Quality Time

Quality time is a very American concept – at least in my (still) European mind.  This notion was confirmed by my recently visiting friend from Germany who didn’t quite know what to make of the term and – once I explained it to her – couldn’t think of a German equivalent (although it is easy to translate).

Mom and daughter spending quality time, pic: boloji.com

So, by way of explanation, quality time is time one spends with somebody one cares about but not just any time, time that matters, time that is spend doing something interesting, fun, engaging together.  A dad playing baseball with his kids is quality time, a dad sitting next to his kid, one day trading online (usual the father, at least up to a certain age) the other playing “Ninja Jump” on the iPhone (happening right now in my very living room) is not quality time.

A couple having a nice dinner, talking a walk, even watching a movie together = quality time.  A couple cleaning out the garage (happened last week in this very garage) = not quality time.

The expression is very commonly used.  It seems generally reserved for the private space as the examples above indicate.  It is being used, though, on occasion ironically in contexts like “I really have to spend some quality time with this spreadsheet today”   implying that one will have to really concentrate on and engage with the spreadsheet to get my work done.

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