Thursday, October 3, 2019

Finding Time for Social When There's Too Much To Do

Time for social
Two is better than one, right?  So long as you have the time for it, anyway.
Last month I visited a friend I hadn't seen in years.  We went on a drive through her neighborhood.  Her boxer sat between us and my feet rested on layers of takeout boxes, food wrappers and garbage on the floor of her van. 

“Do you have any family nearby?” I asked.  The street broke through the trees and onto an oceanic peninsula. 

“Yeah, I have a cousin, but it's awkward,” she admitted.  Her boxer had taken to me and was resting his head on my lap. 

“She had cancer a few years ago and I was just so busy I never had a chance to go see her.  I was working seven days a week and taking night classes.  But now it's strange--we don't have much of a connection.”

Visiting family seems like something you'd want make time for.  Yet I can relate. 

I spent the previous Sunday at a good-bye party for a roommate. And Saturday morning and afternoon at a photography Meet-up. 

Sunday night left me with a bizarre litany of to-dos: drink wine and mingle with roommates (and juggle tensions I had with them), plan lessons for the next day, defrost the freezer. 

On Monday morning, I left the apartment without critical papers and made an exhausting return home in humid weather.  I found myself cursing the socializing I'd done that weekend.  It'd felt like a distraction.  Not at all like hanging with friends.

The Social Stumper

I've read not having a strong social network is as unhealthy as smoking.

Yet, socializing is hard work.  How many texts are sent deciding when and where to meet up?  And how much time spent waiting for someone who's late?  And it entails compromise: seeing the show everyone else wants, eating the food they prefer, riding the transportation in their budget.  Plus there's always drama.  And the awkwardness of putting up with someone you can't stand at a football gathering on Sunday afternoon. 

We have a finite amount of time, money, and emotional energy. And on the weekends it's easily usurped by everything else: walking the dog, buying groceries, shopping at Target, cleaning the house, repairing the car, meeting the esthetician. 

Things which should feel enjoyable--a leisurely dinner party, hanging with people on Saturday afternoon, visiting family--end up feeling like “one more odious thing”.

A Must, Not a Should

In the same way you'd put dieting or exercise on pause, I can see why someone would simply acknowledge that socializing can't be a focus in her life--to allow space to attend to everything else. 

Would it be possible to schedule and block time for social, and to limit it?  If it's so critical to our physical and emotional health, maybe it needs a spot on our “must do” list. 

What's your take?  Do you find time to spend with family and friends?  And does it provide respite, or feel obligatory? 


  1. Oh my goodness, Julie - you are so right! I look at social events as time I'm going to lose out of my weekends and don't even bother to ask me to be social during the week. I've thought about being a hermit before :P I'm quite sure, though, that the social time is so much more important than all of the obligatory things that have to be done on weekends (I mean, why do I resent having to go out and be social and having fun when the alternative is being home cleaning the house?). Thanks so much for this thought-provoking post and those two babies in the opening paragraph's photo are just precious!


    1. You're welcome, Ruth. Yeah, when the options are clean the house or drink with friends, the choice seems clear huh? ;)

  2. I feel the same way - sometimes, there is so much for me to do that I have a hard time to socialize. It is important to make time for the family, even if it is once in a while. I have been focusing on myself lately that I put off on seeing others. Maybe I should time block a couple of hours here and there to see people.

    Nancy ♥

  3. It's a really tough balance, huh?


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