The value of time

Recently, I was taught an important life lesson: if you don’t value your time, nobody else will.

In the framework of business, this makes sense. There are a limited number of hours in the day. Every hour should thus be spent trying to maximize your worth, either directly or indirectly. If you spend time on something, it should be because you know you’ll get something in return.

When I initially tried to frame this in the perspective of friendships, I struggled. I don’t charge my friends for conversations. I don’t send invoices to friends for time spent together (even if I’ve joked about it). Fundamentally, friendships are not transactional. If you treat a friendship as transactional, the friendship breaks down. Friendships are a give and take situation where nobody keeps score.

In valuing my friends’ time, I’m technically going out on a limb. I don’t know if I’ll ever get the time investment back. But that’s okay. Since they’re my friends, I rest assured that they value my time at least as much as I value theirs: it’s a balance based on trust.