Driving into work this morning, I thought about how the happiness and satisfaction of relationships depends on balance. Imaging each person on a seesaw, the best relationships work when the emotion desired in the center is actually centered.

He doesn’t love you more than you love him, for example. When the love sits in the center, balanced, you are both working to put the other person first. No one is selfish. No one is a martyr.

For other relationships, this center point is time. I have several where I want more time than the other person is willing to give. I want more attention. I’m on my end of the seesaw, flailing, waving my arms, asking for more. The other person is swinging along through life busy with their own thoughts and obligations.

The contrary is also true. Everyone has had the relationship (be it family or friend) where the person wants more than you can give. It may be time or attention or even pity.

The dramatic friend. The friend who always thinks the world is ending. The friend who needs you to babysit her kids so she can go to a party you aren’t invited to. No thanks.

The best friendships are those where you both go through life on your end of things and when do you have time for each other, everything slides into place naturally. There is no grief or guilt for not having spoken sooner. You’re too happy to be together now.

This year, I’m interested in two points of personal growth: being more disciplined and present. I am guilty of not listening to my husband when he is telling me about his day. I’ve spent all day waiting to get back to him, and yet too often I find myself playing on my phone when he is finally standing in front of me, waving his hands for attention. (Metaphorically, of course. My husband is the least needy person I’ve ever met.)

To 2019 and finding better balance.