Hello dear readers,
A writer friend and I met for dinner the other night. We both have insane schedules, so it takes some long-term planning for us to get together. During our conversation, the subject of a mutual colleague came up. This person was a casual acquaintance of mine, but a close friend of my friend’s.
“I don’t even bother calling or asking about her anymore,” my friend said. “What’s the point? She always cancels plans, and I know I’m way busier than she is.”
Welcome to the typical Winnipeg brush-off. Is your hometown like this as well? People who claim they’re your friends, but who are either “too busy” to make plans, or even worse–always cancel them.
I know all about busy schedules. I have several hours of kickboxing training every week, a novel I’m rewriting, a full-time day job that has its hectic moments, a blog, and a part-time job as a freelance writer. Not to mention maintaining a home, taking care of pets, and making sure I call my mother and spend time with my boyfriend and friends.
Yes, I said friends. No matter how busy one gets, there has to be time for them, too. I may not have time to make new friends right now, but I’m not going to neglect the established ones. (At least, I’m trying really hard not to.)
Has “I’m too busy” become a euphemism for “You’re not a priority” or “I’m not interested in spending time with you”? It certainly seems that way. When I first moved to this city, it was extremely difficult to make plans with people. Everyone was friendly, but there are few newcomers to the province, so most residents have lived here forever. They had families, college friends, high school friends–even elementary school friends. I grew accustomed to being the one who always had to make the effort, with the downside being that I wondered if any of my friends actually liked me. Were they hanging out with me because they wanted to, or just because I asked them? If they enjoyed my company, why didn’t they ever phone me or suggest a get-together?
Thankfully, as time passed and I settled into my new home, I found friends who were willing to make the effort. I’m still a planner, but if someone doesn’t meet me halfway, I’ll give up sooner rather than later. I don’t have time for the habitual cancellers or the “I’m sooo busy” folks.
I’m just too busy.
I once had a friend who made a habit of overbooking herself. Even though she had her own business, which should have meant flexibility, she filled every spare moment with team sports, Pilate’s, networking engagements, committees, etc. Every year she promised that she’d make more time for her friends, but it never happened. To see this person more than once a year constituted a major miracle, and when you did see her, her cell phone was glued to her ear. She often talked about how her remaining friends were so “understanding” about her crazy schedule, and that she couldn’t have friends who weren’t. I had no problem being understanding. I’m busy, too. But when I realized she was suddenly very accessible whenever she needed something, I decided to take myself off her “to-do” list.
How about you, dear readers? Do you ever use busyness as an excuse to blow someone off? Are you frustrated with how difficult it is to make time for friends, or get your friends to make time for you? Have you ended a friendship because of it? Rant away!
(And before everyone jumps on me, I’m not talking about those who cancel plans for legitimate reasons. Everyone gets sick sometimes or suddenly has to go out of town–it happens.)