I have met several people who seem to be curious if I love being by myself or do I play well with others. I have been asked this several times, especially by persons I have just met. And maybe they just would like to quickly know me or understand where I am coming from. Or maybe they’d like to know if they can work with me or not. I would not really know why they oddly seem to ask me the same question since I don’t ask them why they bothered to ask me in the first place.
But for a moment, let me try to see which one I really am - a loner or a socializer?
If being a socializer means being with people, making new friends, carrying a good conversation or effectively working with them, then I can say I am a socializer. Since childhood, I have been raised by my parents to make friends in our neighborhood; know my classmates, teachers and other school officials; participate in group work; join organizations, etc., etc., etc.
Yes, I had my share of taking up a sport for the university, competing in contests, representing the student body, and speaking for the youth sector. And in my time going through all these, I have made friends and acquaintances with different people from different places, many of whom remain true friends up to now.
In my later years, my professional experience gave me more opportunities to be with more people with huge variation of backgrounds. As a journalist, I was able to interview a couple of presidents, several senators and congressmen, governors, mayors, generals, as well as bus drivers, market vendors, informal settlers, activists, farmers, soldiers, teachers, laborers and convicted criminals.
In all my work experiences, I also had to work with different kinds of people coming from various backgrounds to accomplish aspects of my jobs which are required by my editor, my newschief, my station manager, the network, etc.
I think all these things are proof enough that I can work well with people and get the job done; I can socialize with different kinds of people regardless of their social, economic or even political background; and I can nurture friendships and maintain acquaintances with people easily.
So that makes me a socializer? I am actually not sure about that.
Why? because I also love solitude.
I cherish moments when I am by my lonesome on a beach with nothing but the sea breeze on my face, siping a glass of fruit juice with no one else on the sand but me.
I like going on trips by myself, trekking or blazing a trail in some mountain or forest, later camping out and looking at the stars at night by a warm bonfire.
I enjoy being able to spend a whole day doing nothing but reading books I have not yet finished reading. And later writing down my realizations after reading a chapter or two.
At work, I relish being given a task with blanket authority to get the job done by every means necessary. I spent a couple years covering crimes at night with nothing but a cameraman and driver-who also kept to themselves whenever we are at the station because they knew I had to prepare our stories for the local news cast as well as the national news programs.
I remember how my colleagues back then would exclaim “You’re alive!” whenever they’d chance by me at the newsroom at the end of my shift. And that was after several months of not seeing them despite the fact that we actually work in the same newsroom.
Yes, I can also work alone and in fact, there are situations where I prefer I do. But do all these preferences for solitude mean that I am a loner? Maybe so. And if I am considered more as such, then let it be.
But I think I am comfortable either way. And that is the answer to the question: I enjoy being with others as I also enjoy being by myself. Given a choice though, I would still prefer to be alone.