We say we have a lot of it and yet so many conversations start with ‘I’m sorry I took so long; I’m so busy these days’. We’re not busy we just tell ourselves (and each other) that we are so that we can make excuses for not prioritising situations and people in our lives and that has to stop.
I’m important. You’re important. We each deserve one another’s’ time so why aren’t we making the effort to give it?
Never underestimate how important giving your time away can be.
Time = attention and whether we are all honest about it or not, we deserve and need attention; without it we feel unconnected with each other and our world.
Time is the most valuable assest we have in life because to give someone your time means you have prioritised them above something or something else and that makes us feel cherished and important; that we are worth someone making us a priority.
We often tell ourselves that we’re too busy to reply to friends’ messages on Facebook or emails (I’m very guilty for this one) but realistically I’m simply not prioritising MY time well enough to offer them my attention. Instead of spending 10 minutes thinking and writing a reply to a friend, I’m passively watching the TV in the background or reading a book which I could put down.
We convince ourselves that modern technology allows us more time for the important things and people and then blame it when we can’t make time for each other. You need to decide which one you are.
Everyone’s definition of time is different and therefore we all expect a little more or less than our friends but there are always some basic principles you can follow:
Send a text or make a call
How many times do we get a text during the day and think ‘I’ll reply later’ even though you’re on the train or stuck in a queue and have the time to reply or even message saying you’re busy but will call them back later? Whilst some people may argue that being glued to technology all day every day isn’t a good thing because you are ‘always connected’, to me that means you have no excuse not to respond. Most people want a simple acknowledgement and it’s easier to give than you think.
Yes you’re busy and sometimes you really don’t get five minutes to look at your phone, we all work on different patterns and your good friends will know that but if someone takes TIME out of their day to ask a question or just interact, give them YOUR time and reply. Instead of that nagging feeling that you’re leaving it longer and longer to reply to them, you could have text them or called them back already and not have the ‘chore’ hanging around you for the rest of the day.
Likewise, the beauty of a text, call or voicemail is that you can leave them without responsibility. If you haven’t heard from someone for a while (because we’re all too busy remember?!) then why not pick up your phone and say ‘hi’. Ask them how they are, if they’re free for a drink at the weekend or just let them know you miss them and it would be good to see them soon. Getting a text randomly from someone I haven’t heard from in a while is a sure fire way of putting a smile on my face because I feel valued that they were thinking of me.
Make the effort
Life can get busy, really it can and not just because we announce it to be. Sometimes, despite all the luck and will in the world, spending time with each other just misses our grasp and when that happens you need to stop making excuses and make plans instead.
So you can’t see each other for a quick coffee at lunch because you’re snowed under at work or they’re going on holiday so won’t see you until they get back? Then schedule each other in whilst you’re still thinking about each other. Get a babysitter to look after the children one afternoon or ditch the other half and make time to do something together. Even if you simply sit in a coffee shop or wine bar for the whole afternoon having a lazy lunch or stroll along the beach eating an ice-cream, you won’t regret making the effort. If anything, knowing you haven’t been able to catch up properly with each other for a while will make your specific time together so much sweeter because you know it doesn’t happen at that often; you get to make the most of it instead of taking it for granted.
Whilst many people blame technology for making us busier because we’re never really offline and therefore truly relaxing, I think we can use it for its intended purposes; to be social.
As I said above, why don’t you send a friend that long-awaited text whilst you’re stood in the queue waiting for your morning coffee or start replying to someones’ email whilst you find you have some free time at lunch? Even connecting with people the other side of the world doesn’t have to be a chore if you use it wisely.
If you’re a slow typist but a quick texter, get your mobile out or if you’re a speaker rather than writer, open up Skype; there is a wealth of tools to help you squeeze in each other into your life. Though I can call or text my friend since she lives in the UK, we love nothing better than a friendly Skype chat once a fortnight or so to have a deeper conversation than our texts and updates allow us. It costs us nothing but time and we both feel better for it after each Skype call so my question is, why aren’t you doing the same?
It really does take no time at all to send a quick voicemail or let a friend know that you’re thinking about them when they’re going through a down time in life so pick up your technology, make the connection and be the friend that time allows you to be.
Friendship is not something you learn in school but if you haven’t learned the meaning of friendship, you really haven’t learned anything – Muhammad Ali