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AIBU?

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:
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Am I being unreasonable?

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You are being unreasonable
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You are NOT being unreasonable
74%
HugoDarracott · 01/01/2024 07:14

Sometimes life does get in the way and it's not even about time, it's about headspace. We've had times with our eldest when dealing with his mental health issues meant I couldn't face socialising. A trivial text about netflix would have been beyond me. Meeting up was hard too because you either lie about how life has been or let people know and really bring down the mood. I probably sounded difficult about meeting up but that was because we couldn't leave him home alone. Fortunately life is better these days (fingers crossed it stays this way) but for a while I was very much busy.

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CharlotteRumpling · 01/01/2024 07:22

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.

I have friends like these too, who need months of notice to meet for a coffee. I have let them slide.

I should say most, like me, have adult children. Some don't even work full time but have fallen in love with their busyness. Or I am not their priority. Fine by me, but they keep suggesting we meet! What's that about?

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Breakingpoint1961 · 01/01/2024 07:36

I have a 'friend' she's an acquaintance really. We speak rarely, text rarely, she's busy and that's fine however, a few months ago I received VMs asking to meet up, desperately wanted to spend 'quality' time with me, I was very flattered that she felt that way. I immediately VM'd back asking for actual dates, no pressure but if she wanted to see me as much as she professed, let's get a date sorted. It was never responded to, read but not responded to. Received another VM 3 months later saying pretty much the same thing, I've read and ignored.

Why do people do this? I stopped many years ago saying "we must meet up" to people unless I really meant it, as I was aware I was guilty of not doing what I said too, so I stood true to that and it suits, and I equally don't get disappointed. But these particular VMs are pretty cringeworthy gushing, and I just don't understand it🤷🏻‍♀️she's a lovely lady by the way, I have nothing against her, just don't understand her mindset!

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mangochops · 01/01/2024 07:40

But these particular VMs are pretty cringeworthy gushing, and I just don't understand it

Could she have been drunk when she sent it? just seems a bit odd to hear nothing then a really gushing message. I'd definitely be ignoring it too- words mean nothing if you arent going to back it up with actions

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Counciltelly · 01/01/2024 07:55

I have been known to enter the busy Olympics and respond to questions like your friend. The context being family members who are far less busy dumping tasks on me and then having no understanding the impact this has on me. Then they ask - “oh did you see that film?” When I’ve used all my free time to get 6hours sleep in and have literally not stopped for weeks.

Is your friend trying to make a point too?

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mangochops · 01/01/2024 07:59

Counciltelly · 01/01/2024 07:55

I have been known to enter the busy Olympics and respond to questions like your friend. The context being family members who are far less busy dumping tasks on me and then having no understanding the impact this has on me. Then they ask - “oh did you see that film?” When I’ve used all my free time to get 6hours sleep in and have literally not stopped for weeks.

Is your friend trying to make a point too?

Why didn't you just say no? If it's affecting your health and sleep, that's not unreasonable. Even if the friends are making a point about it- what on earth can the OP do about that?- she can't help that they are taking on things they don't want to.

I am not saying it's easy to say no but if it's causing you to suffer then it has to be done. You arent going to be able to help anyone if you end up breaking down- physically or mentally.

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NosnowontheScottishhills · 01/01/2024 08:01

I very much avoided and still do booking anything to far in advance except things like holidays dentist appointments and all that kind of stuff. This means that if say 2 days ago someone unexpectedly invites for dinner tonight (as has happened) I’m able to say yes.
Generalky it suits my particular business to not book up to far in advance so I can txt friends and say fancy a coffee or a dog walk. Two friends who live some distance away we do arrange a mutually convenient day/time to talk on the phone again booking this a few days in advance. If they say suggest this Thursday evening and I’m working I always come back with an another day and stick to it. I’m no perfect friend but I do work hard to maintain the good friendships I’ve got.

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Dancerprancer19 · 01/01/2024 08:05

When I was teaching it was totally all consuming and my friendships definitely suffered. Most of my current close friends were made post teaching. But I do have good friends who I have rekindled relationships with. It’s not unreasonable for you to dial back on time with them (they might not notice!). Try not to take it personally. It’s definitely not about you. It’s was a ridiculous decade of my life and it’s hard to explain when you have a normally busy and normally stressful job (which I do now) quite how you can spend years not having health issues sorted because you literally can’t get to the doctor, or get UTIs because you don’t have time to go to the toilet. It’s not healthy at all. Loss of friendship was really not even the worst part.

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PercyPigStoleMyHeart · 01/01/2024 08:05

Friends are important even if you're busy, but I think people have lost sight of the the term 'busy' at times. Competitive busyness seems to be quite common.

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adventangelicat · 01/01/2024 08:09

MsBump31 · 31/12/2023 20:06

I’m “busy” but tbh I still see my good friends that I care a lot about. The ones who are superficial friends - or ones I don’t feel that close to – I tend to take a while to reply to, because I’m busy and they’re not a priority when I also have work/kids/family etc going on.

If someone is taking a long time to reply to you, I’d say you’re not a priority for them, regardless of how “busy” or not they are

I agree with this. I have a similar life to your friends in terms of my job/kids/home etc but I'd still make an effort to reply properly to people I really cared about.

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norfolkjmummy788 · 01/01/2024 08:09

margotrose · 31/12/2023 19:49

I think that anyone who genuinely cares about their friends will make an effort, no matter how busy they are.

Agree

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fluffypinkclouds · 01/01/2024 08:10

It's fine to be busy for periods of your life and not have time to speak with friends. What I have an issue with, is people just disappearing when you have invested time in supporting them with no proper explanation and then reappearing a year or so later and expecting you to just be there for them now its convenient for them.

Friendship doesnt work like that- its a two way street and you can't expect to just pick people up, then drop them when its not convenient expecting them to be on hand at the drop of a hat. If you tell them that you are struggling and may not be in contact for a while, that's totally fine. But, if you drop people and don't explain why, then don't be all shocked when a year later they arent interested in being your friend. Communication is key here.

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norfolkjmummy788 · 01/01/2024 08:12

WantOutOfRatRace · 31/12/2023 20:10

I'm busy. I have some friends who always say they don't know how I manage. Most of the time though I make time for friends because they're important. There's been some weeks (or longer) where I've not been able to and I've probably been left out of plans because I wasn't there for the conversations and people think I'm too busy but it's usually a temporary thing.

Though I've definitely found it harder to make time now that both kids are teenagers, which I wasn't expecting - I thought it would be easier cos they can be left on their own longer!

Can I ask why it's harder as in more busy when they are teenagers? I have primary age and I keep thinking it will get easier when they are teenagers as they do own thing. Does it not? 😬

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Jackfrostnippingatmynose · 01/01/2024 08:14

Some people enjoy bragging about competitive busyness as it makes them feel valued/martyred/superior in some way. We're all busy - unless you live the life of a hermit!
I do think some friends who respond to say they're busy are in effect saying that you're not a priority. If you were a priority for them then they'd find time to respond - it takes 10 seconds. Maybe your friendship have run their course if you no longer have common interests? If you're the one who is texting more or chasing them to meet up then take a step back and see whether they make any effort to continue the "friendship"

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FairytaleOfKent · 01/01/2024 08:15

It depends if you're close. You might have known each other for years but it doesn't mean that you're close friends.

If your friendship is strong enough, then I would give it a few years. Once the teens have grown up then your friend will likely have more time.

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balmysummerevening · 01/01/2024 08:17

Jackfrostnippingatmynose · 01/01/2024 08:14

Some people enjoy bragging about competitive busyness as it makes them feel valued/martyred/superior in some way. We're all busy - unless you live the life of a hermit!
I do think some friends who respond to say they're busy are in effect saying that you're not a priority. If you were a priority for them then they'd find time to respond - it takes 10 seconds. Maybe your friendship have run their course if you no longer have common interests? If you're the one who is texting more or chasing them to meet up then take a step back and see whether they make any effort to continue the "friendship"

Exactly. I am as busy as everyone else and I can still find 10 seconds here and there to text people. Sure, it's not daily, but it's regularly. If it matters to me, I'll do it. If it doesnt, I won't bother. I'd back away from people who wang on about being so busy all the time, they clearly haven't got time for friendship so why bother in the first place?

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HippoStraw · 01/01/2024 08:18

Not the OP, who seems reasonable, but why are others assuming it’s a fake busyness? If you work 60 hour weeks then of course you’re less available than a person working 25.

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Bainbridgemews · 01/01/2024 08:24

Not everyone is equally busy though are they? As I said, I'm considerably busier than before I had children and there will come a time when I'm less busy again. My retired mother and mother-in-law definitely aren't busy and will ask a question I need to ask my husband about then ask me again before I've even seen my husband! It's about making an effort but it goes both ways that friends need to realise not everyone can meet weekly or whatever. I have a lovely friend who loves very long text conversations at about 9pm. For me 9-10 is my only downtime since getting up at 6, and sometimes it's not how I want to spend my time relaxing.

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Fernsfernsferns · 01/01/2024 08:28

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.

I am pretty busy.

i think there is a difference between being ‘crisis’ busy - something for a period, illness or whatever and chronically busy where that’s just become normal.

clearly I do mess about on the Internet as I’m posting, I find as my pressures build up that can get worse as I can do that for a quick fix of downtime believing I don’t have time for something more worthwhile like watching a TV series or being in touch with a friend.

im consciously trying to change this.

i agree it’s boring hearing others moan about it. I assume me and friends are all similarly busy and how that turns out is about choices / being willing to face up to our dysfunctions.

i drift towards people who are similar to me in their choices and expectations.

Eg I have a friend who is a very prompt message replier (when I’m not) but is so over busy she just can’t agree to a date to meet up (which for me is how I keep a friendship going even if it’s only occasional). So we’re drifting.

i have another friend (who is in trouble and I’m trying to support) where the messaging is fine but she’s very last minute o’clock. Can’t agree to anything in advance which is how I make things work. I am trying to cut her slack given her circumstances but it gets boring making suggestions she can’t / doesn’t commit to and the rn she makes last minute suggestions which I can’t make work at short notice but could have if she’d suggested with a week or so in advance. She also cancels often.

my closest friend we have similar patterns of messaging (so replying is ok with us) and it’s balanced in terms of suggesting to meet up and then following through.

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balmysummerevening · 01/01/2024 08:29

@HippoStraw It may be completely genuine but if it is, then something has to give and people will find their friendships naturally drifting away. All relationships need to be maintained so if you have no time at all for friends then you will eventually see the consequences of that and they may find other friends who are available. Its the same with cleaning for example- if you work 60 hours a week, you probably won't have the time to keep your house spotless and pristine (unless you pay a cleaner) so something will have to go.

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Philandbill · 01/01/2024 08:29

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!

@Bringnbuy77 doesn't sound mad to me. I'm in exactly the same position. Constant feeling of guilt as I'm spread too thinly between family, work and home and still need to do more at work. I'm in work from 7-6 each day and then do more between 7.30 and 9pm at home and a part day at the weekend. Many of my friends are ex teachers so they are generally understanding of the "busy" and how tiring it is when it is week after week after week. Being this busy is not a choice which I don't think OP necessarily understands...

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Jeffsmeffsmiff · 01/01/2024 08:49

OP sounds like my mother in law. Retired, a busy day will mean maybe a supermarket trip, a doctor's appointment and walking the dog. She will chase me up if I haven't responded to a text asking (for example) what DH wants for Christmas within a day or so. Meanwhile I have full time work, 2 kids who do various clubs and an elderly family member who regularly has a crisis where I have to drop everything -even running out from work - to rescue them. In my limited amount of spare time I have to try and keep in touch with family, friends and actually have a bit of downtime for myself.
Maybe it's the OP who is unreasonable? Why not dial it back? Maybe you'll do both of you a favour.

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CharlotteRumpling · 01/01/2024 08:56

OP doesn't sound retired to me. The idea that only retired people can run or watch TV or not talk about how busy they are is very martyrish.

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ripplingwater · 01/01/2024 09:11

You won't get a proper answer OP because all the truly busy people (who don't have even a few mins to spare to watch tv or text anyone) wouldnt be posting on MN in the first place, they're too busy for that 😂

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margotrose · 01/01/2024 09:13

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.

But you can do both - send the shorter reply so your friends don't feel ignored, and the longer one when you have the time.

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