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Last Updated on October 3, 2018

Are We Spending Too Little Time on Too Many People?

Are We Spending Too Little Time on Too Many People?

Who have you interacted with in the last 24 hours? Coworkers, best friends, family, or facebook friends? Chances are, the people you have spent the majority of your time with are not highly important to you, but rather general acquaintances. Meanwhile, those who matter most to you didn’t have much quality time with you.

Technology is amazing because it allows us to keep up with people we would have otherwise lost track of. However, for the same reason, we interact with people very differently than we used to.

In the past, we wouldn’t connect to so many people

In the past, we interacted with people we could see all the time – our real friends, our family members, and certainly our coworkers. If we wanted to see someone outside of those groups, we had to call them to hear their voice, or physically meet up with them somewhere. And when we did choose to meet up with someone, we were very present during our encounter.

When you were making time for other people, you valued the time with them more and could spend quality time with them.

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If there were people who, as time went by, didn’t really make time for real connections, they would naturally work their way out of your life. It’s natural for relationships to appear and disappear throughout time. If we were to carry people as we moved on our lives, we would naturally let go some of them along the way. It’d look like this:

    Today, connecting with people is almost too easy

    Facebook, emails and text messages allow us to connect with others instantly, even if they are in different countries. And not just one person – group texts allow us to touch base with numerous friends, simultaneously. If you don’t reach out to people via text, all it takes is a quick look at their Facebook status to know what they are doing.

    Yet quick connections tend to be shallow. Think about this, how many of your facebook “friends” have you met in person more than one time? Even though you have no true connection with that person, you know everything about them! That knowledge is meaningless because you aren’t truly connected.

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    As you walk forward in your life, you’ll have more of these shallow connections. While at the time it can feel good, like you’re popular and wanted, they will only hold you back from truly connecting with those in your life who matter. Instead of naturally letting go of some people along your way, you’re carrying way too many of them which becomes a burden to you.

      Connect deeper, not more

      Quality is definitely more important than quantity when it comes to relationships. More connections can really mean more meaningless people taking away valuable time. The key is to make each connection count.

      In the past, 80% of time was spent on people who matter to us. Now we spend that percentage on social media “friends” and text messages.

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        Filter out who is important to you and who is a hindrance

        It may seem cruel to have to categorize and filter your friends, but it’s harsher for you to spend time on people who aren’t that important to you. I talked about the concept of friendship decluttering in my other article: The Harsh but Honest Truth About Friendship Decluttering. Here’s how it works:

        Go through your virtual friends and make a color-coded list. Red should label those people who are bad connections, and even selfish people in real life. Assign this label to the ones who guilt you into time with them. Sort the rest of your “friends” into blue labels (semi-shallow but with potential) and green (the real friends you care about). Get rid of all the red relationships and focus on developing more green.

        Go back to this list again in a few weeks and see if any relationships are still distracting or should be in the red category. If so, delete those people. While it may seem harsh and you may fear they will notice and be upset, the truth is that you have to do what’s best for you and those connections you truly care to cultivate.

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        If someone were to reach out to you, asking why they no longer see your post, be honest: tell them you needed to focus more on your immediate family and friends in order to be the best you possible. Check out this article about how this can make you connect with your true friends: I Deleted 564 Friends On Facebook But I Have Saved 100 Real Life Friendships

        The right people deserve your time

        If you related to what was mentioned in this article, click off and start sorting through your relationships right now. Get rid of relationships you are spending a ton of time of simply because it’s easy. Choose to make more time, and put more effort into, the important connections. You owe it to them and to yourself.

        Featured photo credit: Erik Lucatero via unsplash.com

        More by this author

        Anna Chui

        Anna is a communication expert and a life enthusiast. She's the editor of Lifehack and loves to write about love, life, and passion.

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        Last Updated on January 18, 2019

        7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

        7 Ways To Deal With Negative People

        Some people will have a rain cloud hanging over them, no matter what the weather is outside. Their negative attitude is toxic to your own moods, and you probably feel like there is little you can do about it.

        But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

        If you want to effectively deal with negative people and be a champion of positivity, then your best route is to take definite action through some of the steps below.

        1. Limit the time you spend with them.

        First, let’s get this out of the way. You can be more positive than a cartoon sponge, but even your enthusiasm has a chance of being afflicted by the constant negativity of a friend.

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        In fact, negativity has been proven to damage your health physically, making you vulnerable to high levels of stress and even cardiac disease. There’s no reason to get hurt because of someone else’s bad mood.

        Though this may be a little tricky depending on your situation, working to spend slightly less time around negative people will keep your own spirits from slipping as well.

        2. Speak up for yourself.

        Don’t just absorb the comments that you are being bombarded with, especially if they are about you. It’s wise to be quick to listen and slow to speak, but being too quiet can give the person the impression that you are accepting what’s being said.

        3. Don’t pretend that their behavior is “OK.”

        This is an easy trap to fall into. Point out to the person that their constant negativity isn’t a good thing. We don’t want to do this because it’s far easier to let someone sit in their woes, and we’d rather just stay out of it.

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        But if you want the best for this person, avoid giving the false impression that their negativity is normal.

        4. Don’t make their problems your problems.

        Though I consider empathy a gift, it can be a dangerous thing. When we hear the complaints of a friend or family member, we typically start to take on their burdens with them.

        This is a bad habit to get into, especially if this is a person who is almost exclusively negative. These types of people are prone to embellishing and altering a story in order to gain sympathy.

        Why else would they be sharing this with you?

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        5. Change the subject.

        When you suspect that a conversation is starting to take a turn for the negative, be a champion of positivity by changing the subject. Of course, you have to do this without ignoring what the other person said.

        Acknowledge their comment, but move the conversation forward before the euphoric pleasure gained from complaining takes hold of either of you.

        6. Talk about solutions, not problems.

        Sometimes, changing the subject isn’t an option if you want to deal with negative people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still be positive.

        I know that when someone begins dumping complaints on me, I have a hard time knowing exactly what to say. The key is to measure your responses as solution-based.

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        You can do this by asking questions like, “Well, how could this be resolved?” or, “How do you think they feel about it?”

        Use discernment to find an appropriate response that will help your friend manage their perspectives.

        7. Leave them behind.

        Sadly, there are times when we have to move on without these friends, especially if you have exhausted your best efforts toward building a positive relationship.

        If this person is a family member, you can still have a functioning relationship with them, of course, but you may still have to limit the influence they have over your wellbeing.

        That being said, what are some steps you’ve taken to deal with negative people? Let us know in the comments.

        You may also want to read: How to Stop the Negative Spin of Thoughts, Emotions and Actions.

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