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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?

170 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
26%
You are NOT being unreasonable
74%
gillefc82 · 01/01/2024 09:21

Since October 2021 I’ve been studying for a masters degree. This is part time on top of a full time job in a senior corporate role. With this, keeping a household ticking over (3 dogs and a husband) and, from August to May, attending Everton home matches every other weekend, I’ve found it hard to see as much of my friends as I would normally do and as much as I’d like.

My studies will be completed by end of this September and I’m looking forward to getting a bit of a social life back!!

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LouLou198 · 01/01/2024 09:22

I am "busy" but my friends are really important to me, so I make sure I am in regular contact with them, and definitely do not tell them how "busy" I am!

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Goatymum · 01/01/2024 09:22

I know people who are ‘busy doing nothing’ - ‘oh I can’t meet, I’m soooo busy’, but they don’t work/have help in the house etc. it just means they cba!
im not saying it’s the same for your friends as they sound genuinely busy, but competitive busyness is so annoying. I have friends I see infrequently cos their lives are busy - mine is normal, but I had a lot on mentally recently so I can be a bit selective who I see in these times.

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theleafandnotthetree · 01/01/2024 09:53

I'm always struck on these threads by the inputs of teachers. Something must be very wrong with the UK system. I'm in Ireland and the many, many teachers I know definitely have amongst the best work life balance of all the people I know, including during term time. They would mostly acknowledge this and I don't know any who would do more than an 8 hour day in the normal run of events. I don't think our education system produces worse results, in fact Irish children generally score pretty highly in the international measures, PISA etc. But beyond that criteria and even if the UK had shit hot outcomes, surely having teachers experience such a sense of pressure and stress is unhealthy for them AND for the young people they are teaching..

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Philandbill · 01/01/2024 09:57

@theleafandnotthetree there are lots of things that are very wrong. And as a result there is a recruitment and retention issue. But according to Mumsnet teachers are just massive moaners who have an easy life. 🙄

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KimberleyClark · 01/01/2024 10:01

Oblomov23 · 31/12/2023 20:19

This wouldn't work for me. I'm only interested in people who have time for me. I'm not busy. I have loads of spare time. People are only busy because they make themselves so. It's not a rush to the bottom, busy competition! I have 4 close friends. I wouldn't put up with such drivel.

Agree. And some busy people make out that it’s morally superior to be “on the go” the whole time and you’re a loser if you actually have time to read a book or watch Netflix.

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ThrallsWife · 01/01/2024 10:06

As a teacher with extra responsibilities on top, a single mum to a primary child and a late teen, without family support, with pets that need looking after. I can tell you: no one, not even in teaching, is that busy.

Some days I'm mentally too tired to have head space for my friends, yes, some days I am working all day, but we all have days like that in our lives. But days in our lives don't equate to our whole lives.

But prioritising is a big thing. I organise all my social outings into my holidays, the very odd Friday or Saturday. All my appointments into my holidays, often months in advance. Therefore, I do have time to watch crap on TV, scroll on my phone, read a book, post on Mumsnet. I am definitely making an effort with friends, even if it means that I am usually on the phone with them while doing my food shop or while taking a walk.

I know two head teachers a bit more personally. Both have an active social life, too, despite working like dogs. One is always on the go, helping out numerous friends with their DIY. Another has time for... err... a few extramarital "friendships".

My point is, your friends are exaggerating. When they say they don't have time, they mean they're not interested.

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Cmonluv · 01/01/2024 10:14

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!

It doesn't sound like op is busy though

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Startingagainandagain · 01/01/2024 10:15

@margotrose

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


Exactly.

Everyone has busy lives these days. No need to go on and on about it in every conversation. It is just tedious.

OP I would just distance myself from people like that.

You make time for things and people that matter to you. I think they are just taking you for granted. I would get on with your own life and make new friends.

I can assure you that there are still doing some socialising but not with you...

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WhatIsHeThinking · 01/01/2024 10:17

I am one of those busy people and confess I don’t make time for friends who irritate me with their approach to life. We have no help with DC, both work full time, have terminally illness in the family, two primary aged children etc etc etc.

I make no time at the moment for people with attitudes similar to yours OP. I have enough going on without needing to reply to a text within a certain time. That’s just how I feel at the moment and perhaps your friends feel a similar way.

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burnoutbabe · 01/01/2024 10:20

If someone is too busy to watch Netlix show surely you can still respond with another bit of info.

No, too busy for show x but I have been reading book y on my commute. Or want to see film a when it comes out /into tv.

Just something back to make a conversation! Or even sounds good, I'll add it to my wish list for the future.

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IamnotSethRogan · 01/01/2024 10:27

There's a mum from school who is always talking about how busy she is and she sounds miserable but I've sort of lost a bit of patience because she's created her life by signing her kids up to all these thousand activities. Honestly I'm starting to dread running into her because I get the run down of absolutely everything she has to do that evening and similarly to your friends if she does ask what I'm doing and I mention about going to to a hobby or something it's all "Oh I wish I had time for that" in a really dismissive way.
Life is about balance and if you've created this uber busy life that you're not even enjoying you need to maybe take a look inward.

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Jeffsmeffsmiff · 01/01/2024 10:34

"ThrallsWife · Today 10:06

As a teacher with extra responsibilities on top, a single mum to a primary child and a late teen, without family support, with pets that need looking after. I can tell you: no one, not even in teaching, is that busy.

Some days I'm mentally too tired to have head space for my friends, yes, some days I am working all day, but we all have days like that in our lives. But days in our lives don't equate to our whole lives.

But prioritising is a big thing. I organise all my social outings into my holidays, the very odd Friday or Saturday. All my appointments into my holidays, often months in advance. Therefore, I do have time to watch crap on TV, scroll on my phone, read a book, post on Mumsnet. I am definitely making an effort with friends, even if it means that I am usually on the phone with them while doing my food shop or while taking a walk."

The thing is though as a teacher while you are undoubtedly busy during term time, you do get the holidays to catch up as you've said yourself. Most people don't.

And yes to the PP who said they wouldn't bother with friends who expect a response within a particular time frame.

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WinchSparkle80 · 01/01/2024 10:36

Being blunt they are just too busy for you. It’s a slow fade surely?

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NuffSaidSam · 01/01/2024 10:45

I wouldn't lose the friendship entirely, just take a step back so it works for you. If they're long-term friends it will come round again. Their kids will leave for Uni or they'll retire or cut their work hours back, things change. When you're old it's good to know the people who knew you when you were young.

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WantOutOfRatRace · 01/01/2024 10:51

norfolkjmummy788 · 01/01/2024 08:12

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? 😬

I expect for a lot of people it does. However, I have one DD full time who needs lifts to and from work (it's not easily accessible by public transport and some shifts finish late at night so not suitable to walk) and the other DD has lots of school clubs with various finish times, performances to watch, rehearsals, etc.

I've just generally found that they're more reliant on me for lifts and similar. Especially as public transport is unreliable (they both travel to school but in opposite directions)

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BibbleandSqwauk · 01/01/2024 10:55

Im a single mum, work full time (teacher) and have two teens. I also live a long distance from many of my friends. Months can go by, even years when we don't meet but we try to facetime once in a while, or meet halfway.

However, I think the Netflix or reading thing is a bit of a red herring. I can do those things for an hour late at night once everything else is done, so I do watch TV and read. Now the kids are older I might get back to the gym and I'm not going to apologise for prioritising my well-being. Those things aren't instead of meeting friends but are activities I can fit in. Driving 2/ 3 / 4 hours to see them is a much bigger ask and probably involves asking my family to be around for the kids.
@Oblomov23 I think your posts are unkind and judgemental.

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Toesaresoweird · 01/01/2024 10:57

YANBU

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Thepeopleversuswork · 01/01/2024 11:03

Oblomov23 · 31/12/2023 20:24

They aren't busy. You just aren't their priority. They could say no to other things: no to a run, a church group, other things. To meet with you. But they choose not to. When you realise that harsh truth it's not nice, but you then can react appropriately.

I think that is fairly unrealistic.

People with a lot on their plates do have to prioritise. You physically can’t devote the same amount of time and attention to people if you have a FT job and multiple kids as you can if you don’t work. It’s simple mathematics.

Friendships ebb and flow over time. You can’t expect people to sustain a friendship at exactly the same level of intensity throughout multiple decades. A bit of flexibility is needed.

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margotrose · 01/01/2024 11:07

You can’t expect people to sustain a friendship at exactly the same level of intensity throughout multiple decades.

But you also can't expect people to wait around for you when you don't bother with them for long periods of time. True friends stay in touch even when they're busy.

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Jeffsmeffsmiff · 01/01/2024 11:07

Oblomov23 · Yesterday 20:19

This wouldn't work for me. I'm only interested in people who have time for me. I'm not busy. I have loads of spare time. People are only busy because they make themselves so. It's not a rush to the bottom, busy competition! I have 4 close friends. I wouldn't put up with such drivel.


Well your approach would be fine by me. I'm not interested in people who have loads of spare time and assume that therefore they should be what everyone else prioritises! And "People are only busy because they make themselves so" is the biggest load of bollocks ever. How about full time jobs, kids and elderly parents? Or what if you have someone very ill or with a disability/ special needs? Id be quite happy to sack off a friendship with someone as un-empathetic and judgemental as you sound!

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TealSapphire · 01/01/2024 11:09

I think people have different tolerance levels to 'busyness' and some people do get easily overwhelmed with just basic living tasks. That's OK but I don't need to hear how busy they are constantly! Particularly when it's just mundane stuff like running kids around that we all do.

Then there are those who do it to themselves. Either by taking too much on or being a perfectionist or too rigid in their routine. I'm probably the other extreme though - slightly slobby and go with the flow 😂

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herewegoroundtheblueberrybush · 01/01/2024 11:12

margotrose · 01/01/2024 11:07

You can’t expect people to sustain a friendship at exactly the same level of intensity throughout multiple decades.

But you also can't expect people to wait around for you when you don't bother with them for long periods of time. True friends stay in touch even when they're busy.

This is absolutely right. Of course levels of contact and time will fluctuate over the lifespan but it's the attitude towards friendship that is crucial. People that say oh I'm so busy I simply don't have time to contact friends and then years go by just means that friends is not a high priority for them. Fair enough. Some people just don't value friends as highly as others. I do have friends with adhd who struggle to reply regularly but even they manage to keep in touch in their own way and show their commitment to the relationship in different ways. One can be flexible but one cannot just accept a busy life as a reason for no contact or shit, competitive conversation

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Thepeopleversuswork · 01/01/2024 11:15

@margotrose

But you also can't expect people to wait around for you when you don't bother with them for long periods of time. True friends stay in touch even when they're busy.

But what do you mean by “wait around”? No one is being asked not to make new friends. If you find your social circle dull and you don’t get enough out of your friends (because they are thinly spread and tired) surely the onus is on you to find new ones who have more time?

Friendship isn’t marriage: no one has to be exclusive. A good friendship can take a bit of drift. It isn’t necessary (or helpful) to feel you have to see someone a certain number of times per week for it to be valid. And then flounce when that doesn’t happen.

Some people put very unrealistic expectations on friendship.

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Saschka · 01/01/2024 11:23

You aren’t being unreasonable - they are being boring friends.

I am genuinely busy, but I don’t have conversations about it! It does limit the number of times I can see my friends (my priorities are family, work, running the house, friends, exercise, and all of the last 3 often fall off the end).

When I do see my friends though, I talk about what is going on in their lives, our children, our work (not just mine), politics, art/cinema we have seen recently. Not how bloody busy I am. I also manage to text them at least weekly, so even if I only see them every couple of months they know I still exist.

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