Thursday, June 10, 2010

Something that's been bugging me....

"Oh, I don't have time for that. I'm too busy."

I can't even tell you how many times I've heard that over the last few weeks and it's been grating on my nerves. I know most people probably don't mean anything by it other than they are really busy, but I also don't think they realize how condescending it sounds. As if their time is more valuable than anyone else's, or that the things they're engaged in are somehow more worthwhile than your pursuits.

Guess what? We're ALL busy in different ways. Sure, I am a stay at home mom, but I'm still busy taking care of my son, taking care of the house, and taking care of my husband. I am our social director, appointment scheduler, personal shopper, etc. I am also the one that nurtures our connections to the world outside our immediate family - I talk to my in-laws several times a week, and make sure that cards and emails get sent out to the extended family on a regular basis. My job is 24/7, and I am in no way complaining - I am just pointing out that I'm busy too and what I do has value.

But sometimes when I mention facebook or email or some other social activity that takes place on line, it's viewed as less important than other people's activities. I know not everyone is as connected as I am, and that's fine. But it's driving me nuts to hear people say, "Oh, I don't have time for email or Facebook or whatever." I don't expect them to sit in front of their computer all day long, but whenever someone says that, what I'm really hearing is, "Communication is not important."

Email is not that hard. Type a sentence or two, hit send and you're all done. And I'm not even asking you to send an email out of the blue - I'd do a freaking jig if you'd just RESPOND TO A QUESTION I HAVE ASKED YOU. I don't expect immediate answers, but if you can't check your email and respond every few days (barring any extenuating circumstances like vacations or whatever), then maybe you shouldn't give out your email address. And yes, I know I can pick up the phone and call if it's that important, but I don't see the big deal about people responding to emails either.

I just had a discussion with someone who cancelled their facebook account, and while I understand the reasons for doing so, part of me was a little annoyed when this person said, "Oh, I don't have time for that, and if people want to get in touch with me, they know how to find me." First, I think it's a little self centered that people have to track YOU down if they want to have a relationship with you. And second, when I mentioned that thanks to Facebook, I've found some common ground with people I hadn't previously been all that close to, and developed some really nice friendships, it seemed as if that was immediately dismissed as unimportant. I'm sorry this person didn't have the same positive experiences I've had, but then again, I don't think she was trying very hard either.

Now before anyone gets on me about privacy and such, believe me, I know. Facebook isn't for everyone, and yes, it can be a time consuming pursuit. Anything online can be a time consuming pursuit, and some people are just uncomfortable with it. I understand that, but I do think that the "I'm too busy" excuse is just that - an excuse - most of the time. I think people are so conditioned to be busy, busy, busy all the time and make sure people know how busy they are that they don't stop to realize they have more free time than they know. It's always go, go, go, and yes, some of that is driven by technology and the ability to be "connected" 24/7. Some people want to disconnect, I get that. But I also think that maybe everyone's lives would be a little better if we turned that technology to our advantage and stopped to respond to an email or a facebook post and demonstrated we are interested in something other than our own lives.

End of rant.

14 comments:

Kathryn said...

Bravo. I am glad I am on Facebook to update my friends and family with brief notes about my medical status. They can read it or ignore it as they choose. I don't play any Facebook games, but can spend just as much time playing iPhone games.

My boss said a profound thing many years ago, "You are not what you think, you ARE what you do." You may think that you are hiker or a biker or a cook, but if you don't hike or bike or cook, you aren't what you think you are. And you aren't a friend if you don't communicate. My mother-in-law REFUSED to use a computer even though she was very smart and all her friends urged her to at least get email. But she phoned and wrote paper letters and sent clippings to her family and friends. Maybe it took more time to do this, but she was never too busy.

If "friends" don't respond to email and phone calls, slowly they just drop out of the loop. It can be sad, but it is their choice and you shouldn't feel the need to remind them that friendship is a two way street. You have done all that you could and now you are moving on with those friends who can communicate.

Marnie said...

When I hear someone say "I'm too busy for that", what I hear is "That does not interest me". We are in such an interesting time for technology and the masses. I'm an armchair sociologist but have really been fascinated watching so many of my friends become obsessed with FB only to 100% give it up from what I would call burn-out.

Sally said...

My sister-in-law is one of those people who says I don't have time for that and it really grates on me so I can understand where you are coming from. She does make it sound like she is so much more important than everyone else. I, for one, love Facebook as it's given me chance to catch up with my stitching friends and stay in touch with my daughter when she's away at uni, although I did get too involved in some of the games but have given the majority of them up now.

Rachel S said...

I'm with you. And I love Facebook. It's allowed me to rekindle high school friendships and have closure. I have plenty of time for that!

Laura said...

I totally agree!!!! I am so tired of that I am too busy line. We all make time for the things that comfort us, the things that we are interested in......

Dani said...

Thank you for your post Jen! I know for me, I love being able to keep up with people on Facebook. Especially since we are military as are many of our friends ... it makes it so much easier to keep track of where people are (otherwise it is hard to find them).

Lee said...

I don't understand why people don't say - Sorry, it's just not my thing. Saying that they're too busy for Facebook (or whatever pastime is being discussed) feels like a subtle put-down. We all make choices about how we spend our time, and for heaven's sake, we should own up to our choices!

Carolyn NC said...

People do what they want to do...end of discussion.
Amen, sister. If you (or I) choose to spend time "networking" on the computer or phone, and someone else doesn't, no problem. It's you do your thing and I'll do mine, but don't be condescending about it. While I do try to limit my computer time (my own choice), and I do understand why someone may not like FB or e-mail, please don't be derogatory if I choose to utilize them for my own personal use and you don't.
The bottom line is this. You make time for the things you really want to do, whether you work in the home or outside. Sports, TV, Movies, Reading, Stitching, Networking - they're all something to choose or not. But few people are really "too busy." It's a choice of doing something they'd rather do in their own free time. And that's ok, as long as they aren't arrogant about how I spend mine...
I liked your rant, so I decided to add to it! LOL

mainely stitching said...

I get absolutely PO'd when someone tells me they are too busy for something. Like I'm not? Hello, I have a bunch of kids, lots of hobbies, family to help take care of, part time work, and oh-so-much more. Nah, I don't know what it means to be busy. Grrr. But of course you can't actually say any of that or it becomes a sort of contest as to whose busy-ness is more valuable or something. Anyway, thanks for putting it into words so well!!

Dee L said...

Don't get mad--I'm just being "devil's advocate" here: Maybe these people mean I'm too busy doing the things I know about already and enjoy to take the time I'd need to learn how to do Facebook or whatever the activity might be. Maybe fear of the unknown or fear of not being able to learn how to do something is the cause of the comment. Of course, tone of voice or written context can sometimes tip you off about whether they're just being arrogant. I know I'm always amazed at how much all the bloggers I read manage to accomplish in their lives--and they blog about it too!

Kim B said...

They make it sound like if you do have time for that, you must not be as busy as they are. What a load of crap!

debijeanm said...

Everyone makes choices about how they spend their time. I choose to spend quite a lot of time on the computer because I am thrilled with the relationships I've discovered and developed here. I'm in touch with my sons' friends, people I would have lost after they all graduated from highschool. Colleagues, relatives and new friends who I would NEVER have developed a relationship with in "real" life have become much closer friends through this medium. I can't think of anything more important.

Dianne said...

My older brother says that all the time about having a relationship with our mom and tells her to call him! In my mind's eye I can see him when he's not working staring at the tv or computer instead of doing stuff for her. He's full of BS. I know he's near her house a few times a month and won't go see what he can do.
I believe a lot of people don't understand Facebook. I think not only is it fun to reconnect, you can plan get-togethers and play games too.
I still love cross stitch, but I don't do it as much as I use to because of the paper crafts and photography. I do want to do one of those witchy Altoid tin covers that I bought when we were together-and soon!

Dani - tkdchick said...

I think that's a very interesting and valid point of view. I make time for whats important in my life and my online commmunities are one of them! I've met so many amazing people via blogs, bullitin boards and social networking!