Home Blog Other|PR Can we please figure out a different way to say “I’m busy”?

Can we please figure out a different way to say “I’m busy”?


Let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of the following scenario:

Friend asks you: “Hey, (insert name here), how have you been?’

You reply: “I’m soooo busy. I can hardly see straight right now.”

OK, so maybe you don’t exaggerate that much, but you’d probably agree that the answer to “how are you?” is “so busy” about 90 percent of the time, right?

Busy Bee

Why is that?

And, isn’t that a terrible way to answer that question?

Let’s break this down a bit. I know this sounds mundane, but I’d like to outline why I think this is a horrible answer to that question.

1–We’re all busy. So just stop with the busy glorification.

It’s been said many times before, so I’m not going to beat this to death. But, please stop talking about how busy you are, because we’re bored with it. Your busy doesn’t trump my busy. It doesn’t trump anyone’s busy. We’re all busy in our own ways.

2–It really limits your conversation.

So, if you’re actually trying NOT to start a deep conversation with a friend or colleague, I guess, by all means, you should say “I’m so busy!” However, if you actually do want to talk to people, saying “I’m really busy” is about the same as saying “I’m really busy, so if you don’t mind, I have a lot of things to do right at this moment, so I’m going to go do them ASAP.” On the other hand, if instead of the “busy” line you picked out one thing you’ve been up to lately, that might spur the discussion in a whole new direction. Try it out the next time you chat with a friend. Let me show you. Friend: “Arik, how the heck are you?” Me: “Fantastic. I have shingles. I landed a new client that may lead me to a once-in-a-lifetime golf opportunity. And, I just got back from the Dells with my kids.” All sorts of topics from there!

3–And if you’re a consultant, it’s ABSOLUTELY the wrong thing to say

After all, if you keep telling friends and colleagues you’re so busy, guess what they’re going to think. You’re too busy to refer new business to. And I can tell you, that’s NOT what you want people to think. You want people to think you’re busy, sure, but not so busy that you’re not taking on new work. It’s a fine line. Work it.

4–Last, but not least, it’s just plain lazy.

See #2 above. By saying “I’m busy” you’re either telling people to bug off, or that you’re super lazy. Either way, not great for you. Find another avenue.

So, here’s my advice: Give my idea in #2 above a try. Pick out a couple SPECIFIC things that are going on in your personal or professional life recently and expand on those instead of relying on the “I’m so busy” line.

Report back in one month with your findings.

I’ll be waiting…

photo credit: Honigbiene via photopin (license)



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