I am a strong introvert. (Perhaps not unsurprising given my penchant for making friends on the internet.) I have taken the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator many times over the years and while my other characteristics have fluctuated, the “I” in my (current) ISFJ has remained consistent.Sometimes people are surprised by the fact that I’m an introvert. I work in communications and I used to be a reporter. These things require one to do uncomfortable tasks like talk to strangers and start conversations. Somehow I managed.The way I described it was that I was wearing my reporter “hat” — much in the same way that volunteering or partaking in some kind of organized activity, there’s a construct. A reason for being there. Something to focus on other than you.I’m at my worst in large groups — parties, happy hours, trips. It’s not me. Part of what I challenged myself to do upon moving here was to scrap all notions of “me.” Because I would never do things like join recreational sports teams or go on group vacations or fill my calendar with social event after social event.But now after 5+ months of being at post, starting a job and being as “settled” as one can be in the Foreign Service, I find myself gravitating back to my old ways. The last thing I want to do after a long day at work — at a job that involves lots of communicating, you know, as the director of communications — is go out with a group of people.It exhausts me just thinking about it. I need down time. Either alone or with Kail, but just time to sit quietly, read, write and recharge — by doing whatever except be “on.”I used to (OK, still do) beat myself up over it. Question why I couldn’t be more sociable or like other people. Try to force myself to do things I don’t really want to do in an effort to fit in, make friends, be seen. Because if I don’t, how will I ever feel comfortable in this lifestyle?Well I still don’t know the answer to that question, but I do know that forcing myself to do things because I think they’ll make me happy is not the way to go. And in fact can make me quite unhappy.I’ve read both Gretchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project” books, “The Happiness Project” and “Happier at Home,”and one of her mantras/commandments/secrets of adulthood (I forget which label she applies here) is “Be Gretchen.” Be yourself. Do what makes you happy — really — and not what you think will/should make you happy based on other people/their preferences.It sounds cheesy and maybe really obvious — what works for other people won’t necessarily work for you … duh. But sometimes it’s hard to get that.I love to spend time alone, in my own head, thinking and writing, or otherwise doing activities that are pretty solitary: running, reading, cooking/baking. Living in El Salvador has for the first time forced me to be part of a (small) running group — which I love and is essential to my happiness here — but my natural inclination is to fly solo.I prefer one-on-one interaction to large gatherings. I hate talking in front of crowds (meetings included) and being the center of attention. I was so anxious during the ceremony of our 35-person wedding when all eyes were on me. And Kail. But mostly me, obvs.All eyes were on me. And I was crying!So what’s an “I” to do? How can someone who’s introverted adapt to a lifestyle where you’re constantly packing up and moving around, living in new places and meeting new people? I’m all ears.What about you — are you an introvert or extrovert?