If someone spends quality time with another person, that means they are spending precious time together. In other words, they are spending the kind of time together that can help strengthen their relationship.
Example: A boy and his parents are in the living room together, but their focus is split between different things. The dad is sitting down watching TV, the mom is browsing the web on her computer, and the boy is playing games on his tablet.
Occasionally, they might share a few words with one another, but other than that there is not much interaction between them. Technically, one could say they are spending time together, but would you classify this time together as “quality”? Probably not. After all, the family isn’t really paying attention to each other, they’re all doing their own thing.
But now, the mother says: “When dinner is ready, let’s all sit down at the table and spend some quality time together while we eat.” What makes this time together “quality” as opposed to what they were doing before? It’s because not only will they be around each other, but their focus will likely be on each other too. Spending time together in such a way can help to strengthen their bond.
The earliest I could find the exact phrase “quality time” in print is from the mid 20th century. For example, it is seen in the Eureka Times Standard newspaper, 1973. There is a part from it that reads:
“‘I’ve learned the difference between quantity time and quality time with my wife and kids,’ he says. ‘Merely sitting in the same room watching TV isn’t real quality time. At our home, we do things together.’ “
- Austin has been so busy with work lately that he hasn’t been able to spend quality time with family.
- He took his wife out to eat so they could have some quality time together.
Tip: Looking for the meaning of more common sayings and expressions? To find them, use the alphabetical list at the top. Simply choose a letter.