I have always hated the word "socializing." I'm not anti-social. I just don't like the word.
"Socializing" brings back a lot of memories, mostly negative, from high school. Back then when I was a teenager, socializing meant going out on a Friday night with mates to drink. Alcohol. It was the 'in-thing' - but not for me.
I have never touched alcohol and have no plans to do so. But it's pretty hard to explain that to peers when you're an adolescent! I lived my high school days either coming up with false excuses why I couldn't join my friends on Friday nights, or just avoiding them on Fridays by hanging out in the toilet during breaks, or going to the art studio to work on a project that didn't really need working on :)
"Socializing" was not something I had any interest in doing.
And so I've been living in Kuantan since 2006 and for the vast majority of that time, we have kept ourselves to ourselves, remained busy with teaching English, and only went out by ourselves.
Maybe I thought that "socializing" was not for me. However, recently we have become close friends with some locals and have enjoyed "spending time" together. (As an expat, it's great to mingle with the locals and get to know them. Though it can be hard at first, particularly if you are in a faraway country and trying to get to grips with language and culture. But it's very rewarding too)
"Spending time" is a much better phrase that I like to use. Our time is precious. We can never get it back once it has gone. I believe my school friends genuinely enjoyed their Friday night socializing at the pub or club. It's just that for me it would have been a waste of time.
Living as an expat and spending quality time with great friends has added a new dimension to my state of happiness. While I will always be from England, I definitely feel Malaysian, and spending time with some of my Malaysian friends is a very enjoyable part of my life!