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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.

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.

lilolilmanchester Mon 13-Jan-14 13:11:58

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.

ThinkAboutItTomorrow Mon 13-Jan-14 13:16:48

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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