"Why did you not reply back?"
"But I did!"
"After an hour?!"
"Yes! Exactly, what's the big deal? I was busy!!"
"You know what... It's over..."
This situation may sound familiar to you. Perhaps, you know it too well. This scene might have been one of your experiences of your failed relationships.
I am Korean and the issue of not responding to texts in a timely manner is a big problem in our culture. Why? Because we hate to wait - hence the reason for the fastest internet speed on earth.
Back to our story. Why is this scene such a pervasive and all-too-common problem in our culture? First, how comes that people cannot reply to texts or emails in a timely manner (how long does it take to take out your phone and to type a few sentences?) and second, why do people have a problem with waiting?
The case is simple - in both cases, we are busy... in fact we are too busy! That is why we do not reply to texts as soon as we can, and neither can we wait for too long before our temper comes into play. We are all just too busy...!
Yet, are we really?
What does it mean to be busy? How long does it take to respond to a text? Especially in a time when writing back takes literally no effort at all compared to just 20 years ago, when our main means of long-distance communication were to write letters, how much busier are we that we cannot spare 10 seconds of our time to reply to a text message? How much of a difference does it make waiting 5 seconds or 50 minutes for a reply to our initial text of "What are you doing?" or "What did you have for dinner?"
The word busy, one which we throw around so easily, it intrigues me (I am as much of a sinner in overusing that term as anyone else). Why are we always telling people that we are too busy when in fact no one is? Even though, we all find time to check our Facebook, Instagram, ESPN, etc. we all too casually say to each other that we are too busy.
I want to think further about this word "busy." Yes, we are busy. We have work, we have our obligations, we have our meetings and other primary responsibilities we must meet there and then. But in the end, whenever someone asks us something and whenever we respond with "I am busy" to someone, what we mean by that is that actually we do not have the time for that person at that moment. Let me be clearer. "The priority is not you at this moment." "You are not worth of my time to respond to your properly and to give you the reasons." This is the message that people are hearing whenever we say, "I am too busy."
That is clearly why couples fight over this matter - for they want to be the priority no matter what. We are all just that selfish. Someone wants attention, the other does not want to give it.
It is a question of priority... but maybe it is also a matter of honesty. Maybe, instead of saying, I was too busy with something else - making the other person feel less important or valuable than a "thing" - maybe we should start saying, "Sorry, I was too focused on x that I could not focus on you." Saying we are busy without an apology means "You are not valuable enough for my time" We have to make sure that the other person feels valuable.
We are all busy - that is life. So, being busy can never an explanation nor an excuse. It's not like we are the only ones that are busy.
So, before we say we are too busy, maybe we should be starting with an apology first, instead of being an apologist.