Robert B. Putnam, a political scientist from Harvard, reported in his book Bowling Alone that Americans are spending more and more time alone, commuting to work, in front of the tv and computer, and spending less time with friends and neighbors. In many ways we have turned into a nation of "loners" and more and more we are losing the sense of connectedness that we need to maintain a healthy society.
We need to be brought together and have social experiences. We need to interact with "people of different ages and backgrounds, build on shared beliefs rather than on narrow self-interests" and have the support and meaningful interactions with others that allow us to grow beyond our egotistical nature (Kirsten Oaks, A Single Voice).
While I do believe it is important to cultivate a relationship with yourself - to be able to be alone but not lonely - I also believe our society encourages an extreme form of "independence" (gotta be free, gotta be true to myself, gotta not need anyone) that is, at least, not doing us any favors and at it's worst is a destructive distancing of ourselves from one of the greatest joys in life... our relationships with others.
I am so grateful that I don't come home every day to an empty apartment - and I hope I can do better to make the most of the time I have (and too often waste) to BE WITH the people I have in my life.