People should make more time for social interactions
By Teppei, Contributor
I think our society has corrupted us enough to make us feel guilty for having fun or for enjoying the company of other people.
The way we interact with other people is determined by both extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Vancouver being the second most unaffordable city in the world dictates how we spend our time by having to work more than eight hours a day or keep multiple jobs to pay rent. Adding all the time we need to spend doing chores or waiting on the phone for hours with your bank leaves us with only a handful of spare hours to dedicate to things we actually enjoy doing.
I moved to Vancouver six years ago and almost immediately was sucked into this go-go-go lifestyle where—at least for myself—needs replaced wants. I found myself working fifty hours per week six days a week. Tired all the time, it was hard to find the energy to do the things I love like write or make music. It was even harder to find the strength to leave the house and be social, especially during those endless dark and rainy winter days. However, I have always thought that social relationships are equally as important as time on your own, so I made sure to dedicate a portion of my free time to building and strengthening those relationships by accepting invites and attending all kinds of social events. Even if these events weren’t the sort of things that I would have chosen to attend, I went for the sake of spending time with the people that little by little I started considering my friends.
I quickly realized how hard (almost impossible) it was to get a “yes” or even a straight quick answer from my friends when I invited them to do something. Even when what I wanted to do would take place during their free time, they would throw some generic line like: “I don’t know, I am pretty busy. I’ve been working a lot.” Yeah, I know you are pretty busy! That’s why I am asking you to do stuff on your day off!
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I understand that sometimes people feel under the weather or have previous commitments or simply did not want to go. These are all fair reasons for not accepting to hang out with friends. The funny thing is that most of the times, they would end up joining me! The way I perceive it, it’s just that they feel somewhat embarrassed to accept or at least to admit they have some free time to enjoy and amuse themselves.
Once a friend of mine asked me when my partner and I were available to hang out. I wanted to tell him that we had the next four evenings free and that we could meet up whenever suited best for him and his girlfriend. But my partner—born and raised in Vancouver—asked me to pick a day and tell him that was when we could meet up. “I believe that showing oneself too available for other people is a bad thing and makes them seem desperate for attention,” she added. That blew my mind.
I think our society has corrupted us enough to make us feel guilty for having fun or for enjoying the company of other people. It is as if the ultimate and sole purpose of life is self-growth and solo achievements, but the truth is that we are as much social and collective beings as we are individuals.
I believe that our society would greatly benefit from embracing our interconnection with each other. Being part of a community doesn’t make you any less of an individual. On the contrary, our individuality grows stronger and healthier the more input we get from others. Each of us plays an important role in each other’s development. Accept it and enjoy it; we work better as a whole than fractured apart.