to find the reply 'really busy' to 'how are you?' every single time really irritating

(123 Posts)
HuiledOlive Fri 10-Jan-14 21:56:36

Its a pandemic.

We're just crazy busy, non-stop busy, busy busy busy.

Do these people never have a slower period? Never consider say stopping Violet's clarinet lessons or Boris's cricket?

And always with a lofty sigh.

RandyRudolf Fri 10-Jan-14 22:00:34

A bit busy at the mo, back laters.

MammaTJ Fri 10-Jan-14 22:05:01

OK, doing fuck all even though it's a lie, does that suit you better?

It has nothing to do with Violets clarinet lessons or Boris's cricket really, at this time of year? either, more to do with me being a student nurse, DP working full time and having two youngish DC, and an older one planning a wedding.

I have an exam on 29th of this month as well as having to put in full time hours on placement.

I am BUSY!! If you can't deal with it, even though you are not the one actually living it, with this level of crazy busy, then stay the fuck away!

sebsmummy1 Fri 10-Jan-14 22:05:16

Stop asking grin

MamaMary Fri 10-Jan-14 22:07:57

I get you. I hate being busy all the time - it's okay for short periods. I just say no to things. Like a big family gathering on DH's side last month. I just didn't go.

I could easily be busy all the time, but I don't do it, largely for my health TBH.

HuiledOlive Fri 10-Jan-14 22:08:05

I might be too busy to ask

I'm far too busy for this at the moment. You know how it is, busy, busy, busy!

< lofty sigh >

Iwannalaylikethisforever Fri 10-Jan-14 22:17:26

I'm super insecure so maybe it's just me but when I get that reply, I assume they mean either
Too busy for you
None-yer (none of your business)
Ohhhh I'm soooooo important, I'm in suuuuuuchhhhhh demand, must dash!

BrickorCleat Fri 10-Jan-14 22:19:58

I feel so sorry for these bustly bristly busy busy bees.

They clearly can't organise their lives efficiently.

And they just sound so, I don't know, silly and self-important. Like the policeman in Noddy.

Rahahaharubbish Fri 10-Jan-14 22:25:44

On the subject of cricket, winter nets start here tomorrow... just sayin,

Rahahaharubbish Fri 10-Jan-14 22:28:13

And posting prematurely it would appear!That's because I'm so busy I'm multitasking by watching CBB and drinking gin at the same time wink

HuiledOlive Fri 10-Jan-14 22:30:44

I am just, y'know soooo important! Busy busy busy me. Just never stops here <head tilts back, ironic eyeroll>

HuiledOlive Fri 10-Jan-14 22:32:47


HuiledOlive Fri 10-Jan-14 22:33:26


BookroomRed Fri 10-Jan-14 22:34:43

In reply, I say 'Gosh, poor you. I am a total sloth. Not a thing going on. I don't know why I bother climbing out of bed in the morning.' grin

HuiledOlive Fri 10-Jan-14 22:35:53

Christ even my phone is too busy to post properly!
MammaTJ might you be slightly less busy after your exam on the 29th? Would you share that less busyness?

magimedi Fri 10-Jan-14 22:38:19

Never mind.

As my late MIl uses to say:

"Busy hands are happy hands"

<runs away>

Hassled Fri 10-Jan-14 22:39:14

Sometimes I want to ask the busy people why, exactly, are they busy? What are they busy with? The people with 36 children working 100 hour weeks will never pull the "so busy" thing, I've noticed.

EndoplasmicReticulum Fri 10-Jan-14 22:40:10

If you'd asked me last week you'd have been OK, I wasn't busy last week. Now I am. (term has started again).

It's because I'm always busy.

Hassled Fri 10-Jan-14 22:40:36

MammaTJ - I hadn't read your post. You are genuinely busy - sorry.

HuiledOlive Fri 10-Jan-14 22:41:53

Exactly hassled! The 'busiest' person I know has no dc and a fairly standard 9 to 5 office job.

MammaTJ Fri 10-Jan-14 22:42:15

Less busy after that one exam? That may be a tad optimistic over a three year degree course! I will have my OARS and EU directives to complete then, you have no idea <dramatic sigh>!

K8Middleton Fri 10-Jan-14 22:42:45

Well I am much less busy from next week having been working 20 hrs a week plus a further 10-15hrs of voluntary work on top with only 3hrs a week childcare since September as well as trying to sort out some home improvements. I cannot wait!

I am hugely looking forward to a quieter life from next week. I'm going to get my hair cut and everything! I might even get to sleep a bit!

Some people are just busy. Sometimes we're busy having a bit of down time with the children watching a film or talking about their day and we don't want to spend precious free time with other people having a coffee or showing them how to do an online form or hearing about their holiday. Sometimes we'd love to do those things with you because things are quiet and we are meeting our commitments elsewhere.

Neither of mine do any activities outside of school/nursery at the moment so it's not that I'm terrible busy doing frivolous or nice-to-do things. It's all quite important actually.

Skiskiskis Fri 10-Jan-14 22:43:38

I hate when people who I don't know ask how I am (shop assistants are the worst).

They really don't seem interested/genuine when I tell them about my sore tooth/varucca wart/ingrown toenail.

HuiledOlive Fri 10-Jan-14 22:44:07

Endoplasmic - that is quite acceptable to have busy periods and less busy periods (under MY criteria! Haha).

MajesticWhine Fri 10-Jan-14 22:44:18

It sounds like "too busy to chat to you" so yes it's a bit irritating.

ArgyMargy Fri 10-Jan-14 22:44:21

YANBU. Competitive busy-ness is sooooooo boring. Us chillaxed types are enjoying our lives much more, IMO.

2rebecca Fri 10-Jan-14 22:45:45

I'd stop asking if you don't want an honest answer and just say "hello".

K8Middleton Fri 10-Jan-14 22:45:46

When I was studying with dc MammaTJ I have never been busier. It was a nightmare lurching from one drama to the next and any downtime was spent trying to recover. You have my sympathy and admiration.

I wonder if most busy people have peaks and troughs and use the troughs for recovering? I don't know.

Yama Fri 10-Jan-14 22:46:39

I am only busy at work. Total lazeballs at home.

Hexbugsmakemeitch Fri 10-Jan-14 22:46:51

It's what people say when they haven't time to stop and chat but don't want to breezily say 'fine' and rush past --in case they get accused of being rude for not stopping.

However, in actual fact, I am busy.

BrickorCleat, not everyone who is busy is failing to organise their life efficiently, some of actually have a lot of commitments.

But, if you can give me any tips on managing my time I would be very grateful. I work full time, with two young DC, as well as caring for two elderly relatives (cleaning, shopping, managing finances) and facing am eviction from my house.

Seriously though, if someone I know told me they were too busy to do xyz, I would offer to help!

HuiledOlive Fri 10-Jan-14 22:48:02

I think its probably a given that with 2 working parents plus dc with a few activities that we're all pretty busy.

Its just the constant banging on about being busy that is dull

K8Middleton Fri 10-Jan-14 22:50:57

Actually I make time for people I like. Just sayin'


stickysausages Fri 10-Jan-14 22:53:17

Being busy is a competition, martyrdom... busy busy bees... so busy.... so important....

Bettercallsaul1 Fri 10-Jan-14 22:53:51

I think, when people say they are "busy, busy, busy" , we translate this as "I'm very busy and important" , a la Bridget Jones ...!

MrsOakenshield Fri 10-Jan-14 22:54:34

can't bear people who say "read a book? I'm waaaay to busy to do that!".

Bettercallsaul1 Fri 10-Jan-14 22:55:44

Great minds, stickysausages....!

sleepdodger Fri 10-Jan-14 22:56:48

Honestly no it's always bloody full on
Unless you want texting now when it's too late?wink
Don't judge
Have compassion
I work over ft
I have dc I spend time with pre bed
I then do jobs dinner etc
I finally get to sit down about now
If you want a better reply don't start with your busy life working 2 days a week
Btw I always ask how they are abs am genuinely interested wink

woodlandwanderwoman Fri 10-Jan-14 23:00:28

When I have had this more than a few times I stop bothering. Have learned the hard way, if people are too busy to make an effort to think of a better reply then they are too busy to need your friendship. They certainly aren't offering theirs to you if you are so inconsiderate as to be needing it.

stickysausages Fri 10-Jan-14 23:01:22

I'm in awe of those who work full time & have kids.... they are genuinely busy... but the ones that piss me off are the sahm's ... some of whom have cleaners... but still gass about how busy they are... at the school gates.... urgh.

woodlandwanderwoman Fri 10-Jan-14 23:02:19

Sadly this applies to my own experience, it's not a comment on everyone else's.

Hexbugsmakemeitch Fri 10-Jan-14 23:02:33

I'm struggling to phrase this so it's not taken too badly but from reading some of the responses hear the ishoo is with no with the respondant...

Don't be so touchy people. However I respond to 'how are you' is not about you it's about me. (You asked after all).

If I say 'I'm busy' it doesn't mean I think I'm too important to talk to you/that I don't like you/that I'm competitive/that I'm disorganised.

It just means I well but rushing off to do something else right now.

I would suggest you stop asking and as a pp said just say 'hi'

clearly I've been unknowingly offending people for years

Hexbugsmakemeitch Fri 10-Jan-14 23:05:01

^ here obviously blush

K8Middleton Fri 10-Jan-14 23:16:10

I am going to stroll about everywhere next week with my swishy new hair, reply to all emails within 2 hours and answer all enquiries of "how are you?" with "very well thanks. Fancy a coffee?". Unless I don't like you in which case "I'm busy, busy busy!".

I might even read a fecking book! grin

BrickorCleat Sat 11-Jan-14 16:05:58

BrickorCleat, not everyone who is busy is failing to organise their life efficiently, some of actually have a lot of commitments.

Spider, I would have agreed with you a couple of decades ago, but in fact I have learned that all of life is choices, all of it (to have DC, our careers, where and how we live) so in fact, nobody wakes in a vacuum one day with a weight of hitherto unexpected commitments on their heads.

It can be organised efficiently and I have worked with people to do so. Interestingly, many if those who complain about their over-committed lives actually refuse to give up the activities that keep them so super busy.

In some cases, it has become clear they feel defined by these activities and need them more than the freer time. Women are especially guilty of this.

There are, I'm sure, a whole lot of fascinating social and historical imperatives for this. I find the subject very interesting.

I also believe that everyone can de-busy their lives if they really really want to.

GlitzAndGiggles Sat 11-Jan-14 16:53:45

My friend says this all the time. She's on mat leave so I try and ask what she's been doing to continue the convo and turns out she's busy maybe twice a week lol

TalisaMaegyr Sat 11-Jan-14 16:58:31

Now. I feel quite strongly about this issue.

I work 45 hours a week, have 2 dc and 2 sdc, get up really early, and don't sit down after doing jobs/housework until about 9pm. So then when someone texts me, or calls me, or initiates FB chat or something, I quite often can't be arsed. It's as simple as that really.

I would like an hour out of my day to myself you know!

Jinsei Sat 11-Jan-14 17:06:49

Well, I don't think I go on about it, but I am pretty much always busy! I'm a mum and my DH travels a lot so I have to keep the show on the road at home. I have a demanding full time job as a senior manager, and I'm doing a part time MBA. I have ageing parents who live down the road and need a bit of care and attention, and a couple of friends who I sometimes help out from time to time because they're really struggling. And I try to have some semblance of a social life too!

I don't mind it though, I guess I'm busy because I've chosen to be so. I hope I don't go on about it too much to other people!!

Iamsparklyknickers Sat 11-Jan-14 17:10:18

I don't mind the answer 'busy' when I ask how someone is - I just don't engage in the one up game. Love a good moaning session (hence aibu addiction), but not for the sake of it.

Thing is we're all busy - I don't spend my day staring into space, I'm always doing something - so at the moment I'm busy mnetting smile.

What I do object to, is people deciding they are free to judge what I do with my time. It's a snide way of making sure someone knows that you think you're better than them when they randomly decide to declare that they're too busy to read a book or go to a certain place.

You might have spent your morning selflessly scrubbing the streets pavements for the adoration of your neighbours - doesn't mean that my morning arranging my stamp collection was any less busy or worthless to me.

mrsjay Sat 11-Jan-14 17:12:01

everybody is either flat out busy or exhausted what happened to the good ole fashioned I am fine thanks grin

LimeLelloLizard Sat 11-Jan-14 17:16:43

I know what you mean about people who seem to make a show of being busy. There is one woman on my school run who literally runs along the road everyday. In her heels, usually chasing her terror toddler. It is like she is making a point of 'look at me I'm a working mother dontcha know - busy busy busy'.

I shouldn't judge, but I do.

AndyWarholsBanana Sat 11-Jan-14 17:19:08

Bickor I'm sorry but I don't agree with you. Some people have severely disabled children who, as well as needing constant care, also have to attend numerous hospital appts. Their parents didn't "choose" that. My Dsis recently gave birth to very sickly premature twins. 3 weeks after they came home, her "D"P left her. How is she supposed to make herself less busy - give one of them away? Ditto to people caring for elderly parents. Not everything in life is a choice.

Iamsparklyknickers Sat 11-Jan-14 17:34:38

Thing is (speaking as someone who has had to act as the main carer for at least one parent at a time since 13) the question posed in the title - "how are you?" - isn't an invitation to start banging on about your problems/stresses, not unless asked with a head tilt or alluding to something specific.

I find it really rude to start dumping your stress uninvited - to the point I make an effort never to use that question. I get that life is shit at times for everyone, it doesn't mean that everyone can cope with supporting your stuff at any given time - and it does transfer even through a short conversation.

I'm hyper aware of it because I know at one time I wasn't that self aware and I began to bore myself frankly, and realised that some people had bigger stuff going on than I did, but didn't want to burden me with their problems. I feel shit for that now. Not to mention it's all relative, someone might be struggling with something I found easy - it's not helpful to pour scorn or compare circumstances.

At least allow the niceties to get out of the way before steering a conversation towards a sympathetic ear or enjoy a nice shallow chat and the distraction.

Personally, I blame facebook.....

newyearhere Sat 11-Jan-14 17:46:45

YANBU. There's nothing interesting or virtuous in constantly announcing how busy you are.

giraffesCantMakeResolutions Sat 11-Jan-14 18:07:26

People keep asking me how my Christmas was - I hate Christmas.

So I say "Yes fine, was very busy, lots going on, bla bla bla busy busy"

2rebecca Sat 11-Jan-14 18:19:41

People probably aren't trying to be virtuous, they're maybe just giving an honest answer to a specific question. If you don't want to know how people are then stop asking them and ask them a different question instead.
I usually only ask people how they are if I want a detailed list of their ailments (and I usually don't) so just chat more generally. If I do ask and they say "busy" I just say "me too" and move on to the next topic.
Very few people these days give the usual refrain of "fine how are you?" "fine", pleasantries completed, unfortunately.

Artandco Sat 11-Jan-14 18:24:38

We are always busy. We both work full time yet have no childcare. So combining one working from home and one out, and swapping as and when needed. We both have work abroad also. We have x2 under school age, food to cook, a flat to keep sorted, life to go along. We are saving, looking to buy a house, and Both starting new business ventures. Family to visit in between and family time to have

We would therefore prob say we were busy if anyone asked. Sure it would be nice to not be so busy all the time, but we don't have that option atm if we want to stay employed/ get money/ progress in life

CynicalandSmug Sat 11-Jan-14 18:25:42

People do enjoy telling others just how busy they are!

I sometimes find it funny, usually I'm bored by it. It's only interesting when the person concerned is busy with amazingly interesting things. So, unless your life is so exciting that I might actually want to hear about, please please stfu!

LaundryLegoLunch Sat 11-Jan-14 18:27:59

Aghh - my bil does this. Always, always "sooo busy at work" and waffles on about just how busy his work is. And yet never ever seems to think that maybe that's just how his job is confused

People talking about their work is boring enough without adding in some excessive busy-bullshit.

ohgetoveryourself Sat 11-Jan-14 18:29:55

I say Im busy because I am. lots of kids, with activities, full time job, study for a qualification, religion. social life because I want to relax with friends now and again. I am however, polite, interested in other people and not using being busy as a way of ducking out of a conversation. If you don't like the person who is saying they are busy fine! Say so. If you want to judge everyone who has ever said they are busy then YABVVU

mumandboys123 Sat 11-Jan-14 18:33:57

I take offence! I AM busy. Very busy. Single mum to 3 primary aged children and a full-time teacher. Children do one activity each a week. Children also have additional needs (speech, dyspraxia, dyslexia, asthma) which means appointments. I do try to have a social life as well (not very successfully) and keep up with friends. I pretty much always answer the 'how are you' question with either 'tired' or 'busy' (usually 'busy, tired'). That is the truth. Is it not allowed?!

Topaz25 Sat 11-Jan-14 18:50:43

TBH, how are you is a silly question anyway. It's normally used to make small talk and isn't a genuine enquiry. My colleagues often ask this, normally when we pass each other in the corridor so obviously they are not expecting a lengthy reply. I just say "fine thanks, you?" because it seems expected, even when I'm actually depressed! At least busy is more honest! If people don't want to know, why ask?

newyearhere Sat 11-Jan-14 20:14:10

"Busy" isn't really an answer to "how are you?" Most people have busy lives so it doesn't tell you anything.

HopeClearwater Sat 11-Jan-14 20:15:31

Interesting how many people have treated this thread as an opportunity to describe in detail just how busy they are smile

newyearhere Sat 11-Jan-14 20:17:38

If I ask "how are you?" it's because I want to know how the person is. I'd like to know whether they're enjoying life, if they are well, if anything has changed.

"Busy" doesn't tell you anything unique about how someone is spending their time, whether they're enjoying it, whether they're doing something new, if they are well/contented etc.

secretsofsanta Sat 11-Jan-14 20:18:36

I never say busy to that question, just ok or finenor good, how are you? And I am busy full of own importance as I have 4 dcs and a job.

monicalewinski Sat 11-Jan-14 20:26:13

I actually respond with "I am very busy doing very important things for very important people - things so important and busy that I simply couldn't expect someone as unbusy as you to understand".

Usually said when I am clearly doing feck all, so am disbelieved every time.

To be honest, I operate best when super busy, and get very lazy when I'm not - I'm currently in the middle of a very lazy spell at the moment.

BrickorCleat Sat 11-Jan-14 20:34:57

Andywarhol that's ok, it would be very dull if we all agreed!

Thing is, fundamentally, they are all choices. To have children, to rent or own, to work or not. And we are priviledged in the UK to have those choices and an excellent welfare state to support us.

I have experienced the overwhelming chaos of single parenthood and premature babies and would still maintain that, in the big picture, I made choices and had unexpected but not impossible to foresee consequences.

I think my point is more that we make our lives far far more complicated and busy than they need to be and there are a myriad of complex reasons that happens.

Really, as humans, all we need to do us find food, water and shelter and propagate the species. Every school run, business trip, mortgage meeting etc etc on top of that is a choice we have made to live at a certain level in a certain society.

So I continue to believe that ruthless readjustment of priorities and re-examination of commitments can make pretty much everyone's lives less 'busy.'

It's an interesting debate!

FreddieStarrAteMyHamster Sat 11-Jan-14 20:41:46

oneupmanship, innit

wobblyweebles Sat 11-Jan-14 20:43:04

Thing is, fundamentally, they are all choices. To have children, to rent or own, to work or not. And we are priviledged in the UK to have those choices and an excellent welfare state to support us.

Does that mean that those of us who are not in the UK are allowed to say we are busy?

BrickorCleat Sat 11-Jan-14 20:54:03

grin at wobbly

Certainly not!

I have just notice this too-frazzled-to-stop phenomenon much more in the UK than anywhere else I've lived in the rest of the world apart from perhaps America. It's like a badge of honour to be constantly on the go, no time to enjoy a slow coffee or a good book or just idle away some hours just because.

It's an art form in some places, being calm, unflustered and just having time for things.

Maeve789 Sat 11-Jan-14 20:56:58

If the 'im so busy brigade annoy me with their 'im so much busier than you are business' I do a head tilt and say 'oh no, how dreadful, hope you get some time soon'. That confuses them.

Maeve789 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:00:11

BrickorCleat, it's so true. I look around at my school friends who have house husbands and earn six figure salaries and tom cruise's character said in the firm, and I know they think don't get that I value the gift I have.... the gift of never being bored, the gift of not needing to be busy, and the gift of enjoying a cup of tea and the cross word! the gift of being content with 'enough' money.

Maeve789 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:00:30

sorry, sahds I mean. not house husbands!.

Maeve789 Sat 11-Jan-14 21:02:45

I didn't choose to have a child with autism, but I chose to accept him as he is and not to push water uphill trying to make him more like other children. so I get what you're saying.

newyearhere Sat 11-Jan-14 22:43:26

> It's an art form in some places, being calm, unflustered and just having time for things.

Definitely BrickorCleat. I think it's a political and economic thing in some ways. We're encouraged from various directions to prove that every minute of our time is "useful" and "productive", even profitable wherever possible.

For example take education, where these days science and industry = good, the arts and humanities = worthless.

BrickorCleat Sat 11-Jan-14 22:52:38

Excellent point about arts and humanities, newyear. I worry that gazing at art for its own sake or staying glued to music on the radio is seen as an unproductive use of time.

I will also add, somewhat spitefully, that I listened to a fellow mother bemoan her busy busy busy life for about 20 minutes on a touch line this afternoon.

It was utter bollocks. It didn't take a psychologist to see how desperate and unfulfilled her life must be that she feels it admirable to over-schedule her family to the point of madness. Not a single thing she mentioned was actually vital to anyone.

I wandered away with my coffee and admired the view.

Jinsei Sun 12-Jan-14 02:05:06

"Busy" isn't really an answer to "how are you?" Most people have busy lives so it doesn't tell you anything.

Most of the time, it probably means "exhausted", but people are trying not to sound too negative! grin

I agree entirely that being busy is not a virtue. Having said that, not being busy also isn't a virtue. Boasting about how unbusy you are is just as non-sensical as boasting about being busy. Neither is better, just different.

CheesyBadger Sun 12-Jan-14 03:30:03

Busy with work, children, study, whatever doesn't bother me
Sighing 'sooooo busy' but with shopping, lunch, hair etc grates as it is voluntary self inflicted fun type busy! (Think mum in Miranda)
Also smacks of self importance and lack of empathy

jeansthatfit Sun 12-Jan-14 08:00:24

Why on EARTH would it bother anyone if someone says they are 'busy'? Are you so 'unbusy' that you have time to dwell on this and be so judgey?

I'm hooting with laughter at the idea it's all self inflicted and done out of a desire to be 'one up'. What judgey paranoia.

Get some more activity in your life that you find fulfilling, and that makes you happier, and you won't have time for these silly games.

And if you don't want to know, don't ask. People don't have to answer questions about themselves to please you.

newyearhere Sun 12-Jan-14 08:02:36

> Boasting about how unbusy you are is just as non-sensical as boasting about being busy.

How many times have you asked someone how they are, and they reply by boasting about how un-busy they are? grin

Southeastdweller Sun 12-Jan-14 08:17:12

It's the new buzzword of the moment. Most of the people who say they are, just aren't, at least with anything worthwhile. I notice that in RL, they rarely go on to list what they're busy with...could they be too busy to tell you? No, they want to quickly get home to spend hours on Facebook and then carry on watching their Girls boxset.

Maeve789 Sun 12-Jan-14 09:09:54

Exactly newyearher!

I dont boast about having free time. I just enjoy it.

newyearhere Sun 12-Jan-14 09:16:00

> And if you don't want to know, don't ask.

But no-one is asking "How busy are you?". They're asking "How are you?" which I think is a rather different question.

Jinsei Sun 12-Jan-14 09:21:04

How many times have you asked someone how they are, and they reply by boasting about how un-busy they are?

Never, but there have been a few people proudly announcing their un-busyness on this thread. wink

lekkerslaap Sun 12-Jan-14 09:44:20

Yes, does my head in.


When I was a kid, my Dad worked 9 to 5.30pm and my Mum worked about 12 to 15 hours a week. They/we rarely went out and I think I went to Brownies once a week.

Fast forward to today.... If you work full time, you've probably got three times the workload that my Dad had and both parents are probably out of the house five days a week.

It is not progress...

MistressDeeCee Sun 12-Jan-14 11:32:49

Yeah, it annoys me too OP. I just stop asking in the end. We can all be super-busy if we constantly find things to do. I cba. Im not running a country, here. & I dont define being super-busy as the mark of a successful life anyway. I make a conscious effort to get off the treadmill a lot of the time, and Im not afraid to do it just as Im unafraid of silence, or stillness, or my own company etc. Doing sweet f.a. on occasion suits me down to the ground. Im happy to leave the super-busy to it.

Leisure by WH Davies is one of my favourite poemssmile

annieorangutan Sun 12-Jan-14 11:35:54

I usually say this to people Im doing a runner from. Always best to say it whilst still moving so they dont have chance to corner you and they fuck off.

LyingWitchInTheWardrobe Sun 12-Jan-14 11:57:04

I think it just means they don't want to talk, it's a way of stopping you from talking.

Same with 'Fine, how are you?'. I'm not really interested but it's the convention, isn't it?

I think that people generally just don't want to talk much unless it's to people they really care for/are interested in. I feel like that, I don't like the meaningless, monotonous chat-for-the-sake-of-it.

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sun 12-Jan-14 12:04:35

My years of a nursing student were the busiest I have ever experienced.

Getting up at 5:30 to travel to placement, do a 12 hour shift, travel home, home at 8. Food and shower. Then revise for an upcoming exam that could go well into the early hours. Then repeat. Nearly everyday.

I didn't have time for friends. I didn't have time for my partner. It's not because I like being busy, it's because I had to do what I had to do to get to where I wanted to be.

It seems like some people on here think the majority of people who are busy want to be that way. I didn't, I would have KILLED to be able to sit and chat or have time to myself.

Andanotherthing123 Sun 12-Jan-14 12:06:07

My answer to 'how are you?' is 'fine thank you, how are you?'. It's a
polite exchange without having to go into details or listen to other people's 'busy details'. Which I really don't have time to exchange. I'm too busy.grin

MomsStiffler Sun 12-Jan-14 12:27:55

"I don't want to speak to you or hear about your family/life again. In fact I'm trying to gradually ease you out of my life but it you don't take the hint soon I may just have to come right out with it....."

Or they could actually be busy....

Choose whichever is more likely with the people you're dealing with...

SamU2 Sun 12-Jan-14 12:40:47

I have five children and I hardly ever busy.

I must be doing something wrong.

hackmum Sun 12-Jan-14 12:48:34

I find this really irritating too. And it is a way of boasting. "Look at me, look how busy and important I am!" I always feel like saying, "You just need to be better organised."

I have periods of being very busy (it's in the nature of the job I do) but also periods of not being busy. Which is why I spend so much time on Mumsnet, probably.

"Busy" is not an appropriate answer to the question "How are you?". It tells you nothing about whether the person is busy and happy, busy and stressed, busy and tired, glad to be busy, looking forward to a time when they are less busy. It might give you an indication of what someone is doing, but it doesn't begin to tell you about the how.

MomsStiffler Sun 12-Jan-14 12:53:44

But it's an ideal way to avoid talking to someone you don't want to speak to.....

I might start replying
"Oh how lovely, I wish I was busy rushing about like you".

LtEveDallas Sun 12-Jan-14 13:13:11

I generally say something like "fine thanks, busy, busy"

Because I am, and being busy effects how 'fine' I feel.

Maybe I should start answering "Not good thanks, I have too much work and not enough staff to complete it, DD is suffering because I keep taking work home, DH is an arse about it and I'm not sleeping more than 5 hours a night because my back is getting worse and I'm stressing about the people I am going to be dropping in the shit when my contract ends, so I am exhausted, and you? grin

Surely 'Busy' is just polite shorthand for "Don't ask how I am unless you really really want to know, because you might get the truth"

MysterySpots Sun 12-Jan-14 13:23:57

I don't think it's the fact that people are busy that is the issue. For me it's the self important air of martyrdom that goes with it. 'Oh I am soooo busy, not like you. You couldn't possibly understand how incredibly busy, incredibly important me is...'' Or when it is used as an excuse- 'oh I forgot your daughter was in hospital but I have just been so busy with my incredibly important busy things that are far more important'

Ragwort Sun 12-Jan-14 13:32:51

NewYear makes a good point in that I think it is, in some ways, politically and economically motivated. It is seen as a good thing to be 'busy/active' etc - look at the sort of words used to describe people who don't work, 'idle'/'scroungers'/economically inactive'. Even on Mumsnet there is the undertone of 'disapproval' if people with school age children don't work ('surely you are bored?'/'I couldn't bear to be a SAHP'/'What do you do all day?' etc etc).

I do understand that some people are genuinely busy, particularly if they are in caring roles but as Brickor says, some people (often women) do have so many self-inflicted choices that make them 'busy' ie: having a pet is not essential yet for many people walking the dog is seen as yet another busy task; striving to cook the perfect home-cooked meal, obsessing over Christmas arrangements, training for a marathon, keeping chickens etc etc etc.

<strolls off to lie on the sofa for the afternoon grin>

DoYouLikeMyBaubles Sun 12-Jan-14 13:37:44

mystery that's how you're perceiving it though, perhaps not how they really feel.

and it's got frig all to do with being better organised, there just aren't enough hours in the day sometimes.

ArgyMargy Sun 12-Jan-14 14:08:04

I think some people take comfort in being busy, eg they won't get made redundant, their children won't stray, they won't have time for regrets...

wobblyweebles Sun 12-Jan-14 14:14:26

So really what most posters are saying on this thread is that they aren't really interested in how the other person is unless the other person replies in a way that they approve of.


Or should I say naice?

newyearhere Sun 12-Jan-14 15:05:09

> Maybe I should start answering "Not good thanks, I have too much work and not enough staff to complete it, DD is suffering because I keep taking work home, DH is an arse about it and I'm not sleeping more than 5 hours a night because my back is getting worse and I'm stressing about the people I am going to be dropping in the shit when my contract ends, so I am exhausted, and you?

Yes, I think you should start saying this! I'd so much rather hear how you actually are, than just "busy", because then I can take an interest in you as a person.

newyearhere Sun 12-Jan-14 15:06:33

I particularly dislike "Busy, busy, busy!"

Why do some people have to say "busy" three times? confused

Greenmug Sun 12-Jan-14 15:18:41

We're all busy,well most people are. Its the competitive business that bugs me.

jeansthatfit Sun 12-Jan-14 19:57:44

'Competitive business'?? wtaf?

I'll let you into a secret. When you're very busy - happily busy or unhappily rushed off your feet - you don't really that much of a shit about how busy, or not, other people are. The notion of 'c

jeansthatfit Sun 12-Jan-14 20:05:50

'Competitive business'?? wtaf?

I'll let you into a secret. When you're very busy - happily busy or unhappily rushed off your feet - you don't really give that much of a shit about how busy, or not, other people are. Because guess what'? YOU DON'T HAVE TIME.

Clearly the people who aren't doing that much and who have a lot of spare time on this thread aren't entirely comfortable with that - hence the need to invent the (bizarre and rather paranoid) notion that other women are lying to make them feel bad. If you were happy, why would you care?

Get a job, get a hobby, or use some of that spare time to get therapy. It'll help you stop inventing this destructive nonsense.

2rebecca Sun 12-Jan-14 20:08:14

I would only give an honest answer to "how are you" if it was a close friend or relative asking. I'm quite a private person and don't want to discuss how I'm feeling with casual acquaintainces. It's quite an intrusive question if you're looking for something beyond "fine".
I see it as usually just a pleasantry like the French "ca va?" "Ca va bien, ca va?"

NewtRipley Sun 12-Jan-14 20:10:09

You asked the question-they are just answering

Some people say "busy" when they mean "stressed".

I agree with jeansthatfit to a large extent. There's a lot of projection going on.

NewtRipley Sun 12-Jan-14 20:14:58

I also agree with wobbley

Don't make small talk if you don't want

a) meaningless small talk back (fine, busy)
b) the truth

Egusta Sun 12-Jan-14 20:16:04

I very often reply with 'busy' or 'mad' or 'stressed'.

Because Dh works away and I see him about 24 hours every 2 weeks. I have a three year old. I volunteer for a local organisation that is taking up as much time as a fairly intensive part time job (about 20 hours a week). I have no-one to help with child care, other than pre school a couple of times aweek. I have just started another university degree which has required some pretty serious study. (Like most uni degrees I suspect).

But to someone on the outside they are going to superficially see SAHM. Solvent. One child. Nup, nothing busy there.

I tend to get stress nosebleeds and have had 3 this weekend alone.

Egusta Sun 12-Jan-14 20:17:33

I meant to put a hmm after the second last sentence.

Point is- just because you may not think someone is busy, does not actually mean you know anything about their life.

CMOTDibbler Sun 12-Jan-14 20:19:05

Its easier to say 'busy' than say 'well, mums dementia has progressed to the extent that she doesn't know my name anymore, I'm looking at care homes for her, dad can barely walk now and is still having continence problems, dh def needs both knees replacing and probably a hip now, work is hell, my non functioning arm hurts like hell.......' and so on.

The person asking 'how are you' doesn't really care, so a vanilla answer is the only way to go imo.

BigBirthdayGloom Sun 12-Jan-14 20:23:46

I don't mind people being busy. I have every sympathy if they are busy due to necessary work commitments or family responsibilities. I do mind if they envy me for not being so busy because I have made deliberate choices not to pack out my social life and to limit dcs extra curricular activities. And I especially have no patience with stealth boasting "I'm so busy" talk that includes gratuitous mention of the exact level of dc's music exam they are taking extra lessons for, for example.

2rebecca Sun 12-Jan-14 22:26:52

Perhaps we should return to the more formal "how do you do?" accompanied by a handshake, to which the reply is "very well thank you, and you?"
Nobody says "busy" to "how do you do?"

5HundredUsernamesLater Sun 12-Jan-14 23:23:49

We are all busy but what annoys me the most is the people who claim to be so busy and so stressed with everything and never get a minute but still find the time to put a running commentary on Facebook throughout the day to tell everyone every time they have walked the dog, done the ironing, baked a cake etc. Who really cares?? And why do they think we do??

MysterySpots Mon 13-Jan-14 11:02:15

The person I'm thinking about volunteers the information about how busy she is. I haven't asked! I am just as busy, I don't feel the need to bang on about it. And she is very disorganised and refuses to do anything about it. And she does use her busyness as an excuse for forgetting important things - I am not projecting.

Maybe don't ask how someone is if you don't want to hear their answer? I get annoyed when certain people ask how I am but don't want to hear anything other than 'fine thanks', which I tend to say regardless ofhow I am because I know it's usually an 'empty' question and they don't really want to know.

I read in a trends report that last year was about the 'busy off' - with people constantly competing about how very busy they were.

2014 is all about how TIRED you are. It's the obvious next step....

So just tell them they are behind the times.

raggedymum Mon 13-Jan-14 15:42:39

Huh. This is the second time in a few days that I've seen the 'boasting' perception of the answer 'busy', which had never even occurred to me.

I generally answer busy as an alternative to something along the lines of 'quite ill' or 'barely coping' as it is a way to be honest (I am busy) without inviting further discussion of my problems which the person probably didn't want to hear about, anyway, and we can move on quickly to the next part of the conversation -- either how that person is (if they used it as an opening to get to the return question) or whatever else we have in common to talk about. I hate complaining (IRL smile I'm great at complaining online!).

Not sure what other answers I can give without lying. 'Tired' could work. I do sometimes reflexively say 'fine' and then feel bad because I'm actually quite uncomfortable with lying.

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