According to relationship coach and author Kira Asatryan, using the “busy” excuse is harming our friendships. 

Her three reasons why it might be time to eliminate the term “busy” in social interactions?

  1. “Everyone is busy.” Anyone can claim it at any time so it has become meaningless.
  2. “It’s open to (negative) interpretation.” The person on the receiving end will usually assume a negative reason for this excuse.
  3. “It means ‘not right now.’” The object of this response has dropped on the priority list of the subject leading to feelings of rejection.

Instead of using the term “busy,” the author proposes three better, if more time consuming and even uncomfortable, options:

  1. “Be more specific.” Give explicit reasons for declining and don’t forget to show interest anyway.
  2. “Set a time frame.” Explain why you are busy and let them know when things will ease up.
  3. “Determine if you need to have a difficult conversation.” Having the uncomfortable “break-up” talk instead of continuing to “ghost” someone.

I would add that the term “busy” can also have damaging effects on relationships in one’s own household. “Too busy” for the kids? “Too busy” for date night? “Too busy” to tackle at least part of the “honey-do” list? “Too busy” to have a real conversation?

Too often, “busy” means “I’m simply too busy to be bothered with you.” Maybe we need to re-examine our priorities and the use of our time in an increasingly noisy world.