Everyone wants their relationships with other people to be meaningful and rewarding. Whether we’re talking romantic partners, family or friends, we often have to decide who is worth our time. This is especially the case when your time is more valuable, such as when someone very attractive dates or someone with a lot of work spends time on coworkers. This guide should help you work out who adds value to your time and who is a drain on it. In no particular order, here are ten things that, all together, mean someone is worth your time.
1. You can talk without getting uncomfortably heated.
A bigger one than many people would think. It’s fine to have a debate. It’s fine to disagree. It’s fine to agree. It’s fine to have an opinion. It’s fine to get a little passionate now and again. But if you find that this person escalates arguments to levels of emotional intensity that you find uncomfortable and that they do this often, they could be causing issues. Uncomfortable arguments weigh on your mind, fill your time and are often unproductive as both of you turn defensive under uncomfortable levels of passion. If someone offers no conversation without a risk of explosion, then they may be a drain on your time.
2. You respect them as a person.
It is impossible to maintain a healthy relationship with someone you can’t respect. It’s actually possible to benefit from relationships where the other party doesn’t respect you, although you have to know that they disrespect you for it to work and these relationships wouldn’t be considered healthy. But you need to be able to respect someone as a person to make them worth your time. The amount of trouble and drama and resentment that is born of when people disappoint you or leave you is too great. You need to see them as a human with their own needs, wants and ability to move.
3. You both know what you want from each other.
This one has three layers. Firstly you must know what they want from you and you must make sure they know what you want from them. Secondly you must both be willing to fulfill those wants. Thirdly, where the other can’t fulfill your wants you must be willing to compromise and they must be willing to compromise the wants you cannot fulfill. If any of these layers is not met, then they will waste your time and later on disagreements and heated arguments may arise.
4. You enjoy time spent with them.
This is a very important one. So maybe they are waste of time in every other sense. But if you like the time you spend with them and enjoy it whilst it lasts, they may not be a waste. On the other hand, if they are useful in every way but you hate spending time with them, you might want to consider replacing them.
5. You don’t feel you are getting the raw deal.
Relationships aren’t a zero sum game where someone wins and someone loses. But there will be upsides and downsides to every relationship. If you feel like you’re getting a bad deal and they’re resting on their laurels then it’s time to wonder whether they are worth the time you’re putting in. Even if on a rational level you are about even, if you resent them then the use of your time might not be wise.
6. You can do uncomfortable or difficult things together without turning against each other.
A sure sign that someone is worth the time you invest into them is when even unpleasant tasks don’t turn you against them. If you approach a difficult problem or a strange situation as a team, with the goal being to get everything sorted and over as soon as possible, then they are definitely a good use of your time.
7. You don’t bear grudges.
Bearing a grudge takes time and energy and interferes with future interactions. If you find yourself remembering matters you’d both agreed to put to bed and judging them based on these matters, maybe even bringing them up in arguments, then your time is being used poorly. However, if you find it easy or simply worthwhile to fight the urge to bear a grudge, then they are clearly adding a lot to your life.
8. You have the time to give.
A huge one. If there isn’t the time, there simply isn’t the time. No matter how much you like someone and how useful or pleasant they are, if you can’t find the required time then they aren’t worth your time. If they were worth your time you would make some.
9. Nobody else fits their place better.
Another important one. Is there someone with relationship seniority, who meets more of these criteria or who is just nicer to be around who can do their job just as well as they can? Too many cooks spoil the broth and too many people competing for the same places in your life means you’re putting so many times more energy and time than you need to.
10. Nothing else would fit your time better.
Finally: is there anything more productive or useful you could be doing with this time? If they add a little to your life but learning a language, developing a skill or traveling would add ten times as much, then you shouldn’t spend time developing a relationship that you will resent as you struggle in other areas of life. It’s better to not start relationships like that at all.
And those are ten solid indicators that someone is a productive use of your time. Depending on how social you are you might think anyone who meets five or more with worthwhile or you might decide that someone needs to meet ten to make them worth the time, but I wouldn’t encourage relationships with anyone who meets less than five of these criteria.
How do you make sure you’re using your social time well?
TTFN and Happy Hunting!