With a Capital EM: The Busy Backlash


Busy. How many times have you asked someone how they are and they answer with that word? Raise your hand if you’re guilty of doing the same. As someone who volunteers, works more than 40 hours a week and runs a household, I have felt it is my right to answer the standard “how are you doing?” question with that response. But lately there’s been a “busy” backlash. The backlash has led to some thought-provoking questions: What are you really telling someone when you say that? and Does that really convey how you are? Let’s be honest, pretty much everyone is busy. And if they aren’t and they tell you they are, don’t you judge just a little? Thinking, “yeah right, if you only knew what busy was!” I do. Heck, I judge the old me as I can almost pinpoint the exact moment I started using “busy” as my standard response and frankly I have to laugh at myself, because I had about a third of the things going on in my life as I do now. There are a few theories floating around out there as to when the concept of being busy became a good thing or the norm and when exactly we started using the word to describe our state of being. What’s worse is that people (myself included) tend to say “busy” with a sigh and drop off the shoulders indicating that life is tough because “I’m so busy.” In reality, I love being busy, that’s why I do so much. I have little tolerance for down time and have been like this most of my life. It wasn’t until I started using the word “busy” to describe how I was doing, that I realized it was becoming a sort of negative, especially in the way people perceived me. It got to the point recently where people addressed me differently asking “How are you? Well, I mean you are so busy.” What? I don’t want to be known as that busy girl, especially if busy means being run down or being too busy to be a good friend. So, after learning as much as I could about the “busy” backlash, I’ve been making a conscious effort to answer differently. Because if being busy is what I like to be then the answer to the question “how are you?” should be “great.” How about test? Next time you run into me and ask me how I’m doing if I answer “busy” throw a shoe at me or ya know, remind of this column.

Tags: busy, with a capital em

Emily Caswell

Emily Caswell is the Managing Editor of CAWLM. She has a passion for fun, family, friends, shopping sprees, cold drinks and Lansing.

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