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If you are a 'busy' person have you lost friends?

112 replies

Fatnangry · 31/12/2023 18:45

I'm speaking as the friend of 'busy' people.
I have 3 friends...2 are teachers and 1 in an office job. They do not know each other.
They are exceptionally busy, work long hours, run a house, teenage kids. They tell me all the time how busy they are and how permanently stressed and tired they are. I feel for them. Their lives sound utterly miserable.

However I'm starting to drift away from them for several reasons:
When we meet up they moan and explain how busy they are and how they don't have time for anything. Conversations are like this:

  • did you watch that netflix series?
  • no I don't get chance to watch tv I'm so busy.

  • I'm really enjoying my running, it's helping me well being
  • I wish I had time for a hobby but I'm so busy

  • did you see that funny clip online?
  • God I don't have time to mess about on my phone

They take 2 or 3 days to answer texts then its short replies (cos they busy)
If I text 'how you doing?', the reply (if it even comes) is "OK but just dead busy, how are you'. But there's no conversation or little texts of funny stuff.

I love my friends but it feels like I might as well give up trying. They clearly have no time.

(I do have other friends who are normal levels of busy who do reply and chat and might have occasional crazy busy week but it's not every single time)

I wondered if there are 'busy' people on here who have felt they've lost friends? Although suppose they will be too busy to be on mumsnet?

NB: without wishing to be rude I don't need to know how busy teachers are (I know!!) And I am interested in hearing from busy people but you don't need to run me through why you are busy. I will just believe you are.
(Sorry - just worn out from these friends constantly telling me how busy they are)
OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

170 votes. Final results.

You are being unreasonable
You are NOT being unreasonable
SteadyEddi · 01/01/2024 00:12

In between work, transport and multiple caring responsibilities which can’t opt out of. Lots of people in the same boat

RubySundayy · 01/01/2024 00:15

It’s not the being busy though, I imagine, it’s the digs. “Oh I can’t watch Netflix like you, my life is more full!” is how it comes across and who’s going to feel good if their friends talk to them like that?

saraclara · 01/01/2024 00:20

RubySundayy · 01/01/2024 00:15

It’s not the being busy though, I imagine, it’s the digs. “Oh I can’t watch Netflix like you, my life is more full!” is how it comes across and who’s going to feel good if their friends talk to them like that?

Yep. That's what I'm getting from the OP. It's as if every conversation starter is blocked by 'I'm so much busier/more important than you, whose life is so small that you have room for this trivial stuff'

thingsarelookingup · 01/01/2024 00:20

When I was working full time with small children I was definitely too busy and some friendships suffered. I couldn't socialise without the kids because I had no one else to look after them so I prioritised friends I could see with the kids. I think I was quite a boring person during this time because I had no space for me and forgot who i was as a person separate from my children and job. Your friends also sound quite boring. Hopefully they will come back to being complete people in time.

Kids are tweens now and much easier and I'm starting to pick up those friends again.

Evenmoretired44 · 01/01/2024 00:26

Yes I lost friends during the junior doctor years because I worked too hard and then again trying (unsuccessfully) to balance a career in clinical academia with motherhood. I’m eternally grateful to the friends that have hung in there.

Fatnangry · 01/01/2024 00:33

Yes I think this is. Maybe its not about being busy it's about being utterly miserable about it. I'm sick of hearing about it.

OP posts:
Hairyfairy01 · 01/01/2024 00:37

Out of interest do you work full time with teenagers OP? It's not right but maybe you are just more 'available' than they are, which can understandably lead to frustration.

Jeffsmeffsmiff · 01/01/2024 00:45

The moaning is annoying, sure. But you sound hard work. Like you think they should prioritise YOUR messages. Do you work, have kids and elderly parents to look after? That doesn't really leave you with much time. I expect they'd love to be able to fit in more fun stuff but theres only so many hours in the week.

Crushed23 · 01/01/2024 00:53

Bainbridgemews · 31/12/2023 21:18

Well I make myself busy insofar as I have a job that requires long hours and two small children. There is no doubt this is a busier period of my life than pre-children. I have a mortgage to pay and I can't exactly send my children back, so I'm not sure this is particarly of my own making? It's just life. I never talk about how busy I am and find most people to be the same.

Of course it’s your own making! But I’m more sympathetic to busy people than the poster you quoted. I think I’m a very low maintenance friend - I see each friend an average of once every 3 months. Nothing like the weekly/fortnightly catch-ups I read about on MN. I do have lots of disparate friends so I’m able to see a friend once a week/fortnight (just a different one each time).

ceepeeree · 01/01/2024 00:55

I think you got good advice above to say 'if you don't watch Netflix, how do you unwind++
But also - just recognize that friendships change based on life circumstances. Most people don't think being busy is a badge of honor, and if you think your friends do ....then maybe you need different friends

Gowlett · 01/01/2024 00:57

I made a new friendship circle while my friends were in the trenches with marriage, babies & careers, buying houses. I wasn’t in that place. So. I found other like-minded people. Came back to my friends, eventually, when they were more available. Now, I have a kid & don’t party with my city gang as much, but I see both sets of friends as often as life allows.

Gowlett · 01/01/2024 00:58

Also, I’ve never watched Netflix in my whole life.

Hercisback · 01/01/2024 00:58

Oh gosh, im the busy one here.

Really isn't that I don't care. In fact I care so much I don't want to send a short reply, so I'll wait a few days to reply fully.

Hercisback · 01/01/2024 01:00

Also I dont watch Netflix cus I don't subscribe. But may say I was busy to stave off the embarrassing 'not affording' conversation.

Sherrystrull · 01/01/2024 01:08

Do you work op?

MrsBennetsPoorNerves · 01/01/2024 01:11

Nobody wants to sit and listen to an endless rant about someone else's busyness. That's very tedious and it's quite self absorbed to assume that someone else wants to hear about the length of your to-do list.

On the other hand, people who have very full and busy lives probably don't want to sit around talking about crap on the TV/internet with people who lead relatively empty lives. And they want friends who will understand that they can't just drop everything to reply to a text immediately.

Sometimes, friendships don't last the course because people find that they no longer have much in common. They have different values and priorities in life which cause them to drift apart. I think that's OK, personally. Some friendships are great for a particular time and situation, and then it's time to move on.

If the friendship is important enough to both parties, they will each make an effort to ensure that it endures. If not... then they may both choose to let it slide.

Bringnbuy77 · 01/01/2024 01:13

I’m busy and have lost friends, I’m a teacher and my priority is to see everyone every holiday. Most people understand this and I do bite my tongue so I don’t moan, I actually like my job but it’s all consuming for me on top of a family of 5. I feel guilty and awkward when I realise I’ve dropped the friendship ball again, some people persevere (thank goodness) but I get it’s not fair. I love hearing from friends to make a plan or just say hello but sometimes it’s overwhelming at that moment if I feel like I’m just keeping my head above water - sounds mad I know!

Sandpitnotmoshpit · 01/01/2024 03:36

I have two small children, I'm a teacher and both DH and I try to keep up a hobby so we are "busy". I have a lot less time for friends than I did 5 years ago and I see people less frequently. However, I never go on about how busy I am and I still keep up proper conversations via WhatsApp with people where I ask about their lives. The competitive business is really boring. I have it at work - there are some people who are "just so busy" constantly even though we all do the same stuff really.... Tedious.

Cmonluv · 01/01/2024 06:40

I've been varying levels of busy my whole life, as have my friends. I currently work and have very young children, 1 with medical conditions and I have a commute which seems more unusual these days.

I have a core number of very good friends I'll meet for lunch/ a drink/q coffee when I can and chat is often just stories of ridiculous things that happen when you're this busy. I have space for 1 TV show a week ISH, so currently I'm watching the good doctor when I get half an hour and the new Dr who episodes with dh because it's a shared interest but even then it's usually days after it's been on.

I do forget to reply to texts, I do my best though. Most of my friends are in the same boat or have been so we cut each other slack and fit around each other.

If you don't want to or can't, if a friend doesn't want to or can't, no hard feelings, it's fine to not want to continue to be friends with me right now but I can't reduce my current responsibility levels.

Things I do for me tend to be quite solitary right now, listening to audible.books on my commute because I can't find time to read, going for a coffee with my kindle if the toddler falls asleep for her nap in the buggy, watching a TV show with a cuppa at Nd biscuit if she naps in the cot. It's hardly rivetting though.

It'll come back around though when the guys are older. 🤷

LetMeOut2021 · 01/01/2024 06:49

I always think of your life and time as a piece of cake cut equally into so many segments. You can’t expand the cake. There are only so many segments. So if you have something demanding more of your time and attention it takes over another segment, ie something has to give.

My DH works very long hours 10-12 hour days are the norm, frequently stays away. He definitely maintains friendships but he isn’t very sociable in that he rarely sees them. He has to boil down to the priorities.

Because hes busy I got fed up of spinning all the plates so made myself less busy, by getting a cleaner, dropping a day at work etc. For those who live comfortably being busy is often a choice.

I hate the idea of a busy competition, if someone is too busy for me that’s absolutely fine. What they really mean is they have different priorities and I’m not one of them.

CharlotteRumpling · 01/01/2024 06:55

I have distanced myself from super busy and consequently flaky people. They are entitled to be busy. But equally I am entitled to be not cancelled on, unless it's an emergency. I also don't like text friendships. I like to meet in person, at least every few months.

mangochops · 01/01/2024 06:55

Your friends sound annoying. I can't stand the busy olympics. We are ALL busy fgs. I don't know of a single person who sits at home with a trust fund doing absolutely nothing all day long. Most people I know are working stressful jobs, have kids and/or other family responsibilities, a house to look after, pets etc and we all still manage to meet up on occasion and text each other. I run my own business and manage staff, have two kids, a dog, a house and community responsibilities and I still manage to meet my friends without bringing it up constantly. Sure, we don't get time to text or meet up constantly but when we do we make the effort to do fun, interesting things and our conversations are a bit more interesting and stimulating than just variations of "I'm sooo busy" because frankly, its well,.....boring- we already know we're busy.

I'd be limiting my time with those people and concentrating on people who prioritise time and spending effort on friendships. This shouldn't bother them at all after all should it- seeing as they're so "busy" anyway!


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Heyhoherewegoagain · 01/01/2024 07:03

A few years ago I had busyness forced upon me due to complex parental ill health, and I mean pretty much 24/7 involvement, to the point where I had a nervous breakdown.

Sadly since said parent died a couple of years ago, I’m not busy but people who I thought were friends moved on and left me behind. I’m beyond lonely with a very tiny group of friends

NosnowontheScottishhills · 01/01/2024 07:05

My children are adults now but I think my friends would say I was and and still am to a certain extent a “busy person” by nature.
But I know they will also say and in fact have often said that I am very good at maintaining friendships and being considerate and making time for people. I have consciously made the effort to do this I try/tried not to bang on about how busy I was and maybe still am and in fact try to actively chat to them about their lives interests etc and support them. I have learnt to keep my close friendship group small about 7-8 good friends but I do have lots of for a want of a better word acquaintances. It’s paid off I’ve just been through a really shit time and all have been there supporting me.
i have to say even if I was doing nothing I’m unlikely to ever send “little texts of funny stuff”.🤣

ChoseARandomUserName · 01/01/2024 07:14

I have a friend who lives only 0.6 miles away and has a busy life of full time work with a couple of days of long commutes, 2 kids with 175 weekly after school activities between them, and high expectations of how tidy and clean her house must be, a husband who doesn't pull his weight thanks to his bigger job, and the desire to maintain an exercise regime which sees her working out in the garage at 5am before anyone else is awake.
I've accepted I'll never see her again. My texts suggesting we meet up were increasingly met with sheer panic on her side as it became clear she needed 18 months notice to slip out for a coffee for 1 hour. I then wound my texts down to a 6-monthly "Hey, I know it's difficult for you to meet, but just to let you know I'm thinking of you and hope all's good with you". I now forget she exists at all.

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