What is the best (e.g. most efficient) way to spend time with someone with the aim of deepening a friendship or relationship?
It depends. But, that is a great (and relevant) question! It shows that you care (or that you are a planner).
In this day with the world passing us by at lightning speed, it is important to ensure that we are spending time with those that we love. If we neglect the ones we love, it will affect our relationship with that person (or people) and the effect that it will have may not be the type that we want and may actually end up in a dissolved relationship. But, you must realize that and in so realizing, are asking a question such as this.
Maximize Your Time
Another way of saying mazimize your time is to say that it is good to aim for a return on investment (ROI). For example, while it is possible to sit on the couch and watch television together, this may not cause your significant other to feel like he or she has done something (and the same goes for you). One would hope that love is enough to hold the relationship together but in the meantime, if you have limited time together, why not maximize it so that you ensure that that is not a reason to stray.
So, using the example of watching television together, how about going out to a movie. If possible, select one that you both like or that your significant other has been talking about seeing. If money is tight and you generally watch whatever movie is available, based on the funds (cost), pick out the theater and maybe grab the tickets early, with a card that says "This is good for one bag of movie theater popcorn" or something like that.
Whatever you choose to do, dress it up a bit and make it fun. In that way, it is memorable and more likely to be something that is desired as a repeat event.
Strategize What You Like To Do
Make a list of what you like to do. Do the same for your partner. In this way, you can plan out the events and things you can do together in the future.
Some things will be those types of things that you do on the weekends or over extended periods of time, like holidays. But, also ensure that you include things that you can do together at minimal cost and at home. For example, maybe you want to include baking cookies together on that list, as that is easy to do at home (with the correct ingredients available or on the next shopping list) and for minimal cost.
Plan for Change
By including at-home activities on your list, you are also planning for the last minute change, such as having to work late, illness, kids', community events, etc. Continue to be understanding of changes that may affect your plans together. But, also, if it is something really important, for which you have purchased tickets or something, be sure to communicate with your partner ahead of time so that he or she can protect that time slot
By planning, but also allowing for interruptions, you can go with the flow but also build your relationship in a positive way, by spending quality time together.
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