Okay, I want to preface this with one thing. Whenever you begin talking on a topic like this, people automatically assume you're some kind of asocial bitter freak. So, before you make your mind about this, just clean the thought out and read what is actually written. Not all people function along the "I'm feeling something drastically opposite to what I'm saying" - aka, no, I'm not crying myself to sleep every night cuz my fragile soul can't take the loneliness. It's not even ABOUT me. It's about the tendency.
We humans are collectivist creatures, that's undeniable. However, technological and societal progress created a situation when we're not as dependent on others to you know, pick out bugs out of our hair - we can use some contraption for the role. Technically, we're no longer need to remained as closely knitted as we once were. Maybe it's evolution, who knows. Despite this, however, we are wracked with neurosis based on our societal and hierarchical place in world. We are very co-dependant - and this behaviour is just further perpetuated by different institutions. Primarily economics, of course.
If we look at things close enough, then we would see that all human behaviour inevitably boils down to impressing others, and thusly, adding them to your own monkey-group. The monkey-group is necessary to fend off any competitors and enemies. Biologically, we're made to feel safer in groups, around like-minded individuals. Strength is always in numbers, it's natural and undeniable.
But - less and less in our current times.
What somewhat bothers me, is the warping of psyche in the modern society that takes this natural and instinctual need to some unhealthy borders. It seems that everyone nowadays is preoccupied at getting the most friends, the most followers. There are people who can't stand being alone. There are people who feel incomplete and inaccomplished without having a constant gratification by others. People, kids, get treated for a plethora of newly researched mental disorders that supposedly prohibit them from easily forming close relationships with others.
This is a hysteria getting a grip on so many - if you lack an N amount of friends, you're invalid, you're somehow broken and misshappen.
The point I'm trying to make is that it's unhealthy. People in the 18th and 19th century didn't have these global, heartcrushing problems. A gentleman was supposed to have 1, 2 close friends and maybe a few more good partners, a small gang - but not a crowd behind them. People have been thoroughly evaluated, carefully picked out and the word "friend" actually meant something as a solid proof of insurance and trust.
But even more so, there's the question of self-importance and self-reliance. What happened to self-actualization pursuits? What happened to people actually trying to self-improve, to leave their mark, reach some goal that's not connected to well, making a bunch of social connections? Now, with all these networks, with the modern culture, the message that is translated to people of my generation and younger is this: "you ain't shit without support of the collective". Yet, they translate another, opposite message: - "be yourself, be strong, be an individual".
Then you, assuredly, find yourself in a paradox that inspires so many to lay down on a couch, gobble up antidepressants like a fucking junkie, and pity yourself for not being able to be both.
However, from my point of view, the whole "super-social" side to the life is really unproductive. Think about it. Firstly, 90% of the people are uninteresting and possessing the same bold recreational programm. I'mma go all elitist on your asses and admit, that yes, most people, especially from the lower working class type of people, the soil of the earth and these "genuine real" types, are of course, the GOOD people - but completely useless on a general scale. Yes, they have different political views, different jobs, diffent religion and characters, but their personality programming boils down to the inevitable "well durr hurr, i wanna live a happy life, find my own special person, be with my family/have a family, just be all around happy in my little world".
So what kind of constructivity can you, if you're a sophisticated human being, derive from being overly social with them? The chances of you discovering a gem ain't big, even less in real life. Not many people are lucky to find someone in their lives to serve as inspiration and motivation, to be a real comrade and not weight dragging you down.
When I think about how much time and effort people waste on improductive courtship, it baffles me. All these aboriginal dances with fanned tailfeathers. Yeah, the professional world is all about connections - but it's also about competition. People smile at your face and invite you at parties, promise you promotions and stuff, then later you find a knife lodged between your ribs. That's why you keep a cool-down distance. You don't need all these people close to you, at a hit distance - most likely your "friendship" will never help. Time and nerves are wasted, never to be replenished again. What for, though? For a brief acknowledgement of your existence?
So many people lack any kind of verible filling to themselves, they just fill this void inside not with something actually meaningful, something that can reward them in the future, but this mulling and mucking about around people who ultimately stay alien.
I once read that the majority of people build a pyramid of misery and suffering just to uphold the footing for the select few that are actually valuable to humanity as a whole. I still think it's true and fair. When I think about people who surround me, for example, I think about what they can contribute to my own development as a human being. If I don't find it - well then, they're just a part of the faceless mass below. It's not correct to be hostile to that mass, or their supporting hands would turn into claws dragging you down. But being too, well, friendly - will just merge you with them. It's not inheritely bad, but it's a symbolic burial none the less.
Thing is, every person digs his own grave and to dig himself OUT of this grave is a lonesome job. In the end, no family or friends would be able to join you in your descent, or make it somehow sweeter. Investing yourself in others - is a natural urge of a self-replicating aminoacid chains, and a lot of people find comfort in knowing others care about them. But as I said before, co-dependancy is just masking that terror we all bear, the terror of the finality of our existence.
There are many things that we take for granted are more important than being on good terms with a bunch of people you barely know. Especially when the quality of the material could be far more better. People spend time figuring who are their friends, who are their enemies, untangling this complicated web of lies and spite and powerplay, when you can just step aside to the sidewalk and do shit that really matters.
Life isn't all about having pals. It isn't about exposing yourself to others like a cadaver in a Natural History museum. There are ideals, ideals, aspirations - far greater than most of the people can offer. Maybe not that simplistic Dao of "happy life with friends and family", but something else.