Survey: Busyness and lack of time endangering close relationships 1

64% of people don’t feel that they give their close relationships enough time according to a new survey published today

The busyness of modern life is taking its toll on our relationships, according to a new survey released today. Many of the 1,000 people interviewed for the Great Relationships Survey admitted that lack of time was the greatest threat to their relationships.

  • 64% don’t feel that they give their close relationships enough time
  • 44% see their best friends only once a month or less
  • 63% feel regularly stressed or tired
  • 75% agree that there is never enough time to get through the things they need to do each day
  • 28% spend more than 45 hours at work each week
  • 14% don’t take at least one day off from work
  • 97.5% admit their relationships could be improved

These are just some of the comments from respondents asked about the greatest threats to their relationships:

“Time and prioritising who to spend time with. And too much on the “to-do” list.”

“Time (not enough) + children (third on the way) = tiredness and busyness.”

“Trying to fit too many people in. Not seeing friends enough so that we never get past the ‘catching up phase’ and actually just ‘hang out’. I want to live my life with my friends, not just tell them about life when I see them!”

Relationships consultant and former BBC journalist, Sarah Abell, who compiled the survey for her book “Authentic: Relationships from the Inside Out” said, “Long working hours, the demands of parenting, never-ending ‘to-do’ lists, household chores, overflowing inboxes and the pressures to have it all, do it all and look fantastic are causing many of us to feel stressed.”

“The problem is we can’t have great relationships if we are too stressed, tired or busy. We can fool ourselves that a slower day IS coming, that children only need quality time, that busyness is an OK excuse for not seeing our friends, that our spouse (if we have one) will understand if we are too tired (again) to have sex or that we’ll feel better once we’ve had a holiday. But the truth is life is not going to change unless we make the choice to do things differently.”

In her book, Sarah Abell identifies three different attitudes towards time; the engines, the anchors and the sailing boats.

  1. The engines – are always busy. Their mantras are ‘I’m so tired’ or ‘Not now – I’m busy’. They are always on the go and hardly ever relax. They feel driven to keep going and believe that if they don’t do whatever needs doing – it won’t get done. If they don’t feel stressed themselves – those close to them often do! Many engines find delegating difficult. Some engines are compelled by circumstance to be so busy but others are driven by some internal motor. They find stillness uncomfortable and feel time is being wasted if they aren’t achieving something. Engines often need help to have fun, relax and to learn how to prioritise their time – separating the urgent from the important. On the plus side engines make things happen and keep the show on the road!
  2. The anchors – prefer to take life easy. Perhaps rather too easy! They tend to be much more passive or lazy than your average person. They enjoy relaxing, having fun and try and get away with the minimum work or chores. Their mantras are ‘I’ll do it later’ and ‘Can’t you just chill?’. Some anchors just feel entitled to an easy life and don’t see why they should exert themselves. Others don’t want to push themselves forward because they are worried of failure and believe not trying is better than having a go and getting it wrong. Anchors often need encouragement to take the initiative or lend a hand. However, on the plus side they can help engines learn how to take a more relaxed approach to life.
  3. The sailing boats – have a better work/life balance. They understand the times to be busy but also appreciate when to let go and enjoy a slower pace. They have healthier boundaries and are able to say ‘no’ when they have to. However, they are also happy to say ‘yes’ to a demand or request if they think they can do it. Sailing boats are often the people who have looked at their priorities and decided where they will invest their time, energy and money. They make sure their most important relationships get the best of them – not just the dregs left after every thing else. (Jesus was the classic example of a sailing boat!)

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