Focusing can be hard. We are constantly bombarded with background noise vying for our attention, with phones going off, flashing lights and signs, and a thousand other things. I don’t think I ever realized just how easy it is to miss things because of it until I started going on dates.
For years by that point, I had enjoyed the ability to text, call, Facebook message, iMessage, and pretty much every other communication method known to modern mankind. I would even do multiple at once, jumping from conversation to conversation to keep myself entertained. It never seemed to wear on the relationships I fostered or my ability to focus on the person in front of me… until it did.
While most of us are used to hearing about how we need to focus entirely on work or homework, we do not always give the humans in our lives the same level of attention or diligence. After all, we can just type this quick message, I’m still listening, wait, what did you say?
When is the last time you just sat down with someone, put your phone on mute in a pocket or bag, and really zoned in on talking to the human right in front of you? If you’re like most of us, it has probably been a while since you did so by choice. We have been trained to view juggling people and tasks alike as a valuable trait, which probably has something to do with the fact that the average person now has a shorter attention span than a goldfish. We jump from task to task, sentence to sentence, conversation to conversation, to the point that we are losing the ability to have deep, intellectual, groundbreaking conversations even with our closest friends. We are losing our desire to challenge and be challenged, discuss difficult issues with sources, facts, logic, and respect. We are becoming so focused on quantity of connections, activities, words, that we are throwing quality out the window.
Do you want to be truly revolutionary, and really have the best friendships and relationships possible? Focus on the people, and learn to value quality. It is better to have a few close friends in real life than a thousand acquaintances when forced to choose between the two, and you get there by pouring into people — not by sitting in their presence while paying attention to someone else. Two are better than one, and as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. If you really want to grow, and if you really want to have friends, it is important to focus on building up friendships that challenge you, grow you, and help you when times get hard, and there is no better way to find friends like that than to be a friend like that.