9 signs you prioritize quality over quantity in relationships

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing that things are moving and shaking in your relationships. Don’t worry, that’s natural.

We grow, we evolve and often that means we go in a different direction from some of those close to us.

If this has happened to you recently, maybe you’re wondering whether it’s okay to end a friendship. Or remove yourself from some colleague clique or hobby posse. Or step back from family connections that aren’t positive or nurturing.

Perhaps some of your relationships have come to a natural end already.

Before you go searching for your next crew, I want to share something with you.

That’s the good news that there’s a beautiful option open to you – quality over quantity.

Here are some signs that you prioritize this already. And if you don’t – yet – reading on will show you the brilliant benefits that quality over quantity when it comes to relationships can bring to your life.

1) You treasure your friendships

People talk about ‘working on’ your close relationships.

But I like to talk about treasuring them instead. When you treasure your intimate connections, you’re placing value on them.

This is about them for two things – who they are, and what they bring.

So, you’re seeing them for who they are as individuals, and appreciating them in all their flawed, messy glory.

And you’re appreciating what they bring into your life – perhaps you enjoy a hobby together, or share a passion, make each other laugh until you cry, or know that you’ll always support one another.

This also goes for groups where it just works between you – it’s a magical blend and you all bring something special.

Treasuring your friendships takes time, focus and presence, so you’re naturally going to find that you choose quality over quantity.

Whether that means three treasured connections or thirty will depend on you. There’s no magic number that ensures quality relationships – the key is in the treasuring!

2) You’re willing to let friendships go

 “You have three types of friends in life: Friends for a reason, friends for a season, and friends for a lifetime.”

You’ve probably heard some version of that famous quote, from author and activist Ziad K. Abdelnour.

There’s a purpose to all friendships. It’s okay to let them be what they are. It’s okay that they last for as long as it serves us and the other people involved.

Then it’s okay to let them fall away, if that’s what naturally happens.

It doesn’t mean you’ve ‘failed’ at keeping the friendship alive. It means you haven’t fought the tide of life.

Sometimes we fight it and try to hold onto friendships or keep relationships the same because of anxiety, fear or ego. That’s natural – it’s just good to be aware of it.

Keep the focus on where life’s flow is taking you, and what is aligned with your expansion, heart and soul. That way, you’ll be able to get the best from your connections, all in the perfect timing.

3) You allow friendships to evolve and change

When I had my daughter, the women in my NCT group became wonderful, supportive friends. We met up all the time, and group e-mailed or messaged most days.

We celebrated one another’s parenting wins and really cheered each another on through the hard times.

No one else was interested in discussing fifty shades of baby poo, the agony of cracked nipples or the exact amount of sleep we’d gotten the night before – so thank goodness we had each other!

We formed those friendships for a reason, and they were intense for a season. I also know that many of the connections will last a lifetime – even as an occasional friendly catch up over facebook.

That story was my way of showing you that many relationships aren’t as cut and dried as in Abdelnour’s quote. That’s a good thing to recognise – then just find your own way, in the flow.

4) You keep in touch with key friends from your past

You know the art of letting friendships evolve, settle, simmer and breathe over time.

You know it’s not about numbers, or how often you ‘tick off’ seeing one another.

It does take a little nurturing to keep relationships going over many years, as you’ll naturally move apart and together many times. When you’re not spreading yourself too thin, friends-wise, you can put that time, focus and attention in.

These friends may not align with you completely right now, perhaps. That’s okay. That’s not what it’s about. With old friends you can treasure your shared history as well as enjoying the now.

5) You let each relationship be what it is

if you want to be popular and have friends who care about you stop doing these things 9 signs you prioritize quality over quantity in relationships

“Be courteous to all, but intimate with few, and let those few be well-tried before you give them your confidence.” So says George Washington, and he knew a thing or two about life.

Whatever your circle of acquaintances looks like, and it could be vast, as Abraham Hicks says, “You don’t have to take them all home with you.”

Be courteous to them, as George advised, and in time, maybe with one or two you’ll deepen your intimacy. True intimacy isn’t fast and cheap. It’s based on trust (and that includes self-trust).

If you’re looking to jump in quick with new friends, it’s worth a bit of self-inquiry into your motives. Again, are anxiety, fear or ego running the show?

Think about what we’re doing when we share too deeply, too quickly. Or when we tell everyone everything.

Broadcasting (or maybe boast-casting or fear-casting!) isn’t about intimacy and connection. It’s about looking to fill some need in ourselves rather than enjoying collaboration and equal sharing.

And also, when you’re doing that, you’re not listening well either.

Choosing quality over quantity when it comes to intimate friends is a sign that you’re truly present, engaged and connected with them, and with yourself.

6) You’re a good listener

Quality over quantity means you get to be a great listener. By which I mean, you get great at active listening.

This is defined by mindtools.com as “a conscious effort to hear not only the words that another person is saying but, more importantly, the complete message being communicated.”

You can read more about the key skills involved here. To summarize, these are: paying attention, showing you’re listening, giving feedback, don’t judge, and responding with respect.

Intimacy in your relationships grows these skills, and these skills grow intimacy, so it’s a virtuous circle. As the quality of your relationships improves, life gets richer, deeper and more meaningful.

7) You take time to send friends little gifts, cards and messages

Prioritising quality over quantity means you’re more likely to send a card, little present or message to say ‘thinking of you’ rather than just marking birthdays and anniversaries.

This is a sign of thriving, living friendship.

Why? Well, if you’re intimate with someone, there’ll be in-jokes and references to your hobbies, history and lives that you’ll just naturally want to share.

You’ll also be thinking of them and want to check in when they’re down, busy or in need of a boost.

One of my favourite things to do for friends is take pictures of things that would make them laugh or smile and send them with a little message. Or to send them a song that’ll get them up and dancing, or be like soul-medicine.

And, of course, you remember the birthdays too. I am especially bad at that one, by the way. But I treasure my friends, so I’m trying to get better!

8) You see friends one-to-one

It’s wonderful to get together in big groups, and also for different groups of friends to meet one another.

But there’s nothing quite like one-to-ones with friends when it comes to prioritising quality over quantity.

This is where you can really get intimate, share vulnerabilities, actively listen and be deeply heard in return. It’s where you can geek out with your shared passioned and pet subjects.

It’s also where you can allow different aspects of yourself to come out, and enjoy different collaborations, vibes and sides of yourself.

This doesn’t mean you’re abandoning yourself, shape-shifting to fit in, or people pleasing.

It’s just that one friend brings out your fun side, another really gets romance flicks like you do, and a third is great for giving you a rocket-boost of inspiration.

Prioritise quality and revel in everyone for what they bring. They’ll love you too, because you not only let them be themselves… you celebrate who they truly are!

9) You trust your close connections

When we say we prioritise quantity over quality, we’re showing that we care about how we feel.

We’re prioritizing the trust that comes from vulnerability and intimacy. That trust comes from getting to know someone slowly. From being there for each other, time and time again.

From knowing one another’s flaws, struggles, triggers, hopes and dreams.

From celebrating the successes together, for seeing each other through the failures and for reminding each other that, as Einstein said, “Failure is success in progress.”

And that’s worth its weight in gold.

Final thoughts

As I said, quality doesn’t have a number. But when you value quality over quantity, you’ll treasure your true friendships, let them evolve, nurture them, celebrate them, and see and be seen in them.

So choose quality, and watch the magic of emotional intimacy, trust and deep-dive friendship flow!

Picture of Kelly Mckain

Kelly Mckain

I’m Kelly McKain, the author of over sixty fiction titles – my latest is The Feeling Good Club , a mindfulness series for kids. I love writing, yoga, horses, dancing and spending time in nature – as well as hanging out with my amazing kids and partner. I’m also a qualified Breathwork Facilitator and the founder of Soulsparks , a platform for intuitive guidance, energy healing and exploring non-duality. You can find me on Facebook and Instagram .

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