The GuardianThe Guardian

I was cycling through friends like toilet paper when a colleague declared: ‘Spend quality time with quality people’

By Antoun Issa

04 Jan 2023 · 2 min read

Editor's Note

A columnist for The Guardian shares how becoming more conscious about how they spend their time, and who they spend it with has positively benefited their life.

Sometimes the most obvious tactics in life are only made clear when the words are spoken aloud by another. So when a middle-aged man, fresh from a divorce, declared to me in our shared office in Beirut, “I’m only going to spend quality time with quality people. No more killing time with anyone for the sake of it,” a flicker suddenly twitched in my naive mid-20s brain.

It hit me right at a point of growing unease with my social surroundings. I was, as we do in our youth, cycling through friends and acquaintances – often in hazy drunken settings – as rapidly as toilet paper.

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