In a charming lecture, novelist Sheila Heti says all the reasons we want (or say we want) to hang out with other people boil down to four basic categories, quoted below:
1. Desire (for sex, love, companionship, whatever).
2. Sociological curiosity / aesthetic appreciation.
3. To test ourselves.
4. Someone else wants to hang out.
She goes on to make a point I agree with, which is that though we're always smarter, funnier, and more on point (plus more comfortably clad) on our own, we're driven to hang out with other people to learn how to be better people. That there's a part of our brains that prioritizes chaotic, anxious drama over serene self-actualization because in order to improve yourself, you've got to test yourself. This weekend I'll have plenty of opportunities to choose my lumpy old couch and Justified over saying something awkward at a party that will inevitably make it into my mental "lowlight reel." Sheila, girl -- thanks for helping me make the right choice, even if it's the tough one.