My introversion is strong, so I feel the need to spend time alone to recharge my batteries. That does not mean I hate people. That is my elitism and narcissism.
I do recognize the benefits of meeting new people, especially the complete stranger phenomenon described in Crossing Paths:
Sometimes a complete stranger can answer our questions and give us insight with an inspirational direction.
For instance, the person who posted this is a woman I met at a friend’s cocktail party. She was talking with another friend about something to which I offered my experiences which she found amazingly helpful. Sometimes such an encounter helps connect dots for myself. I have quite a collection of such people in email contacts (pre-Facebook) and throughout social media.
Conferences are a great way to locate such people and professionally grow. Though anywhere one finds like-minded people headed in the same direction makes finding such people easy. Truly random encounters such as airports, restaurants, or grocery store are even more special.
I often use my time out in public alone to read. My brain often attempts to multitask by listening for terms of interest. When I hear something, I shift to focusing on the conversation. And, if I feel up to it, then I will interject something. The other day, I was waiting on my car and overheard to graduate students talking about a class and one stumbled around why she thought maybe the professor seemed unprepared was due to it being summer. The other was not getting it, so I simply said “Summer 2 is 8 weeks when the Fall is 15 weeks.”
The real point of “Crossing Paths” is that negative people make us stronger because “love, selflessness, and kindness” for difficult people grows us. That’s true too.