Monday Notes: Intentionality

Intention is what you intend or plan to do. Intention is doing something on purpose.

When my daughters were younger, I made sure to not only spend time with them separately, but also together. Although they are the same gender, they have distinct personalities, and one way to honor that I saw them as individuals, was to plan different activities with each of them. For example, my youngest loved plants and animals, so if we visited a new city, I’d take her to a botanical garden. My oldest likes to eat, so we frequented restaurants. The relationship I developed with them (and that we continue to have) was and is intentional.

Being intentional takes effort. It doesn’t just happen. The relationship I currently have with my husband is an example. We wake up each day with the intent to be married and committed to one another. We spend every Sunday together: we choose a breakfast spot; we grocery shop; we have conversation. If one of my husband’s friends wants to do something with him on a Sunday, he declines; I do the same. We are dedicated to cultivating and maintaining a relationship. We are intentional with this commitment.

In addition to my daughters and spouse, I’m intentional with friends. One way I’ve done this is to be as honest as possible. If I see the relationship is faltering, then I say something. I want to ensure that friends know I care about our friendship, and if any way possible, I’d like to continue being friends. In my opinion, a friendship you care about is one where you can raise important issues, such as why there may have been a lag in communication or why you haven’t seen the person. Next, you can intentionally create space for the friendship to shift, grow, or dissipate.

Another way I’m intentional with friends is scheduling time to talk or be with them. Sometimes, my life is busy. Other times, I’ve built in time to be quiet and rest. In between, I am intentional about with whom I talk to and when. Most of my friends are similar; they are busy. And if we want to engage in authentic conversations, we schedule a chat. I have a standing Zoom “appointment” with a friend I’ve known since first grade. My sister, who I consider a friend, oftentimes has to schedule weeks ahead to speak with me. I have a host of friends who have to look at their calendars, so we can choose a date to meet in person and have hours long conversations. We are intentional about interacting and communing.

But everyone doesn’t see the value in intentionality.

A friend recently proclaimed scheduling time to speak as “weird.”  “I schedule an appointment to go to the doctor. I don’t schedule an appointment to speak to friends. I can just call you in the car or whenever.”

This reaction isn’t frequent, but when it is, I assure people who disagree that it’s not weird, and we’re all different. While some see being intentional as something cold and unfeeling, I see it as the opposite. In my opinion, it makes the person that much more special. I’d much rather know someone carved out a piece of time to listen to me, than to be yelling at drivers, their kids, or practicing lines for a show (as one friend used to do), while I share the latest details of my life. The latter seems like fitting someone into existing distractions, while the former seems, well, a bit more intentional.

I know this is a matter of perspective, so let me know what you think in the comments.


84 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Intentionality

  1. I have found that intentionality is a concept that crawled into my mind sometime during the past year—my spouse and I use the term from superficial things like “I want to use a hook for the stag horn fern that looks intentional” to more important matters: “I want to make sure that my daughter understands that my decision is intentional and not off the cuff.” This is my first visit to your blog but your post has me thinking it will not be my last. It resonated. Ciao!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Most of my friends live in different states so I really do have to plan things out if they come out . Same when I visit the state that most of my friends are in. I try to schedual a bit of time with each one .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. I think that’s another factor—how far away friends live from one another. If we’re nearby, then scheduling may/may not be a thing, but definitely if we’re both in different states.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This a wonderfully written post 😊 It reminds me that intentionality strengthens/affirms our boundaries with others. And those who protest our intentionality are the same people who wouldn’t respect our boundaries.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Bahanur, it’s interesting that you’d say this. I had a version of this post that explained how not accepting the idea is a way of not accepting a time boundary with your friend. Thank you for affirming this idea ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Although I love being spontaneous, I think you are very wise to realize that it doesn’t always work. If you have people, and relationships that truly matter to you, then you need to be very intentional about making time for them. And when life gets busy, that means actually scheduling time. Nothing wrong with that! I’m still in close touch with three friends I met at a church many years ago. I have’t gone to that church in over two decades, but I am still very close to those three women. And the reason is, we are very intentional about getting together for a meal every month. If we weren’t, I’m quite sure we would have lost touch by now, and I’d be the poorer for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. First I must compliment you on your ability to address timely issues with clarity and straightforwardness; it is always a pleasure to read about subject matter derived from the current reality.
    You just summed it up, modern lives must be based on structure, as the demands are manifold, I agree without intentionality chaos will ensue.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love that you fostered their own interests and encouraged time apart as much as time together. My 2 sisters and I are very alike but also very individualized human beings and I love that about our relationship!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jen! As a mother, it’s tough when you have same-gender children. It’s so easy to think they’re the same because they’re both girls, but as you know from having sisters, everyone is totally different (and should be treated as such).

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I often schedule plans to see friends over coffee. Even for friends who live locally, there’s no guarantee that we’ll just run into each other at the grocery store, and even then, who wants to spend time chatting in a busy grocery store with a bunch of perishable items in their cart?

    I sometimes schedule calls, although that’s more if I have something specific to talk about with a friend or relative and we’ve been playing phone tag; phone call isn’t my primary form of conversation. I’d prefer to meet up in person, and my family/friends live close enough such that in person meet ups, even with COVID precautions are generally feasible. (And yes, I’m aware I am fortunate in this regard.) But I’m Zoomed out and I don’t like anyone enough to have a standing Zoom with them for social reasons! (Even during the pandemic, I skipped Zoom birthday parties, and when I received Zoom invites, I declined them and proposed a phone call as an alternative).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this affirming response, JYP! I’m with you on the grocery store chit-chat. Usually, if I’m out and about, it’s because I’ve got things to do, so I’d rather not stop and hear all the updates lol

      I also understand about the Zoom fatigue. It’s a lot. I think it’s funny how we have all of these forms of communication, but I’m not sure we’ve really thought about what’s best or what someone’s personal preference may be, which also may stall how or if we relate to someone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think part of the intentionality is knowing what facilitates you being at your best to connect. Scheduling a friend date at 7 AM isn’t intentional if I’m too sleep-deprived to be a good friend. Scheduling a Zoom call isn’t intentional if I hate Zoom and can’t wait to leave. Intentionality here would mean scheduling so we both show up for each other properly.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Yes! Things that didn’t need to be intentional in the past, like scheduling time with friends, need a commitment now because in general people have so many activities going on in their life that it’s easy for forget…everything. I sometimes wonder if the abuelas didn’t have it easier…:-)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. As I’ve grown older, and busier by design, I find it better to either text ahead to any of my friends to see if it’s a good time to call or for us to set a time that will be best to talk to one another.

    It’s the same with a Google Meet or a Zoom call/video chat. We plan ahead. We want to be able to gift that time to each other and truly catch up without distractions.

    Most people simply text me and I, them, but we always plan time for anything past that.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. Great post for friendship inspiration, Katherin! The intentional approach seems most helpful when both people have busy schedules.
    I have different ways of connecting with my friends. With one friend, we mark our plan on the calendar two weeks ahead. Another friend is impossible to pin down – so we do things when her time allows at the last minute. I have friends I seldom talk to and I love your idea. I think it would foster a closer relationship and I’ll definitely keep it in mind. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you, Judy. I’m glad you mentioned this. Each friend/friendship requires something different. I do have people like you described, who it seems impossible to speak to, so we have to be a bit more flexible.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I think if you want something to flourish you must be intentional about it. I try to see my four closest nyc friends once a month. I write in my planner…makes plans with x. When I see it I text and we make plans. 3 of my closest friends live in other parts of the country…we have group texts and text each other almost daily. I specifically remember thungs they’re doing/going through and ask about it, it’s too easy to let things slide. FYI..I schedule going to the gym, and household chores like laundry and marketing…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I like the word flourish. We wouldn’t buy a plant and then leave it to fend for itself, checking in whenever the thought crossed our minds. That’s not how some plants grow.

      Somehow, I also knew you’d understand this 😉 I write down my gym days for the week, too, and I wash only on Sundays.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I need to be intentional with my friends because they aren’t up to just being spontaneous as we were in our youth! I (or my friend) connects with me online and we’ll mention we’ve been thinking about each other, then we figure out a weekend when we can get together. We make appointments to meet in person to catch up, instead of just chatting on the phone. It feels like a wonderful break in my normal schedule to be able to sit and talk with a friend.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Incredible post Kegarland. Very informative blog about Internationality. I see your point about intentions, to plan and organize is key when it comes to intentions. You have your own intentions and yes it’s crucial to call friends with the intention of talking to them and if it is a serious issue the friends will have to show up regardless of whether they are busy or not.

    It’s good to have good Intentionality long story short🙌

    Liked by 3 people

  14. I can see the value in intentionality. I probably let things happen by accident, to an extreme fault. If you ever want to do something intentional like a FaceTime/Zoom to say hello, let’s do it. Because if you don’t already have someone, I can be like your seattle bureau of half baked ideas. Good essay, K.

    Liked by 3 people

  15. From an entirely different aspect of intentionality upon which you have opined in the post is that we must realize that intentionality to commit dreadful or evil ways our thoughts become just as evil as the acts themselves. We must constantly consider our motives and remain congruent with a Christian faith directed by God through the Holy Spirit. Thought can contaminate us just as dreadfully as our evil acts.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I admire your commitment to living intentionally and fostering your relationships. By living more passively, I’ve allowed many of my relationships to slip away. We need to intentionally foster relationships, and spontaneity is helpful too!

    Liked by 5 people

  17. Setting intentions can take on another meaning, one I’m writing about (not ready yet), but your line of thinking is the beginning of that train of thought. The “on purpose” part is right on.

    The idea of calling someone on a whim can and does work if a relationship is well-established, in my view. I know your circumstances and you know my circumstances and if one of us can’t talk when you or I call it’s taken at face value.

    This works less well in newly cultivated relationships or say coworker-turned-friend relationships. If every time they call me while they’re in the car and I say I can’t talk now or not answer the call, the relationship may fizz out. So, the intention to nurture a relationship could end up being viewed as one-sided when in fact it may not be that way at all.

    People with multiple responsibilities need to intentionally set time to nurture relationships, right? So if the car phone call can’t or doesn’t happen it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have an interest in talking to them at that time.

    Anyway you know what I’m talking about, I won’t go on and on about this.

    The part that I’m writing about with regards to intention setting has to do with the quantum field of energy. Don’t worry, all the things I’m mentioning I’m writing about will get written eventually, I’m just not in a position right now to release everything… Life has taken some interesting turns lately and I’m not going to stress myself out or berate myself for not publishing my ideas. They’re coming, that I know, I just hope my tribe will still be around when that actually happens. 😀

    Liked by 4 people

    1. That third paragraph is what I’ve recently experienced, except the friend and I have known each other for over ten years. It’s a long story.

      Okay, so what you’re working on is related to what you’ve mentioned before with the energy/frequency convo? I’m really looking forward to seeing how all of these thoughts come together.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. What I’ve learned is to use the present tense, rather than the words “intend” or “will” or “should”. If I say I intend on doing x, I find almost always it doesn’t happen. The intention stays just out of reach. But if I say “I’m contacting you on Friday”, even though Friday is not now, I’m using the present tense. For some reason, speaking in the present tense keeps me in the moment and the intention is more likely to happen (for me). 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 3 people

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