DEAR HARRIETTE: I went on vacation for a week and decided to unplug. I didn’t speak to friends, family or anyone who could be reached only by phone. I’m back now, and I can't help but think about how much happier I was when I was not speaking to anyone. I miss my solitude and the peace of mind that it brought me. I miss not being so connected to everyone. Is this a bad thing? What could this mean? -- Loner
DEAR LONER: Your vacation helped you to reset. Rather than eliminating friends and family from your life, you may want to change the rhythm of your engagement. Choose a day of the week that you can devote to communicating with others. Do not answer the phone every time it rings in the future. Let voicemail pick up the call. Change your voicemail message to let folks know that you will be answering your phone infrequently. In case of emergency, invite them to text you. You can control your time. You can train your loved ones to change their expectations of how often they talk to you. You can reinforce this without feeling guilty, too. You get to be the captain of your ship. It’s OK to change the dynamics of engagement, even -- and especially -- with the people you love.