Yesterday, I read the article “Can We Please Stop Competing to See Who’s the Busiest?” also titled “Stop Acting Like You’re the Only One Who Is Ever Busy” by Emma Saks from Her Campus at Cincinnati. The article was posted right here on HerCampus.com and shared in the Today section of the Her Campus newsletter. I have a few thoughts, and I want to share my perspective.
Emma writes about how the word “busy” is often used as an excuse for not replying to texts or being unable to watch a new TV show that everyone’s talking about. She also says that “it has become a competition between us and our peers to see who can be the busiest… Being ‘busy’ is no longer about sincerely wishing you had time to relax or de-stress, it’s become a snide remark used to put others down who do have that time because surely they are not succeeding if they do.”
Photo Courtesy of Ed Gregory/Stokpic
In my personal experience, when people are “busy,” it’s because they truly have a lot going on or are stressed out. Many people I know work several jobs on top of taking classes and responsibilities to family and friends to pay tuition and make other ends meet. They are in clubs and activities related to their career aspirations or hobbies to help with job applications. Some people do all these things because it makes their lives better, themselves happier, and allows them to be the very best version of themselves.
I don’t believe there is anything wrong with being busy because life demands it of you to or even because you choose to. That’s a genuine reason why you might not be able to respond to a text or hang out.
I believe most people have good intentions and kind hearts, and that people don’t say they’re busy and describe all the things they’re involved in to put others down. If that has been your experience, I’m so sorry. That’s terrible. You shouldn’t have to feel like you’re not successful because you don’t meet someone else’s standards. You live for you, no one else, and that is enough.
I think it’s easy to feel like being busy is a competition if you compare yourself to others. If you feel that you’re not as good as others, you might try to rationalize it by thinking that they are in fact being mean to you. It places the weight of what you’re feeling on those people, instead of yourself—and it’s often the voice in your own head that is putting you down.
But this is definitely not always the case. People can be cruel and I’m sure there is someone who has boasted about their busyness as a way of saying that they’re better than everyone else. Yet, I truly think most people are not like this. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. We are hard on ourselves and we compare ourselves to others. I do it too. It’s incredibly hard not to do. You have to keep fighting to recognize your own value. If you can do that, it may lessen the feeling that the whole world is against you. It may also put into perspective that the person actually being mean to you was yourself.
Photo Courtesy of Ed Gregory/Stokpic
When people say they’re busy, they’re likely just summing up in a short phrase how they’re getting by. My brother likes to remind me that “we’re all just doing the best we can.” And the best thing we can do to support our friends is to keep giving them grace and forgiveness.
An important thing you can do for your friend that’s busy is to believe them. Support them. Trust that they haven’t neglected your friendship intentionally. But most importantly, forgive them each time they apologize. See if you can help them. Maybe that means sending them a reminder text or meeting them after class for 5 minutes because that’s what works best for them.
I think that especially at this point in our lives, while we’re figuring out who we are, what we love about life, and where we want to go next, we have to show each other more kindness. It ensures that we’ll have the strongest friendships that will help us get through this time, both in support during the toughest moments and in happiness during the best moments.
No one should ever feel bad for doing many things with their lives. And no one should feel bad for being “less busy” than their peers. Everyone is trying to live life the best they can. Your version of a successful and happy life is your own.