"No, I can't, I need to be by myself."
I'm an introvert who loves people. I really do, I think it comes through in things I've written here. I love the people I work with and the people I work for, and I love my friends and I love meeting people I don't know for the most part. All of that takes it toll, though. I need a lot of down time to function at my highest levels.
Because my work involves a lot of interacting with other people, I have less people-energy for my personal life than I would like. At times, it needs to be rationed: I can spend time with friends I have, or I can do things with acquaintances, or I can spend just a little time with new people. At times, not having enough energy for personal relationships can be trying and even dangerous -- we all need people in our lives who fill our emotional needs and some of them need to live in the same town as you. So building up relationships is essential to personal and professional well-being and success.
At the same time, I endeavor to set myself up for success, so if I've had a meeting-filled week, I know that even when I want to be with a group of friends who've invited me out, I sometimes can't if I also want to be properly restored by my weekend. It takes some time to develop the self-awareness of when and what I can do, and it takes discipline to listen to the voice that knows if I can or if I can't.
It is a thing that I practice, though, because I want to be my best. So sometimes I can't go to dinner or your party and it's okay for you and me both.
What about you? What do you do to be your best? Let's talk about it.