Relationships: quality vs quantity?

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When it comes to relationships of any kind, which do you think is more important? The quality of the time spent or how much time you spend together?

The child, whose parent frequently shoos them away to go watch TV or play a video game in the other room away from the parent, would argue that any quantity of time might be nice.

The romantic partner that spends every Saturday night watching a movie with their partner, with poor interaction and little conversation, will have a point when stating that quality is more critical.

In business, I believe quality of service or product is imperative. My father used to have two pairs of business dress shoes. A brown pair and a black pair. Both high quality leather, pricey and very nice. He always said, “you pay for what you get and its better to have a couple pairs of really good ones, then a bunch of cheap crappy ones.” I tend to agree.

As well, has social media skewed what quality looks like? Have we become confused what relationships are as we look at the quantity of social media impressions to show our significance by likes, comments or the followers we have. The use of social media as a negative platform or to air dirty laundry only to achieve engagement and connection with others has deranged the meaning of our connections and relationships. We can see this on personal levels, with the parent that doesn’t have parenting skills but curses, insults, and does drugs around a child and makes internet posts with happy family photos to show the fake awesomeness of their relationships. It is not accurate, neither the quality or quantity.


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So, what is the key to successful relationships? Let me first off disclaim any notion that I am an expert on relationships. Au contraire. However, through the many challenges and lessons I have experienced, I have learned about myself and what has been decisive in relationships in my life: with my children, my friends, my partner (past and present), my work associates, my family and so on.

This is what I have learned with keeping relationships healthy and strong and a few tips that may assist you in your relationships:

1. Truth: What is the truth about your relationships? Take a pen and paper and contemplate. Write down your important relationships from across the spectrum of possibilities: partner, children, parents, family, friends, associates and so on. Gain some clarity and truth about the quality and the quantity of time spent together. Jot down how often you spend time with each other and what it is you are doing. Don’t judge it but just observe whatever it is you discover.

2. Give your truth some measurement: Beside each relationship category, devise a rating system regarding time spent together and the quality of that time. Be honest. Its okay to not have the best answer. The truth gives you mindful opportunity to shift and grow.

3. Importance: I think it is probably a good idea to ask how important it is to you. Perhaps there is a relationship that you have been seeking distance in. Understanding how important time spent together is, will assist you with taking action… or not.


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4. Quantity: How much time do you spend with each relationship and why? If it is not as much as you want, then what excuses have you allowed to take precedence? How can you shift to make more time? Or perhaps you do spend lots of time together, but the relationship is still not optimal. Then you need to look at quality.

5. Quality: Quality has never had an assumed correlation with quantity; quite often the two are very contrasting. Quantity has very little quality, and quality has very little quantity. Developing quality ways to spend time together is key. My daughter and I like to shop. My son and I like to walk in the woods together. My mother and I like to travel together.

6. Keep it fresh: If we are to keep healthy, successful relationships we must keep it fresh and new. Obviously, what my kids and I did together has shifted through the years. We have had to find new capacities of positive and healthy connections. Think of a new relationship (whether a new born baby or a new friendship or partner), the quality time comes naturally. We’re so thrilled and consumed by the newness that we couldn’t be distracted even if we wanted to be. This freshness requires preservation and attention as our relationships evolve.

7. Equal energy: In any relationship, the energy placed into the relationship must be met with equality or it becomes imbalanced. If one party is seeking more quality time and the other is not, it creates discord. Whether the seeking more is a child to unwilling parent or a connection from an unnoticing partner, the imbalance can create a contentious disharmony or relationship dysfunction or cessation.

So, despite the overused clichés about the importance of quality-time in relationships and the debate of quality versus quantity, I believe, “quality” and “time” are the perfect companions deemed imperative for any productive relationship to continue to succeed and the potential repair for any relationship that is struggling.

Let me know your thoughts and experiences about this by emailing