watching, reading, and writing stories

Planned Quality Time

on March 12, 2015

Clock, Time, Stopwatch, Wrist Watch, Time Indicating

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What does it mean to have quality time with someone else? I don’t know if you’ve heard of the 5 Love Languages or not, but one of my Love Languages is Quality Time. That’s a big way of how I connect with people and show them I care about them. And I feel loved when someone spends uninterrupted time with me.

I just got to spend the last few days with family from out of town and it got me thinking about how I spend time with the people around me. When I plan a time to get together with someone, my brain switches to Quality Time mode. I am more purposeful, I try not to be late to the scheduled time together, and I strive to enjoy it all, because it is limited. Oftentimes I ignore texts or calls, because I’m spending quality time with this person. I’ve dedicated this time to being with this person, and not to answer messages on my phone.

But sometimes, my plan doesn’t work. We schedule time together, but the expectation and reality don’t mesh. Maybe something comes up, or we don’t do the thing we had planned on doing, or there was no plan at all, other than just meeting up, so at the end I’m not sure how to feel.

So after this past week of a lot of unplanned time with family, I’ve realized that it’s good to plan and schedule times to be with a person. It can help me personally to step away from distractions and enjoy time with someone I care about. But there’s another side to this. What if I don’t have anything planned? What if I’m just with someone to be with them? This is the norm in my family on a given day. We all have work, chores, commitments, things to do, and if we were trying to have uninterrupted quality time, those things wouldn’t get done. So sometimes we have to have our quality family time while doing other things. Like talking while doing dishes, or hearing about each other’s day while eating dinner, or pausing the movie so someone can answer a phone call. Sometimes life isn’t perfect and the quality time I long for, just doesn’t happen the way I planned. And that’s okay.

What I have to remember most, is not to make it about me. If I’m focused on how I feel, if I’m having fun with the person, if we’re getting to do everything I was planning to do, then I can miss out on the best part, just being with my friend. If I focus on them instead of myself and my plan, then I enjoy our time together so much more, no matter if it was interrupted, cut short, or we did the thing we had planned to do.

So in conclusion, plans are useful, but it’s not what quality time is about. Quality Time is best when it’s focused on the person you’re spending time with, and not on what you’re doing with them.


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