‘Too Busy’ is a Bad Excuse You Shouldn’t Accept
February 27, 2023 11:48 AM EST | 6 min read
Does your partner always tell you they are ‘too busy?’
Are you feeling like you are not a priority?
A study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that couples who reported being too busy for sex were actually less satisfied with their relationship overall.
This suggests that the “too busy” excuse may be a cover for deeper issues in the relationship.
At what point is this a sign that it is an excuse and not just a one-off situation?
“If he’s not calling you, it’s because you are not on his mind. If he creates expectations for you and then doesn’t follow through on little things, he will do the same for big things. Be aware of this and realize he’s okay with disappointing you….” – Greg Behrendt, He’s Just Not That Into You
We now live in a world where every minute of every hour of every day is occupied with tasks, mundane or not.
People are not just doing one thing at a time—we’re multi-tasking.
Instead of just working, we’re also checking our phones, posting on Facebook, eating snacks, and laughing at a colleague’s joke.
No wonder we’re so stressed!
Is your partner always “too busy”?
On Being, columnist Omid Safi calls our need always to be preoccupied with the “disease of being busy.”
Even with eight-hour work schedules and convenient planning apps at our fingertips, many of us can’t find time for ourselves or our loved ones.
While several instances are understandable (after all, we need to reach our goals!), if it becomes a habit, rethink if you’re a part of the other party’s future.
- When was the last time you did something enjoyable together?
- Did date nights become bland living room sessions?
- When your partner is busy doing something outside their normal routine, do they find other ways to make you a priority?
Don’t let a busy schedule destroy your relationship—not just with your significant other but also with your connection with yourself.
Here are some reasons you shouldn’t settle for someone who always uses that too-busy excuse.
4 Reasons you should not accept the “too busy” excuse
1. Even Busy People Find Time
Some jobs are more demanding than others.
Entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, and retail workers have some of the most stressful and busy schedules among us.
Surprisingly, they could still find the energy to raise a family and develop productive hobbies.
This brings us to our first point: no matter how busy a person gets, they will find time for people who matter to them.
Remember: you’re busy, too!
Even business owner Nicole Smartt recommends active entrepreneurs like her continue spending quality time with loved ones to avoid work burnout and feelings of isolation.
Even if it’s just a short phone call, an email, or a quick lunch date, your partner should carve hours in a day necessary to cultivate the relationship.
If you do not see any effort, perhaps it’s time to sit down and have the talk.
2. Modern Technology Is On Your Side
Your partner may have a good excuse for not contacting you for days if he’s on a top-secret field mission or if his phone got stolen.
However, if he’s been “too busy” again, remind him of the thousands of apps available on both Android and iOS phones.
If he doesn’t have service but is eating out at a bistro with a Wi-Fi connection, he can send you an SMS through Skype or WhatsApp.
Then there’s Facebook, Twitter, and Viber.
Aside from our smartphones, we have other gadgets at our disposal to communicate with anyone across the globe in a fraction of a second.
There are tablets, personal desktop computers, and even smartwatches.
So unless your significant other is doing volunteer work somewhere where technology is unheard of, “being too busy” is simply not an excuse.
3. Good Relationships Value Open Communication
We don’t live in an ideal world.
Even my boyfriend and I argue over our misaligned schedules and inability to follow through on a few planned events.
However, as we are in a long-distance relationship, we follow one simple rule: we always communicate daily.
No one should be too busy for simple communication.
No matter how challenging, how tired we are, and even if we’re flying off to another country.
A simple SMS, a quick phone call, or even just a private message on social media—anything that would let the other party know that they are in your thoughts.
Today, it’s perfectly normal that your partner may choose a job over you (for the meantime, at least).
However, this doesn’t mean that they should ignore you.
We can chase after our careers while still nurturing our present relationships—but we must be completely honest with our partners.
Setting priorities for specific periods and having clear expectations will help you eliminate the too busy excuse.
Want to pursue medical school?
Be clear about what they should expect.
Do you need to travel all the time to promote your business?
Explain your situation.
People who truly love you will understand and will not make you choose.
In return, find time in your busy schedule to make them feel like they’re still a part of your life.
4. Be With Someone Who Values Time
“Don’t be with someone who doesn’t do what they say they’re going to do. If he’s choosing not to make a simple effort that would put you at ease and bring harmony to a recurring fight, then he doesn’t respect your feelings and needs.”
Know when to break up something that’s no longer working out.
You may be important to them today, but who knows?
Perhaps somewhere down the line, they forget and will simply delegate you to the back burner.
Never think that you deserve to be treated this way!
Time is the most precious commodity that we have on earth.
So you can give it to people who will value it just as much as you do, or you can be too busy and lose people you care about.
If you found this article helpful, please share it on social media and leave a comment below.
December 27, 2020 at 9:28 PM
@Juliana I stopped at “I’m an entrepreneur”. We already all know the tired spiel. Since you’re oh-so busy, allow yourself the extra time you need and very much deserve by allowing other people the opportunity to find those who will be willing to reciprocate their effort, instead of gaslighting them into believing that they’re wrong and unreasonable for expecting you to put the bare minimum in your relationships with them.
But then, what I’ve noticed about people like you is a rather narcissistic penchant, where they know they’re unable to be in a relationship, but won’t have the decency (AND VERY MUCH EMPATHY) to leave others the f. alone. They (people like you) tend to see others as cards to stack on their list of already long (and very much vapid) accomplishments and to-do’s.
Guess what? Most people in relationships have jobs and are “busy” too, but as the saying goes, “we make time for those that matter”
October 26, 2019 at 9:19 PM
I find articles like this frustrating. I am a female entrepreneur and I really am busy. What makes me angry is when you tell people you are busy once and then they continue to bombard you with photos stupid messages memes and other unimportant crap when you are in the middle of conducting business for example focusing on contracts learning new skills or systems or researching technology and you get brainless imbeciles sending you completely mindless crap and expecting a reaction. The more people continue to contact me when I have specifically said I am busy – I need peace at this time – I’m not in the mood the more I get angrier to the point where I cannot talk to the person in question anymore. When I communicate that I am busy I should be left alone until I’m ready to talk because by the time I am no longer busy the thought of talking to someone who has not respected my boundaries is repulsive to me. Typically this is a female thing whereby females just want constant attention and I struggle to make lasting female friendships because I lack the patience to deal. These people rarely ask how I am or what I am doing they just want to communicate and unload their issues on me. I would say this is fairly common. So regarding this article there is two sides to every story. Maybe people who are not “communicating” are actually fantastic at communication but the people who are chasing the communication are just annoying selfish and brainless AF. Thoughts ?
October 28, 2019 at 9:36 PM
Thank you, this is a really good explanation of someone honestly busy in their work and it can be as simple as this. You are not being ignored, they are running a buiness. This has helped me see my long distance friendship in another way without making excuses for him. I totally get it. Don’t pester people at work. On the flip side, for me, the person I hardly hear from now has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, so busy is usually an excuse or he’s “busy” with someone else, bored with keeping in touch or keeping me in a holding pattern until he needs something from me. You will either get bombarded and loved up or get scraps. Lately I have been staying in my space waiting for him to make contact, showing maturity and patience, but I think it’s a game. I wait until the evening around 7pm when he’s home and I will get one short message “just got home, busy day” and nothing more all evening – not even a SMS goodnight. Wow! So I wait for an explanation the next day and it’s just “fell asleep or got a busy day today, you have a great day”. What? Where were you, what were you doing last night. Then you sound like a psycho co-dependent freak. That is not fair or normal in my books. I’ve known this person for 40 years, so I know how to handle some of it. He seems to make contact during his busiest time instead of the quiet time where he works part time. Go figure. Maybe this is a message for me to listen up to. Am I a pest? These are the sort of people this article is mainly focused at I think – the game players who make it very clear they will fit you in when they feel like it – offer you scraps like a starving dog. It works in their favour. You pine to hear from them, you put your life on hold and before you know it, you stop living your life and sit waiting for them. Just how they want it! There is a psychological exercise I read about where a rat was given a constant supply of food if it pressed a lever, then it was withheld and the lever didn’t work. That rat started to crave any little morsel that came it’s way. Kind of like that. And I remember a saying a long time ago “why do you want to be with someone who doesn’t value you or want to be with you?” Go find someone who wants to communicate as normally as you think is normal and without suspicion. I also have a friend who constantly says he’s busy, busy this and busy that to everyone. He works three days a week and I know the business and I know what he does – I have worked with him. He ain’t busy! He is raking it in doing nothing much and always in the coffee lounge. He does have time for everyone and is a lovely person who would be totally there for you if you need him, but his comeback line is “been busy” like he needs to sound important. I ask what he’s been up to and get real nosey, but he stays super private.
January 25, 2020 at 10:03 AM
Julianna, your frustration brings a couple thoughts to mind. First the author isn’t saying you should drop what you are doing every time someone contacts you and make time available right then to the people who are annoying you to the point of anger. She is basically saying there is no valid excuse for ignoring the friends and love interests who are really important to you for days at a time. That doesn’t mean you have to interrupt your work for pointless memes, pictures, and other crap. I suggest that you go beyond telling people you are busy and communicate specific boundaries to the people you mention get on your nerves by telling them that while you appreciate their friendship you aren’t able to respond to calls or texts during work hours and they should not contact you unless it is a legitimate emergency. You could even explain that your clients are paying for your undivided attention during work hours and giving them anything less would be unethical and not something you are willing to do. If they still won’t respect your boundaries after you explain it to them then they really aren’t true friends at all and you should just kick them to the curb and ignore them.
April 30, 2019 at 1:20 AM
My partner ghosted me when I was going through a hard time. For 3 Sundays in a row I offered to commute to my partner and my partner said she too tired, clearly that’s a big deal breaker for me. You can’t be that lazy to have any energy, plus she called me to play with her hair and then send me home. People are stupid these days. I helped her a lot and I guess when people don’t compromise in relationships it doesn’t work out! If it’s all about you and you won’t make an effort what is the point!!! Don’t date lazy people, physically active people is the people you should date!!! I find lazy people a chore to work with!!
April 10, 2019 at 6:49 PM
Too busy” is the excuse I always get from my partner even on my birthday.. he never remembers it for five years in a row! Now I know what to do! Thanks for this
April 2, 2019 at 12:31 PM
I had a toxic relationship …my ex used to ask me for space all the time even though we had a long distance relationship he never even call on my birthday .Amazing article thanks …eye opener