It's become a tradition in February, one almost as sacred as chocolates and hearts, this week I spend in Florida with my friend M.  We loll around the house here, sleep later than normal, talk, drink coffee in our pajamas as long as we like, go for walks, talk, sit in the sun, read, eat, talk, shop, drink, get facials and pedicures...well, you get the picture.  This week is one of the things that makes February lovely.

But I'll let you in on a secret. 

It's not always easy for me to share this much of myself.

It's my nature to be a very private person, rather introverted actually, and perfectly happy being on my own with only me, myself, and I for company.  I was never one of those kids who liked having friends over all the time, and sometimes would just throw lots of my toys out the backdoor and say, "Here, you play with them, and I"m going inside to read."   I weaseled my way out of invitations to birthday parties and sleep overs whenever I could.   I had no intention of going away to college, because I couldn't imagine myself in a communal living situation like a dorm.  (I still get cold chills down my spine just thinking about it.)

I've had some adult friendships over the years that were close enough to involve lengthy periods of time together, even traveling together (the true test of a friendship, I think).  But it's always been a strain for me, and I always find myself yearning just a little bit, no matter how much fun we were having, to be on my own.

Now, M. and I get on very well and have very similar tastes in the things we like to do.  We became friends first through church, and our friendship was cemented during the years we played bells together and traveled around performing.  Our husband's are friends too, and the four of us have done some rather extensive traveling together.  M. and her husband have a world of friends from all walks of life, and they have graciously included us in their inner circle, providing us with social opportunities we would never had had otherwise.  Through our friendship, I've learned how to do all the group things that I never allowed myself to do when I was younger.  And I've learned to enjoy them very much. 

But I think there's a part of me that  I always keep to myself, and when I'm with another person for an extended period of time  it gets tiring to keep that secret part hidden away.  It's almost like holding your breath, this feeling of keeping watch over that inner being, of not letting it escape into the light of day.  It's not really about being on my best behavior, or trying to impress with my knowledge or's just about being truly and completely me. 

How about you?  Are you a people person, or do you prefer being on your own?  Are your times with friends love-ly?