Tonight I watched an episode of Gilmore Girls. In this episode, Rory (a teenage prep school student, for those of you who don't know) was being told by the headmaster of her school that if she wants to get into a good college, she would have to be more social. No more reading a book at lunch while listening to music.
The catch of it all was that Rory did have friends. She had close relationships, but just because it wasn't obvious to everyone, they assumed she was a loner. I thought I couldn't relate to Rory any more than I already did, but I can't get over the relevance of this episode. Since starting (and finishing) my first semester, I've talked about perspectives on this with lots of people. I remember a guy friend of mine saying "do you ever look at some of the people eating alone in the dining halls? It's like you can just tell that they don't have any friends. They look around at other people, and they're so sad."
After that conversation, I got a little paranoid. I mean, I eat alone sometimes. That doesn't mean that I don't have friends. Sometimes I like to eat and read a book, because I enjoy it. I don't understand why our culture places such a big deal on always showing off that we have friends. We live in such an extroverted society. If you're alone sometimes, you're automatically labeled a loner. What's wrong with enjoying a little bit of time a day by yourself?
On the surface, it seemed as if Rory didn't have any friends because none of her closest friends went to her school, a complete misjudgment. I have friends in college, but I don't spend every waking moment with them. I don't need to eat with a big group of people to feel like I have friends, because I do. I have decent social skills, as do many other people who have probably at some point in their life been labelled a loner because they happen to not always appear in public with their friends.
The point of all of this is that we shouldn't be so quick to judge a person's social life based on what we see. We don't know their life. I think, as people mature, they start to care less about their perceptions of others, and more on whether or not they enjoy spending their time with a person.