You Aren’t Too Busy To Be A Friend, You’re Just A Bad Friend

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You know the most annoying thing about somebody telling you they’re “too busy” to return your phone call or text you back? Other than the fact that saying they’re “too busy” is total bullshit, this person really has the audacity to assume you aren’t intelligent enough to decode said bullshit. Oh, you’re “too busy” with your 40-hour workweek and lounging around in your pajamas binge-watching some show on Netflix to press a few keys on your iPhone? I’m sorry; I thought you were a friend who valued our face-to-face interaction from time to time. I obviously mistook you for someone else. My bad.

Look, I get it. You’re busy. You work, you go to school, you have yoga class, you’ve taken up knitting – whatever. But guess what? You’re not alone. I have a job. I have hobbies and responsibilities just like you. And newsflash – most people are exactly like us, with their filled agendas and to-do lists. Being a busy person isn’t novel; it’s expected. Why then, I wonder, is someone’s busyness so often used as an excuse to get out of being a friend?

“I’m too busy” is way too common of a copout in modern friendships. And yet as it’s become more common, it’s also become more acceptable – hell, maybe even expected – when doling out reasons for neglecting friends and loved ones.  What’s most frustrating about saying “I’m too busy” is that it’s pretty much a direct slap in the face to whomever you’re saying it to. You might as well tell the person, “Everything else in my life is exponentially more important and worth more of my time than you. XOXO.”

The reality is you aren’t too busy. And let’s be honest, unless you’re the president, the pope or a CEO of some Fortune 500 company, few people can justifiably use the “I’m too busy” line – especially in this day and age when you literally have dozens of mediums through which you can communicate with people.

Call me! Text me! Email me! Tweet me! Post on my Facebook timeline! Write a letter (yes, with like a pen and paper)! Gchat? Cool! Facebook chat? Great! Comment on my latest Instagram photo. Send me mildly inappropriate but still safe-for-work Snapchats. Hell, upload a video to YouTube and send me the goddamn link just so I know you A) haven’t stopped breathing and B) aren’t lying in a ditch somewhere.

I mean, REALLY. The possibilities are endless when it comes to communicating in 2013. So why, oh why is the phrase “I’m too busy” becoming the norm? I don’t care if you’re a newlywed with two kids and a mortgage and you’re getting your master’s degree online and he works three part-time jobs. While, yes, you may have less free time than I do, you aren’t any less capable of picking up the phone or sending a 140-character update on your life.

The worst culprits, though, aren’t the ones who repeat “I’m too busy” like it’s the chorus to some shitty Miley Cyrus song. Oh nononono. The worst ones are the so-called friends who keep up with your life via social media and are thus under some false impression that since they know your latest life updates (without ever talking to you about them in real life, of course), they somehow qualify for a Friend of the Year award.

Slow your roll, peeps. That’s not how friendship works. Keeping up with my life on social media (i.e. liking all of my Instagram photos/Facebook updates, retweeting my entire Twitter timeline, subscribing to my Spotify playlists) is not equivalent to keeping up with me in, oh, this thing called REAL LIFE.

In short, the more insistent you are that you’ve been “too busy” to be a friend, the more likely it is that you’re just a bad friend. Think about it. Saying something like, “I’ve been too busy, but let’s hang out soon,” or “I’ve been too busy, but I’ll call you sometime” and not actually following up on those promises is essentially the same thing as saying, “I’m never going to talk to you again until we randomly run into each other at this coffee shop and I’m forced to interact and maintain a conversation with you.”

If you don’t have time to be a friend, say that. It’s better than pretending to be something you’re not. Because the fact of the matter is, if I send you dozens of text messages that you never respond to, you aren’t my friend. You’re a black hole, sucking away my time, energy, and consideration.

And I’m too busy for that. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

Mekita is a writer living in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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