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Prioritizing Different Relationships

Page history last edited by Holly Swyers 6 years, 7 months ago

How do you decide how to prioritize different relationships at different points of life?

Life can be difficult when you want to hang out with your friends, when you have a job, or a family at home. Making time for everyone important in your life can lead to tough decisions that cause you to sacrifice the time you spend with someone for something else. When making decisions how to prioritize different relationships at different points of life, participants gave advice regarding this difficult decision and how to deal with it.


Choosing Your Time Wisely

When participants were asked about how to prioritize different relationships at different points of their life, a majority of participants responded with generalized advice about how to choose who to spend time with, and then moved on to more specific advice. Participants first shared information about what could be best for you, focusing on what is important in your life, the benefit you get from the relationship, who needs you the most, and people you can count on. Participants also spoke about trusting your gut with prioritizing, the changes in your obligations, and the sacrifices one must make.



More specifically, participants defined the difference between making time for friends, relationships, family, professional life, and time for oneself. For friendships, participants discussed the differences from hanging out with friends in college every day to having to catch up with them every once in a while, when life gets busy. We can see this reasoning when Earl Roth states, “When you blow your friends off in college they give you crap for it, as you get older your friends become more understanding because everyone is busy and you can lame out.” Being able to juggle your time is difficult once you have other obligations as well. A majority of participants responded describing the difficulty of prioritizing friends because they understand that it is difficult to choose time with friend over other commitments in their life with family or their career.



Few interviewees spoke specifically about prioritizing time for relationships. Many interviewees grouped relationships with their significant other with prioritizing time with their family. We can see that dedicating your time to one person is an important decision, and one that you should not take lightly. Arthur Percy goes on to state, “It’s important that you get to know the person you’re in a monogamous relationship with for 6-8 months. Then after that period it’s important to give time back to your friends and family, I see it as a shift. After you become partners in a healthy relationship, it’s also important to be friends with your significant other’s friends and family.” Through Percy’s statement, we can see that priorities change, but it is important to really know a person you would like to spend more time with.



When participants spoke about prioritizing time with their family, many responded about their family being one of their top commitments. We see this when Vicky Lewis states, “If you have kids, you may want to pay special attention to your relationship with your parents and your partner’s parents, so that they can become central figures in your child’s life (if you want them to)”. Similarly, Gabrielle Burroughs states, “When having kids, your responsibilities change.” Pointing out that your life can completely change to your children’s needs, and finding time for others can be difficult. Similarly, Ernesto Lee states, “It’s not a decision, it’s just a reality,” claiming that having children is not a commitment you can avoid. When participants noted that they have families, they spoke about their family being their top priority. Having a family may take up more time than expected with a variety of responsibilities, and you will have to keep that in mind when prioritizing your life.


Professional Life     

Participants also spoke about the importance of prioritizing your professional life, whether it was your career or your education. We see the importance of these relationships through Fred Caldwell’s statement, “Professional relationships at work and school are a MUST even if one may not want to do so. It is not all fun and games all the time. [You] Need to focus on the relationships that are ‘necessary’ for one’s future. Then supplement this with relationships that are ‘life-giving’ in one’s personal life (what you want to constantly be a part of).” While you may have other commitments, your professional life is just as important to prioritize because that is your source of revenue. It is also important to not, “… assume companies will take care of you. That is not true. You have to go after it yourself. If you want to rise in a company you need to volunteer for those roles” (Victor Caldwell). We see through Victor Caldwell’s response that although you need to prioritize your career, it is also important to look out for yourself. Making sacrifices and decisions that cause you to choose work over friends or family is difficult. Gabrielle Burroughs states, “You are constantly deciding. To build a career, you have to network and collaborate with people that becomes your schedule. At some point, you feel the need to be your old person for a bit to meet with college friends. If you haven’t seen someone for a while, make time to talk with them to de-stress yourself. Remember work/family is never a 50/50 balance; sometimes work is a priority and finding this balance may be difficult, but understanding yourself and your needs and desires aid in this decision."


This page was developed from interviews with: 

Earl RothFred Caldwell, Arthur PercyVicky Lewis, Gabrielle Burroughs, Ernesto LeeVictor Caldwell, Gabrielle Burroughs



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