If you work in any business capacity, you’ve probably heard of the term ROI. ROI (or Return on Investment) is basically when evaluating a business decision, before acting, you think about how much effort will you be putting in vs. how much you’ll be getting out. As a cog in the corporate wheel for the better part of the last ten years, I’ve heard this term used often, typically in relation to business decisions being made by the people who weren’t the creatives (money decisions are rightfully, usually kept far away from us) while they evaluated cost vs. effort vs. time for new projects. But while super applicable to the business world, I’ve decided that it’s also pretty relevant to real life.
2017 was rough on a few counts. I threw caution to the wind and leaned into love, which led to a romantic trip to France that went horribly wrong. I also lost two very long-term friends because of a suppressed, long-term issue, which after reaching a boiling point resulted in the dissolution of our friendship. But with the downs, there were many ups. I had some incredible things happen including the birth of my absolutely amazing nephew, met some new people who I feel pretty certain will be friends for life, and got even closer with my family.
These relationship peaks and valleys made me spend some serious time thinking about what I wanted and needed from future relationships, romantic and otherwise. So when I thought about New Year’s resolutions, I decided that one of them would focus on making better choices about whom I spend my time with. And of course, over-scheduling myself less.
A New Yorker by birth (and by heart), I’m New York to the core which means, I’m very guilty of having plans almost every single night of the week and multiple sets of plans each weekend. While this robust social schedule keeps me busy (which I usually find satisfying), it’s also exhausting. I know, some of you are sitting there rolling your eyes at me. Poor girl. Over-scheduled. But so it goes. These are the challenges I’m presented with right now and I’m owning them. Get over it.
So come January 1, I decided to begin rethinking the plans I make and evaluating them based on my self devised criteria of ROI. If the plans didn’t fit them, I wasn’t going:
1. New Friends (or old friends I want to keep!): There was a point in my life where I’d go to everything I was invited to because who knew who you might meet. But the truth is, unless an event comes with a recommendation from a friend that there are people there I “have to meet?”, I’m unlikely to make it a priority. Do I really need to make every single birthday party? Probably not. Now, I evaluate if it’s the type of friend who will get insulted if I don’t show or, someone who really wants me to be there. Then act accordingly.
2. Romantic Possibility: After going to far more Shabbat dinners than I care to admit in the hopes of finding that special someone, I decided to just stop. I’m probably not going to meet my significant other at any of the dinners organized by the million Jewish acronymed associations in NYC. The dinners are a drag, I rarely like the company, and singing zmirot is just not my idea of a fun Friday night. That said, if I’m invited to a party where there will be lots of people I’ve never met, that’s likely to fall firmly into the “attend” category.
3. Professional Networking: I can be convinced to go to the odd ad party and take shots on a rooftop on a Tuesday night if it means I might get a job lead in the near or distant future. Otherwise, leave me alone.
Though friendships (or relationships) should never be calculated, having some set parameters within which to work helps me feel better about making—and keeping—plans. Even when afterwards I’m sleep deprived (and maybe hungover) I no longer feel the resentment I’d sometimes felt at having decided to go to a party or event that I wasn’t all that excited about going to in the first place. So now, when I make time for a social event, it’s because I know I want to be there.