there. Definitely did/do the IM thing a lot tho.

wordsmith
10-23-2006, 02:37 PM
And that's the thing. A lot of us are on IM a lot (and people younger than us, even more so, prob). I never even IMed in my LIFE until I got a job that induced me to move to a place by myself where I was relatively socially isolated. People do what they have to do to get the human interaction they need to get by.