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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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LangMayYerLumReek2024 · 01/01/2024 11:24

I've lost friends over the years

I'm very busy but that's not why. It's because our lives and interests have diverged.

I've got time for things I want you to do but these may longer be things a friend wants to do.

Those conversations you mention are not about them being too busy but because they don't share the same interests as you any more.

You friend has time for the many things she wants to do in life but that doesn't include the programs you watch on Netflix, funny clips or your running club.

When a friendship has run its course let it go and move on.

I've also gained many new friends. You can too.

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Newbalancebeam · 01/01/2024 11:34

They’re busy, and also too busy to find time for you. They rank you lower on their priority list than you rank them on yours.

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Rolopop · 01/01/2024 11:46

I had a couple years in my life in the past where I was so busy I was struggling to cope - a combination of work, young children and a family health issue.
I lost friends in that time and it was probably due to me rubbish at replying promptly (or at all) and counting seeing someone once or twice a year as prioritising them!
I honestly had no more minutes in the day - I barely watched tv and my memory was wrecked.
I still feel sad about that time - what was lost and how awful it was!
if your friends are truly struggling with their lives, I’d probably reply to some of their comments and dig a bit deeper - how are they feeling about their life time / are they hoping it’s temporary / are they okay?

If you genuinely find them annoying tho and are harbouring resentment, it’s probably not feeling great for them either - I almost found it easier when people dropped me, than dealing with the feeling that what I had to offer wasn’t enough. Though folks directly asking me where we were at / status of our friendship was fine with me.

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MadWifeInTheAttic · 01/01/2024 11:52

Fatnangry · 31/12/2023 20:10

'I thought I had replied in my head' - gives me the absolute rage!!!! Lol

Why? I wake up for work at 3am most days and quite often see messages waiting for me at that time, sent the previous evening. I can't reply there and then as I don't want to risk waking someone up. Then I'm at work when it's a sensible hour to reply. I might remember I never replied on my day off but I do explain why. If my friends got the arse, tough shit really.

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SummerWillow · 01/01/2024 13:11

How does your life differ from your friends OP? Do you work less or have fewer caring commitments or do you have to do less house tasks? Or do you just feel you manage your time better? If you feel you are being fair, then why not try to explain how you feel to them (ie the moaning is too much)? At least this gives them a chance to address that, even if they can't reduce the demands on their time. If still nothing changes, then you can step back quietly.

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Fatnangry · 01/01/2024 13:19

I do have more time. I had a horribly all consuming stressful job and realised i was miserable and took a huge pay cut to now work in a less stressful job with less hours.
I appreciate not everyone has this option.

I think having read all these replies it's maybe less about texts and being available its more about when I do see them or they do text they just moan about how busy and stressed they are and appear resentful that I am not.
I have had deeper conversations with them about how they seem miserable and no time for themselves and I'm worried about them.
They snap that they can't change anything and they have no time to find time for themselves because they are so busy! Sigh...

I'm giving up and will wait for teachers to retire!

OP posts:
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BibbleandSqwauk · 01/01/2024 13:43

Well there you go op, you are immensely fortunate that you were able to be in a position to take a pay cut. Surely you can understand that most aren't? I get what you mean about the conversation but if they only get rare opportunities to vent I guess it's unsurprising. Other than trying to steer the conversation or avoid them, not much you can do.

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margotrose · 01/01/2024 13:53

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?

What I mean is that you can't ignore people and choose not to spend time with them, and then expect them to still be interested when your life is less busy in five years 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

Who said anything about having to see someone a certain number of times a week in order to be friends? Confused

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margotrose · 01/01/2024 13:56

Also, it's not just about time, it's about attitude. Everyone has times in their lives when they're stressed and tired and rushed off their feet, but that doesn't mean you can't message your friends and do things to reassure them that you still give a shit.

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WhatIsHeThinking · 01/01/2024 14:12

Fatnangry · 01/01/2024 13:19

I do have more time. I had a horribly all consuming stressful job and realised i was miserable and took a huge pay cut to now work in a less stressful job with less hours.
I appreciate not everyone has this option.

I think having read all these replies it's maybe less about texts and being available its more about when I do see them or they do text they just moan about how busy and stressed they are and appear resentful that I am not.
I have had deeper conversations with them about how they seem miserable and no time for themselves and I'm worried about them.
They snap that they can't change anything and they have no time to find time for themselves because they are so busy! Sigh...

I'm giving up and will wait for teachers to retire!

Suggest you don’t send that as a message to those friends.

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TurkeyTwizlers · 01/01/2024 14:35

personally I find the people who like to tell you they are so very busy are really not.

The genuinely busy people are just getting on.

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LolaSmiles · 01/01/2024 18:12

TurkeyTwizlers
I think that's accurate and probably links in with why places (think work, community groups, volunteer organisations, PTAs) seem to work on the principle if something needs doing ask a busy person.The genuinely busy people also tend to be quite efficient in my experience but it can lead to them not saying no when they should (judging my former self here). Things can pile up and before you know it lots of things that do matter to you have ended up taking a back seat.

Whereas I had colleagues who were forever "busy" but they seemed to count every tiny micro task as something big and stressful that needs complaining about (eg I'm so busy Lola, I've got to collect the printing, send an email to Neil, ring Karen, and the children need their PE kit washing). They weren't any busier than most people but loved a good huff and puff about it.

It took quite a bit of time for me to start saying something like "thank you for considering me / that sounds interesting, but right now I haven't got capacity to support that event or initiative" in both my work life and my home life.

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