People Who Need People
Avoiding Isolation and Loneliness
© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
from the ADD/EFD Comorbids Series – part 1 of 3
Human beings are social creatures. We are social not just in the trivial sense that we like company, and not just in the obvious sense that we each depend on others. We are social in a more elemental way: simply to exist as a normal human being requires interaction with other people. ~ Atul Gawande
Problems before Solutions
As early as 350 B.C, Aristotle described a human being as “by nature a social animal.” For most of the time since, that idea has been considered little more than “anecdotal evidence” by most of the scientific community, since there were few double-blind, placebo controlled, replicated and journal published studies to “verify” the observation according to the rules of the scientific method.
Until verified, according to the science field, no idea has been “proven,” so may or may not, in fact, be true.
Related Post: Science Confirms What we have Always Known – again
The Wikipedia article on the Scientific Method informs us that the Oxford English Dictionary defines it as “a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.” 
Related Post: Science and Sensibility – the illusion of proof
Meanwhile, the fields of sales and marketing, psychology & counseling, self-help (and relatively recently, even the science field itself), have taken a serious look at Aristotle’s observation, proposing theories and “proofs” in their attempts to explain why something so obvious might really be so – and how we can use it to our advantage, individually and as a species.
As scientists explore the workings of bodily functions at the nerve and cellular level, they are confirming that loneliness – the absence of social connection – is linked to a wide array of bodily ailments in addition to the mental conditions typically thought to be associated.
Easy to see with Extroverts
According to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI], based on psychology but considered to be in the self-help field, the energy flow of the gregarious extrovert is directed outward, toward other people. The MBTI goes on to propose that an extrovert’s energy flow is recharged through interaction with others.
It is said that extroverts generally express great happiness in the company of other people, and are at risk of falling victim to depression should they spend long periods of time without the company of a circle of friends.
But what about Introverts?
Supposedly, while extroverts get their energy from spending time with people, introverts recharge and get their energy from spending time alone.
However, even the majority of people who consider themselves introverts would find it difficult to impossible to navigate life totally alone.
“It’s a mistake to think that most humans prefer the solitary life that so much of modern life imposes on us. We are most comfortable when we’re connected, sharing strong emotions and stories . . . “
~ Nick Morgan for Forbes.
Jeff Kay, Modern Renaissance Man / Quora Top Writer 2015/16, has come up with a wonderful way of explaining it:
“. . . introverts are not an exception, just a variation on the theme. We function just like any other human in society. The more extreme cases might be seen as the odd duck at times, but they are still just as social as anyone else, just with a different set of rules.”
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