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Everyone 'too busy' or is ti me?

(65 Posts)
MollyAA12 Sat 17-Apr-21 18:18:58

Is it me? I am getting so tired of people saying 'I am so busy' and not finding time just to phone you. Everyone seems to be 'chasing their tail' and rushing around doing things.
I know people who, when things are normal, say that they will look in their diaries to see if they can see you.

One friend (who I no longer contact) volunteers at a cathedral and will say 'Oh I can see you for 3/4 hour in the Cathedral cafe' Alternatively she will see you and then stand up and say 'Oh I must go, off to the Book Club etc.'

I have now reached the stage where I do not really phone many people because I am tired of the refrain 'I am so busy'
I never outstay my welcome metaphorically but a lot of people like to give the impression that they are in deamand and ever so busy.

I aksed one lady if she was enjoying her retirement. 'Yes' she said 'I am VERY busy',

Does anyone enjoy a leisurely time any more?

Applegran Thu 29-Apr-21 11:30:57

I am not too busy but do always have a longer "to do" list than I could complete in the day, or just gets more things on it as the time goes by. But little of it is absolutely 'must do it now' stuff and lots is really fun, for instance making a story book for my grandchildren based on stories I've made up over the years for them. Maybe one day they will read or make up similar stories for their grandchildren! I've found a website which will print a book for not too much, or insisting on lots of copies. So would not say I am 'too busy' but busy enough, and do aim to make sure it doesn't get to the 'too busy' point.

PinkCosmos Thu 29-Apr-21 11:31:49


I’m not retired, but I sympathise with your friends. I don’t feel like I’ve got any leisure time at all. I feel guilty about neglecting some of my friends, and feel I’ve let some down, but there are only so many hours in a day sadly.

I work full time and feel like I never have much time to myself. Weekends are taken up doing housework, supermarket shopping and gardening.

I have to admit that I get annoyed when I have planned my Saturday or Sunday and people turn up uninvited (pre Covid) and stay for two hours drinking tea and chatting.

I don't feel the need to busy with clubs and activities.

I love reading and would like to have more time to do this. I mainly read in the bath.

Maybe when I retire........

However, I would never ignore someone who I knew was alone and had little company.

greenlady102 Thu 29-Apr-21 11:32:24

I have been retired for almost 14 years now. When I left my job even then there was a societal expectation that people would keep "busy" in retirement....actually even before that....My Sis has been retired over 30 years and the same thing was said to both of us "but what will you DO all day" and we both said the same thing "whatever I want to" I like to spend time with my old dog, craft, read, garden, do a bit of DIY, bake, binge watch telly.
I think that some people seem to be afraid to "stop" in retirement, that they only feel validated if they lead busy lives...almost as though they are afraid to be alone and meet themselves.
I used to work in the NHS both as a clinician, a project manager and a clinical team manager. I have to say that when I left the job I was peopled out and wanted nothing more than my home, my family and peace and quiet...not to be constantly "on", having to think about how what I said and did was affecting others every single blooming minute of my working day.
None of this is helping the OP of course.....just suggesting an alternative POV

MerylStreep Thu 29-Apr-21 11:47:21

i don’t know what all these people are doing
Yesterday: phone call from daughter ^can you take N to school.
2 hrs later meet up with friends to arrange some funeral business.
Then a neighbour called to ask me to look at some overgrown hedges in her garden.
About teatime went to friend who has received floor samples and can’t make up her mind and needed help to decide.
I have my own garden to deal with but do 2 other gardens.
In between the bad weather I’m trying to paint 2 sheds and some fencing.
So yes, I’m busy.

Aepgirl Thu 29-Apr-21 11:52:18

How sad that these ‘friends’ make the ‘so busy’ excuse. They surely must have some time that you could meet up, even if not immediately, but in a week or so.

I am a very busy person but always make time for my friends, as I consider them a very important part of my life.

b1zzle Thu 29-Apr-21 12:11:56

Sometimes I think people cover their forgetfulness with having 'been so busy'. I've lost count of the times I've heard, 'Kept meaning to phone you, but I've just been so busy.'

Really? Doing what? Gardening? Right...

Then there's the voicemail: 'Just called for chat. Sorry to have missed you. I'll try again later.' And 'later' never comes.

GrauntyHelen Thu 29-Apr-21 12:21:01

I have no time for the glorification of being busy My friends know I always have time for them

jaylucy Thu 29-Apr-21 12:42:08

There seems to almost be a compulsion once retired for some people to cram as much into each day (sometimes more than when working) and then to complain about how busy they are!
I thought the whole idea of retirement was to be able to live without being stuck watching the clock and having to be at everyone's beck and call, and to be able to spend time with those that you also have missed spending time with when at work.
If these "friends" don't have time for you, they are the ones losing out and time to form a "I'm being lazy in retirement and I love it " group of new friends and enjoy meeting up for a coffee etc that can go on for hours!

Buffy Thu 29-Apr-21 12:53:28

Oh Savvy that’s awful. I think that as we get older time just seems to fly. Or maybe we are much slower at doing things so that the day goes very quickly and we don’t fit in any of the things we mean to do and friends get neglected.

Maidmarion Thu 29-Apr-21 12:54:32

I had a friend who I chatted to most days on he phone... known for almost fifty years! A year ago last Christmas I went to my daughter’s in USA for three weeks and during that time I sent thirteen texts to this ‘friend’ and she replied to none! When I got back I asked her why she didn’t respond and she said “the first reason is I didn’t have time and the second reason would take too long too explain.” .... so, in three whole weeks there wasn’t one occasion of five seconds (taking into account predictive text!) that she couldn’t have texted ‘Happy Christmas’ at least.....??!!! We haven’t spoken since then. Seemed such a ridiculous excuse to me...!

knspol Thu 29-Apr-21 13:10:33

Retired and definitely un-busy, have been isolating for so long now as DH is in the extremely vulnerable group and is now awaiting further procedures so still avoiding unnecessary contact. Desperately seeking something to occupy myself with every day.

Cs783 Thu 29-Apr-21 13:27:19

knspol oh that’s difficult for you. Sending you some love flowers. Keep popping into Gransnet (if that helps)

Fairyfeet Thu 29-Apr-21 13:42:04

I often feel that I’m too busy, and haven’t time to keep in touch, and then I realise just how long I spend on social media (I’m doing it now). But I have decided that my friends and family are more important than checking up what others are doing on Facebook, so I am trying to limit my browsing activity. I normally do have a very busy social life, I still work part time and am an avid gardener. I am an active member of the gym, U3A, an art group, Linedancing group and a quiz team, and look after a small granddaughter one day per week, but my friends are incredibly important to me. A fact that has been brought home to me over the last year. I think that if you can’t find time for dear friends then they are not as dear to you as you you profess.

Harmonypuss Thu 29-Apr-21 13:44:03


I'm not busy. I'm bored out of my brain. We could make a club?

Could I join please?

I've got tons of 'stuff' to do but no energy to be bothered with it.

I'm bored!

justwokeup Thu 29-Apr-21 13:44:07

I would never say I'm too busy for friends, but all my friends have diaries or phone calendars to make sure we don't double-book or, in my case, to make sure I remember! Due to Covid I only have 2 appts arranged for May so I didn't bother to check and, of course, they were on the same day at the same time. Tbh I wouldn't answer the phone if I was cooking etc, as it might be costing someone money to phone me, but I would phone back. But I can't put off the school run for DGC, or appts for hairdresser, doctor, dentist - surely most of us have those? Then there are holidays, car service etc. Some friends are still working and I'm really pleased if they give up their lunch break to meet me so 45 mins is fine. I can't wait to a meet a group of friends now we're getting out more but our first available opportunity is in the summer so I guess there are some busy people amongst them!

GoldenAge Thu 29-Apr-21 14:14:01

The last year has made many people's lives a lot busier as IT has become a regular feature and people are tuning in to online activities. More than ever, people need diaries and frankly, telephone conversations can be a drag, especially when there are no boundaries. I would far rather be honest and say to someone what wants a catch up with me that I have a specific half an hour than put off a call, because at least then we both know what time we have, we don't waffle, and can actually prepare in advance to make sure we say what's important.

cc Thu 29-Apr-21 14:20:26

@greenlady102 you and I retired around the same time and I must admit that I am very happy doing what I like when I like. I'm not particularly sociable (though I have good friends that I love to see) and would never take up an activity mainly to meet people and make friends. What is this obsession that people have with having an ultra-wide circle of acquaintances and a life of busyness? I had all that (to excess) at work and don't want or need it to be happy!

Edith81 Thu 29-Apr-21 14:25:36

Savvy, same as you. On my own, moved from Spain last September to be near family. They live locally but they all work, S dil,grandson. Have felt very lonely as it’s a new neighbourhood so don’t know the neighbours yet. Does anyone feel like it’s always them who has to initiate a phone call or text message or else you are forgotten.

grandtanteJE65 Thu 29-Apr-21 15:13:40

This attitude has been common here for many years - it started in the '80s, so I am surprised you are only experiencing it now.

I have long suspected that it is a "polite" way of saying, "I can't be bothered with you". so I drop people who say this more than once, unless they mean a great deal to me.

If that is the case, I point out that I would love to see/ talk to them, so will they please tell me when would be a convenient time, as I feel they don't want to know me any more when they keep saying they are too busy.

Some are shocked when I say this and do find the time to see or talk.

Anneishere Thu 29-Apr-21 15:19:21

How weird!!! I feel exactly the same! I myself have now become a hermit- I don’t see no one apart from when I go shopping they must all see me coming as I tend to strike up chats and I can hear myself waffling about nonsense 😳🤣 I pop up to see mum who is aged 90 who has been diagnosed with mild dementia so I have the same identical chat with mum every time I see her about all the family albums / pictures. I have sisters and 3 grandchildren so I am lucky in that department. I stopped working just before the virus hit us - unbelievable as I had so many plans - I was going to do volunteer work with animal shelters and attend Art Courses - but virus put a stop to that! So I am truly missing all my work colleagues - missing the banter and the laughs and even missing the moans 🤣😳

GreenGran78 Thu 29-Apr-21 15:24:42

A friend phoned me this morning and I said, “Someone has just arrived to collect my table. Can you phone me back later, please?” She phoned again, an hour ago, just as the dog was sick on the carpet. “The dog’s just been sick on the carpet. Can you give me ten minutes?”
She hasn’t phoned me back, so I will have to phone her, and explain that I really wasn’t fobbing her off! 😀
Sometimes life really does get in the way!

Nonogran Thu 29-Apr-21 15:30:30

In retirement/vintage years I have just a few "friends." Usually legacies from work with whom, over the years I've socialised with out of work hours. Great times together.
(As an aside, what is a "friend"? For me it's a playmate, someone to share activities with outside home and other relationships. Anything less is simply an acquaintance. )
Anyway, during Covid lockdown, none of them have even texted, except 2, to ask how I am. Contact has been made only if I've texted them to ask if they're ok.
(I'm deaf, so can't easily phone.)

I conclude I am a "Granny No Mates" & whilst, actually, it doesn't trouble me too much, it's been quite enlightening. I'm not bothered anymore & won't be rushing to catch up with them.

nadateturbe Thu 29-Apr-21 15:36:50


Oh Savvy that’s awful. I think that as we get older time just seems to fly. Or maybe we are much slower at doing things so that the day goes very quickly and we don’t fit in any of the things we mean to do and friends get neglected.

I feel like Buffy. And also doing things is more
tiring. I'm exhausted today and all I did yesterday was visit SiL for an hour and a half, get my hair cut and half an hour in Marks. No housework. If someone had wanted to meet today I would have had to tell a lie and say I was busy. Things take longer to do and are more tiring. I'm sure its not personal. And I would have to check my diary too in case I had appointments. How I ever managed to work fulk time is beyond me!

reelashosser Thu 29-Apr-21 16:22:30

I love to see my friends, but hate the telephone! I've always been this way, despite having to use the phone for the greater part of my career. These days I love to keep in touch by email and Whatsapp, and make all arrangements that way. The friends who can only use the telephone are the ones I have least contact with, and I feel they miss out as it's so easy to text and Whatsapp when its convenient, and to chat about tv and send photographs. As I'm a bit forgetful I find it better not to arrange things by phone as I'm inclined to forget while talking, whereas I can take my time when emailing, and be more sure of being free.

Panda25 Thu 29-Apr-21 16:30:13

Molly AA12, my eldest daughter is like that. For years I've had to book an appointment to see her. I think if people value your friendship then they should make the effort to call and to see you.