It’s that one word that we have all used at one time or another. It seems harmless when you use it, but little do you know that when you use it you are slowing killing a perfectly good friendship. Think back to recent voice mails, texts, and emails you have left your friends. Do they go something like: “Sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier but I have been busy. I’m just busy as usual. I’d love to get together but I’m busy.” The single word is ‘busy.’ This is driving your friends away and it’s time to stop saying it. Instead of saying ‘I’m busy,” try these three alternatives:
  1. Be specific. Instead of just saying your busy let your friends know what you are doing. This will take more time and effort, but it’s worth saying. This will let your friends know how you are and what is happening in your life. This will also help generate closeness in the relationship. For example, say your friend invites you to her birthday party. Instead of saying you can’t go because your are busy, let her know why. Let her know that you husband has a work event that evening and she would really like to be there with him. He will be receiving an award he has worked very hard at. Feel the difference? The second message explains why and doesn’t leave your friend with that blown-off feeling.
  2. Set up another time to get together. If you are working on a project at work, let your friend know and let them know the time frame. Ask your friend if they can get together in a week or so. Even if it turns out to be longer, your friend will appreciate that you expressed a desire to get together. It’s alright to ask for a few dates if the first one doesn’t work.
  3. Is it time for that difficult conversation? Is it time to confront the dark side of “busy?” We all know, “being busy” can be a way to disengage from a friendship that we don’t really like or feel fulfilled in. This is also distancing yourself from a friendship without ever explaining why. If you’re using “busy” to distance yourself, then it’s time to ask yourself if you need to have that difficult conversation. It may be difficult to “break up” with a friend, but some friendships deserve that conversation. It can cause great sadness for both parties, but it will feel better than “busying” yourself to death in the friendship.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. She has helped many people in difficult friendships. In the end they leave feeling better and have a better understanding of what they are looking for in a friendship. For more relationship tips follow her on Facebook and Twitter, or visit her web page at

Leave a Comment