There is one little word that you use all the time and although it seems harmless it is actually slowly killing your friendships. Just take a minute to look at your recent text messages, emails, or Facebook messages and see if you can spot it.
Here is what your messages may look like.
“Hey, I’d love to hang out with you! But unfortunately I am really busy.”
“Sorry, I didn’t get back to you earlier! I have been so busy.”
“How am I doing? You know, just busy like always!”
If you haven’t guessed it already the trigger word that is slowly sabotaging your relationships is the word “busy”. Though it may seem harmless you are actually pushing your friends away every time you use it. There are 2 main reasons why you should find a way to cut this word and the underlying problems it represents from your life as soon as possible.
I just want to be clear that being active and engage in your life is nothing to be sorry for. Being busy in itself isn’t bad but there is a subtle underlying message that will unconsciously push your friends and family away.
Here are some things to remember.
1. Nearly Everyone is Busy.
We live in a fast-paced culture where nearly everyone is busy. Most people are in school, have jobs, take care of kids, or all of the above. There are extracurricular activities, projects, and hobbies that pile up and take time too.
Being busy is actually pretty close to saying that you are alive these days. You can be busy playing a video game, working, designed a new art project, vacationing, or simply painting your nails. Because the word busy is so widely used it has almost started to become meaningless.
The vague nature of the word busy can also lead other people to feel that maybe you are just not interested in spending time with them anymore..
2. Being busy It’s Open to an often Negative Interpretation.
When being busy is part of living a full life, saying you are busy starts to sound like your important activities are more important than someone else’s activities.
Even though you may be honest in what you are saying and may even be implying that you would rather be spending time with them rather than working so much they may be hearing the opposite.
There will be times that we are legitimately busy. Where what we are working on takes our full focus because we are engaged in something important to us. When we are busy it is strongly recommended that we find another way to word what we are doing so that our friends know that they are still important to us while we finish up what we are doing.
Here are some tricks to help you reduce your use of the word busy and stay connected with your friends.
1. Don’t be Vague.
The easiest way to keep connected with your friends without using the word busy is by telling them briefly what you are doing. It may take a bit more time, but it takes the guessing out of the relationship. Instead of your friend wondering what is going on and why they cannot get ahold of you keep them involved with your life by giving them an idea of what you are up to.
“I would love to hang out but, I am at Justin’s ball game. I hope you guys have an awesome time!”
“Tonight Rick and I are working on an awesome new solar panel technology! I am excited to hear how the movie is, I have wanted to see that one.”
Doesn’t that feel a lot better than “I would love to, but I am really busy.”
2. Set a Specific Time Frame if you can.
If you are going to be busy for a while because of finals or a big project at work, it can help to let your friends know when you will no longer be busy. That way they can reconnect with you once things get less chaotic and you can both look forward to some fun times.
Even if the time frame has to be adjusted, letting your friends know how long you think you will be occupied will mean a lot to them in the end.
“Hey I have this big deadline for the new electric car designs at work this week but I should be free next weekend if you want to do something then?”
3. Check yourself to see if you actually are avoiding that person.
Sometimes we actually are avoiding spending time with or talking to a friend or family member. We look for excuses to avoid their call and make what we are doing sound a lot more important than it really is in order to stay away from them.
It’s almost like we subconsciously hope that they will just fade away into the distance and we won’t have to face whatever it is that we are really avoiding. Sometimes this type of being busy is called ghosting. It is where you distance yourself without even explaining why. Sometimes this is because of an argument or disagreement but other times it is more subtle than that.
I know I have been guilty of this one before. After being around someone who was draining emotionally, I used to find that I was too tired or busy for them the next time they called. It is times like this that I really need to be honest with myself about how I am feeling.
If this is why you are finding that you are busy then it might be time to have a heart-to-heart conversation with the person. It is much better for you and them if you sit down, be honest with how you feel and see if you can resolve the issue or if it is best to move forward separately.
In the end, we should phase out using the word busy and make sure the next time you are with your friend that you take the time to fully engaged and be present with them so that they can feel how much you care about them.
What do you do to keep good communication in your relationships? Let us know your experiences in the comments below.