When I moved to another state in 2004, I initially found some challenges to developing new friendships and relationships since then. I still only have a small handful of good friends, male and female, and had even fewer positive dating relationships.
I am divorced, but when I was engaged at 21, I didn’t have kids or a serious job, and I didn’t have any close friends that were married or in the life situations that I see now at 30. In my friendship-gathering and dating experiences in the last couple of years, I see that everyone is pressed for time; there are so many things to do, even though we all get 24 hours, and it can be difficult to fit it all in.
During a women’s bible study I attended in 2006, I learned that developing relationships of all kinds have a cost: an investment of T.I.M.E., which is comprised of:
I – interest
M – money/material things
E – energy (effort in your spiritual, emotional, and physical being)
If you invest T.I.M.E. with kids, it comes right back to you. It’s never a waste. They love unconditionally—even when they’ve been wronged. We adults could stand to learn a few behavioral lessons from kids, with maturity. Investing time with children is a 100% Return On Investment. I think that when kids grow up, they may or may not remember the M you invested in them, but they will always remember if you didn’t give them the T, I, and E.
From what I have seen, the I and E are the ones that usually connected in friendships and romantic relationships. Usually, if one decreases, so does the other. If you are not feeling someone anymore, and you have no interest in dealing with that person anymore (as friends or lovers), and don’t want to put anymore effort into it, it’s so much better to tell them so you both can keep it moving. I believe in the direct approach, but no matter how you say it, the other person will probably be hurt. Does that mean you should wait and see if they get the hint, just to protect their feelings? Withdraw and become unavailable when they call? Cheat or start seeing someone else without their knowledge? No, these are not productive ways to end any kind of relationship. All of these behaviors just make you look worse, and they prolong the time you have to deal with the person because they don’t know what’s going on in your head. Most importantly—please tell them verbally. Emails and text messages are not the way to go when you end a relationship or friendship. It’s rude and impersonal.
I am the same way today with the people I meet, which, these days, is mostly online. Acquaintances are many, but friends of gold are few. I have no time for people who don’t have intentions on investing T.I.M.E. in me. I’m worth it! God bless, and treat others like you want to be treated.