Giving Time and Attention
by, 08-30-2012 at 04:22 PM (79 Views)
I'm not the most people oriented of ...people. I'm pretty introverted and like to just go off on my own and hide in my own little cave. Keeping in contact for me means sending an email once every three+ months. So I'm not making any 'perfect' claims here, BUT all my life I've found myself frustrated by other people's lack of giving what I would call Focus to other people they care about. I wouldn't necessarily call it 'quality time'. Mainly what I'm talking about is sacrificing both your Time and ATTENTION to be with someone even though you are bored.
One of the ways this is shown I have ranted about before - waiting for others, truly waiting. But it's also giving that extra few minutes to an interaction, and really being there rather than answering distractedly, hovering instead of planting yourself, being antsy and looking toward the door. Believe me I KNOW it can be super boring being with other people when you have things you want to be doing that are of more personal interest, it happens to me a lot when hanging out with others, but somehow it still seems to me like I'm one of the few people who really gets how to be there FOR someone.
A good way to learn this is to spend time with babies, because you have to just hold them, and hold them, and even though they are sleeping and not doing anything of interest, you still have to just put your life aside and sit there with them bouncing or rocking or whatever it is that's keeping them from screaming. It's boring, but it's important to give of yourself like that and just be what they need. This is true with people who aren't going to scream if you walk away now too though.
When someone wants your attention, wants to share something with you, wants your company, I think it's important not to 'half-ass' it, at least most of the time. They want to show you something - watch the whole thing and stay to make a comment or two. They want to sit together - stay even if you get bored, even if the conversation lulls. They want to share a meal - don't get up from the table the moment you're full if they're still eating. Your cat wants you to pet it - don't just do it in passing, give it a good long cuddle not doing other stuff just focusing on it. Is whatever it is you'd rather be doing really more important than reinforcing your bond of care and respect between you and the other person (or animal)? Is being bored really such a horible thing that avoiding it is more important than another person?
I thnk it's a very valuable social skill to practice waiting on others - by which I mean serving with you time and attention. Think for a moment that you are here for them, make their interests your own, wait for their timing of how long to do something and when to go. Let them choose the topic even if it's not interesting to you. Put aside whatever you're wanting to do and devote yourself to someone for a little while. Wait untill they are ready for you to go. And try not to act antsy and irritated while you do it.
Take a moment to just BE together.