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“I’m too busy for you!”


(Translated: “I’ll never be a leader because

I don’t really care about anybody else!”)


Is “I’m too busy for you!” the verbal or nonverbal message you might be putting out to others?

I just read a promotional endorsement written by someone I know who, years ago, I used to respect. He starts out his explanation of why the particular newsletter he raves about is one of a very few that he actually makes time to read. He opens his statement by saying:


“I’m busy — painfully busy, so

I’m stingy with my time…”


Pull-eease! Who cares? The source, though, may want to know that comments like this scream of the kind of personal frustration known to have led many to depression and isolation.

It would be viewed by not a few psychology professionals as the monolithic signature of an individual who has deep fears of experiencing any forms of intimacy with others.

“Intimacy,”defined by ground-breaking Gestalt Psychology authors James and Jongeward, “is free of games and free of exploitation. It occurs in those rare moments of human contact that arouse feelings of tenderness, empathy…genuine caring…and affection.” 

Businesspeople are not immune to these kinds of connections and cannot hide behind “business” as if it were a protective shield. But many don’t know that they’re doing it. It may be going on for so long, that it feels natural to be a “workaholic.”

Some may say, why interrupt my career mission to get close enough to someone who will want me to pat their hand when they have a crisis? Dealing with other people’s crises slows me down and forces me to sidetrack.


Much has been written in the literature of Gestalt and Reality Therapy about those who play the “Harried Executive” game in life and business.

These are people who define themselves as “overwhelmed” and “overloaded” and “swamped” and “up to my ears…”

They make themselves too busy to have to spend any genuine quality time relating to others.


This is not a healthy mindset, but it is often masked by offering token attentions and participating in general socializing. It frequently requires professional counseling and coaching to move this type of behavior beyond the personal relationship barricade the person has set up for her or himself.

That you might be conveying to others that you are too busy for them, means you are close to the edge of the abyss that forecloses on many of life’s most valuable opportunities.

“I’m too busy” type statements can also be taken by many to mean:


“You’re worthless to me;

  get out of my way!” 

(Can there be any more insulting an attitude to communicate?)


Can you, or anyone who works with you, actually afford to practice being too busy, never mind flaunting it as in the above example?

Time is our most precious and cherished commodity. Of course we need air and water and food and clothing and shelter, but time is what drives those needs.


One of your grandparents no doubt once told you that “Time and tide wait for no man” (a statement that predates modern English and whose authorship is ascribed to St. Marher in 1225) and that “No man is an island” (attributed to the Englishman who was proclaimed the greatest of all metaphysical poets, John Donne, 1572-1631). 


Surely you’ve heard those statements somewhere? Maybe they are worthy of re-considering from time to time.

What kinds of nonverbal “I’m too busy” messages could you be sending out? Arms and/or legs crossed defensively in meetings? Parentally looking over the tops of your glasses at other’s suggestions that seem too time-consuming?

You keep checking your watch, the clock on the wall? You keep checking for text messages? You keep reading emails while someone is speaking with you? Do you walk ahead of others you’re speaking with, or shoulder to shoulder?

Do you pick up the phone and dial when someone approaches you? Do you put off invitations to family gatherings and neighborhood events, or show up to smile and handshake a few people and then slide out the side door when others seem preoccupied?                                                                    

You may want to listen to yourself more…and, hey, check out that great smile of yours in the mirror once in awhile!


 302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.

 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

Make today a GREAT day for someone!

4 comments so far


  1. Angelaon 08 Sep 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Sadly, I find myself guilty of a lot of this. Sometimes feeling like I’m going in circles, but AM working on cutting back on the “busyness for busyness sake” issues. It can definitely be a challenge.

    Great piece and wonderful reminder! Thanks Hal!

  2. Hal Alpiaron 08 Sep 2010 at 9:09 pm

    Thank YOU, Angela. I am so pleased that you find value in the posts, and I truly appreciate your comments and visits. Thank you. Best – Hal

  3. Mike Clevelandon 27 Dec 2010 at 4:41 pm

    OK, I am guilty of this! I found you at the right time. I luv my computer to a fault. Family is telling me I will marry it one day……
    Maybe, I should find a real person to spend more time with…..

  4. Hal Alpiaron 27 Dec 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Hey, Mike – Thanks for finding me, and for owning up, but not to worry the busyness could still lead you to business . . . and maybe a real person to spend more time with . . . talk about two birds with one stone! Anyway, nice to have you visit. I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Please return again soon. Regards (and Happy New Year!) – Hal

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