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  • Dora Nudelman

Being Preoccupied

Sometimes when we spend time with others we fail to be fully present in the experience because we are too busy being preoccupied with something else. Ever go to dinner with a friend who cannot stop texting, or be talking to a loved-one who's mind is obviously somewhere else? We all have moments where we feel lost in our own thoughts, and that’s fine. But when we make plans with others we need to first ask ourselves if we are willing to put those preoccupations to the side. We need to decide where we are going to put our attention and be honest about what we are willing to give, because if we don't make that clear, others might very well misinterpret our introspection for apathy or disinterest.

We need to be honest with ourselves too about when an issue is actually pressing versus when we are trying to figure something out only out of impatience. Can it wait? If so, usually I would recommend putting it on the back-burner because often when we do let go of our preoccupation, the solution comes to us that much quicker. However, if we are still preoccupied and at the same time expected to be around others, we have to think at least a little bit about how others will feel.

In those times I think we are best to employ one of two options: 1) We can choose to put off our engagement so that we can focus completely on what we want and need to focus on in the moment, or 2) We can choose to place our thoughts and concerns on the back-burner and truly enjoy the present moment with whomever we are spending time. Either way we need to make it clear to others of our situation so that they do not take it personally when we cancel our plans with them or if we are a bit preoccupied during our time together (as much as we try not to be). Either way, most people will understand if we just take the time to explain.

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