How To Not Take People For Granted

The Party Scientist
3 min readJan 16, 2024

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There I was… crying in a sensory deprivation tank.

I had been inside floating in the abyss for three hours.

The final hour was characterized by sadness. Sadness from a thought experiment: What would it be like to lose my best friends and partner? If they died? If they left me? If they were suddenly gone?

Life would go on, yes. But there would be a void left behind. There would be a longing for years to come for the same company. There would be lost joy. Life would suck until I had replaced them.

The thought experiment led to a lot of emotion. I imagined being alone in my living room, having taken them for granted, wallowing in pain.

I don’t want to be someone who behaves as if they’ll be around forever. I want to embrace a different attitude.

I said to myself in tears: “I’m so lucky.”

This is the new attitude, the opposite of taking someone for granted. It’s to remember how lucky you are to have people in your life who care.

In the darkness of a salty float tank, 2 hours in, I set the intention.

I will stop taking my loved ones for granted.

Today, I want to explore what this means.

To take your relationship with someone for granted.

  • To stop making an effort.
  • To assume they’ll always be there.
  • To treat them poorly.
  • To not express gratitude toward them.
  • To be hot and cold toward them.
  • To be absent-minded around them.
  • To not prioritize quality time with them.
  • To focus on their flaws and forget their strengths.

For a long time, my default mode was to take people for granted. My life was about me. My joy. My achievements. I wasn’t concerned about the well-being of others. As my business and life purpose have evolved, I’ve realized the greatest joy in life is to witness my positive impact on others.

As I’ve matured, I’ve understood what the opposite of taking someone for granted is like…

To be grateful for every second of your relationship with someone.

  • To remember how lucky you are.
  • To give them your quality attention.
  • To put down your phone.
  • To not only spend time with them but real quality time.
  • To prioritize relationships over self-centered achievement.
  • To do things for others that actually improve their well-being.
  • To remember that there will be a last time you see them.

When you adopt the attitude of I’m SO Lucky, your quality of presence changes. You become more attentive, forgiving, compromising, appreciative, and in-the-moment. Small things that would normally upset you don’t matter anymore. Their upsetness is no longer a chore.

When you adopt this attitude, life becomes less about ME ME ME and more about being good company for others.

That’s the irony of Western culture. Western culture tells you that material success, personal achievement, and personal beauty will make you happy. Not as much as implementing the I’m SO Lucky attitude. When you shift from yourself to others, more happiness comes easily.

This explains the differences in happiness.

Summary

To take your loved ones less for granted, you’ll have to switch from a self-centered life to a relationship-centered life.

The I’m SO Lucky attitude is characterized by experiencing gratitude for the relationship and not sweating the small stuff in the relationship. The attitude applies when you’re in the presence of another human but also when you’re deciding to allocate your time — on yourself or on others.

Key Recommendation

The next time you’re with someone you love, remember how lucky you are.

If you’re feeling thankful, could you like or comment on this article? What wisdom do you have to share with other readers? We’d love to hear your additions.

If you liked this, you’ll like my blog about the science of joy and human connection applied to leadership. Sign up to access my best tools.

Thanks for spreading healthier human connections 🧠 — J

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The Party Scientist

Human Connection & Belonging Strategist | Professor of Shared Joy | I help leaders reinvent how they connect their people and build community