Dear Prudence

Help! I Think I’m Becoming a Social Recluse.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

A woman sitting alone.
Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by torwai/iStock/Getty Images Plus.

Every week, Daniel Mallory Ortberg answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.

Q. I don’t want to: After experiencing some burnout from full-time school and work, I realized I had to start turning down social plans to make time for myself. Now, I’m less overwhelmed, but I’ve realized I like saying no to plans more often so that I can have more time for myself. I do reach out and make plans when I want so that my friends aren’t feeling like I don’t care, but I really enjoy just relaxing by myself. Am I being a bad friend? Should I make more of an effort? Some of my friends were used to seeing me every day or every other day, and now it’s more like once every week and a half.

A: This is the second letter I’ve gotten today from someone who feels anxious and self-conscious about only seeing their friends once a week. Life is long and full of surprises, of course, but many people—I’m reluctant to say most, but it may very well be most!—do not see their friends every day or even every other day. That’s not to say that it becomes inevitable with age that one stops seeing their friends and instead becomes a lonely, overworked recluse, but my guess is that as you and your peers graduate you’ll find that getting together once a week becomes closer to the norm than once a day. If you’re not feeling like a shut-in, and no one in your social circle is claiming abandonment, then I think you should enjoy your evenings in without guilt.