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The 4-Letter Word That’s Killing Conversations Everywhere, And How To Make It Go Away

BUSY: When did such a short and simple word become such a monumental buzz-kill?

Guess what, friends. Nobody cares how busy you are… they just want to know how you’re doing… they just want to know how you’re doing.

The thing I’ve been striving for most this past year is to be less ‘busy’. It’s my number one priority for 2018, and for the foreseeable future. Why? Two reasons immediately come to mind:

  1. I believe that being too ‘busy’ has an adverse effect on creativity.
  2. Thinking we are ‘too busy’ all the time has reached epidemic proportions, and it’s time to get a grip on reality.

“How are you?” Busy.

“What’s new?” Not much, Busy!

“How’s the family? Kids good? Work?” Busy. Busy. Busy.

Heck, we even propose it when we ask:

“How are things? Busy?” Yep.

Pam Ann puts it into perspective for many

Once I’d noticed the terrible habit, not only in myself, but in the majority of people around me, I started a fun little exercise. Whenever I was aware enough to catch myself or anyone saying the B-word, I’d replace it in my head with a new B-word – Boring. ‘Boring’ was the new B-word, and the habit was actually quite amusing! Not to mention eye opening.

“How’s life?” BORING.

“What are you up to?” I’m just so BORING!

“Have you called Mom?” No, I’m way too BORING to talk to her.


It was definitely working. It often made me LOL, but it also made me cringe at its accuracy at times as well.Nobody who identifies themselves as busy could possibly be any fun, or interesting in the least.

Hey, the truth hurts. I know.

What BUSY conveys

I’ve started to really see how negative the word is, and how it can so quickly put an end to any chance of engaging conversation. For this post, I was planning on sharing some of my personal opinions on this, but couldn’t get past how negative and judgement alI I’d sound.

So I decided to let do the job. Here are a few definitions they provide for ‘busy’: (In order of popularity)

busy: Attempting to seem important, and not being shy about it. “I’m so busy that I can’t keep up with all my phone calls and emails! I am so important.”

busy: Non-descript excuse someone gives you when they’re trying to get out of meeting or spending time with you. Similar to “I have plans”. Basically means they’re not into you.

busy: To give the appearance of being occupied when the actions are really trivial and not time consuming.

Ouch. So there it is. You didn’t hear it from me. But if you did, I’d say something more like this. Busy is a word we use today to protect ourselves from feeling vulnerable. Vulnerable to all the wonderful things that can happen when we are simply willing to notice and experience the world around us. Yes, bad things can happen when we feel vulnerable, but not as bad as we fear, and experiencing the bad makes us stronger ­– and more interesting.

Here’s something I’d like you try. I’ve been doing it for the past few months, and it has been very liberating. Don’t allow yourself to use the B-word. Ever. For as long as you can. Every time you catch yourself wanting to use it, pause, and use another more positive and accurate word. See what you start to notice, and make note of the difference it makes.

Try other words that may suit you better. Words that are more positive, funnier, or just plain absurd. Justn pause for a split second, and be creative. 

“How’ve you been, Buddy?” Great thanks.

“You must be so busy these days, huh?” Oh, lots going on for sure, but I can’t complain.

“How’s it going?” I’m more purple than ever! Better to be purple than poor, I guess.

You’ll get there. And I will too. 

Thanks and be well.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences. Be sure to comment.

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