This fallacy ruins your social life

There’s a social bias I’ve observed, it might already have a name, I just call it the “Time-Served Fallacy”.

It is the sense of connection you get with someone simply because you’ve spent a lot of time with them, or you’ve known them for a long time, or both.

People often get this with their workmates. They think their workmates are also their friends simply because they see them every day for years. Or cousins you grew up with, or even a long-term partner.

You get the sense that the more time we spend together, the better our connection must be.

Except this isn’t necessarily true.

A connection isn’t measured on time served. This is a quantity measurement that gives you no meaningful information.

What’s the value of a friendship that lasted 20 years if it was fake and forced the entire time? What’s the value of a 10 year “connection” with your boss if he fires you to save a few dollars for his shareholders?

Connections are measured on quality. Questions like these help you figure out the depth and value of your conections:

How safe are you to be radically honest with each other?

Do they have your back when you’re struggling?

Do they celebrate your wins without resentment?

How clear and respected are the boundaries between you?

Is the love unconditional (you’re loved even when you can’t provide anything)?

How much of a good fit connection do you have?

Many people aren’t measuring these things. They just unconsciously measure the time served. As a result, they waste time in long-term connections that were never really all that meaningful.

And worst of all, they’ll prioritise someone simply because of time-served over someone who’s a much better connection, like the person who loses touch with their friends to spend all their time with a toxic partner, or the rather who drops everything for his boss instead of setting boundaries so he can play with his son.

Get your priorities straight.

For more on this topic, check out my longer video “The Difference Between Attraction, Connection & Relationships”

One Response

  1. A brutal way to test your connections is to stop providing value for a short period of time (e.g. advice, leadership, entertainment). See who loses interest and who stays

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