DEAR HARRIETTE: I love going off the grid. I feel like we are so constantly accessible that it makes me feel free when I don't have a phone on me. I don't do this for days at a time, just 12-hour blocks. It makes me feel completely refreshed. My friends and family get surprisingly mad about texts and calls going unanswered. I am never in danger, and I have the right to my privacy. When I tell them that I just want to be alone, they claim I am being selfish and should at least give them the courtesy of responding. Am I being rude by taking time to myself? -- All Alone, Shreveport, Louisiana
DEAR ALL ALONE: I love that you are not bound by technology. What you must do is train your loved ones to expect you to be disconnected for blocks of time. Promise that you will contact them if you are ever in trouble. Recommend that they try your version of being unplugged.
Interestingly, people who are always connecting to others via phone, text and various forms of social media often feel isolated and lonely. It seems like a contradiction, but this may be because the depth of connection is superficial at best. If you are currently cultivating meaningful relationships with others, you may want to point that out to your loved ones. Don't forget to note the relationship with yourself that you get to grow because you are blocking out a lot of noise.