Do you ever feel like everyone is busy with their own lives while you sit at home without any direction or motivation? Is the real problem that they are staying busy or that you don’t have anything productive to do?
It can seem like everyone besides you stays busy and productive all the time because you only catch snippets of their lives. While you only see the intermittent highlights of their lives, you are deeply aware of all the minutes and hours of your own life. This can warp how you compare the lives of everyone else to your own.
Even if you are decently productive and work toward your goals, it can seem like you are falling short of the lives that everyone else seems to be living. It can be disheartening if you believe what your imagination comes up with. But there are some grains of truth with what your mind comes up with.
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Everyone is busy with their own lives
Even the laziest person is busy with their own lives. This is true even if they are completely unproductive. Each person is the main character of their own life. In their story, they are the protagonist and everything is about their own life. To some people, sitting around and watching sports or TV is an important thing. Overconsumption of TV, YouTube, etc. can even mask loneliness from not taking the time to check in with a good friend. It can make people numb to more important things in life such as their friendships in the real world.
Even though they aren’t “busy”, in their minds they are because what they are doing is important to them. It isn’t uncommon at all for people to feel too busy for an old friend until they have satisfied their priorities of watching TV, sports, video games, etc. So even though they aren’t truly a busy person, to them it feels that way.
And there is nothing wrong with this as long as it isn’t taken to an extreme. But you shouldn’t feel neglected because most people will have these unimportant “priorities” that sometimes (or always) take precedence over visiting with friends. Until I made this realization, I would often feel like everyone is busy except me. Now I know that this isn’t the truth.
But all my friends are too busy for me all the time
Do they actually have a poor work-life balance? Or are they just not as available as you wish they were? Are you making yourself available to spend time with them based on their schedule or are you expecting them to work around your schedule?
If they are actually extremely busy and can’t make time for you, there is a reason. Either they have a good reason for their constant busyness or they are using this as an excuse because they don’t want to see you.
If they have a good reason then you have to be understanding. They could be busy with a new job, new girlfriend, an important project, or other significant reasons that do require a lot of their time to tend to. In this case, you should be understanding and be a good friend to them. They may not have free time to meet up and spend an hour or two with you but anyone can find the time to catch up over a few texts or a few minutes on a call. Little things like a phone call or a short Facetime/Zoom chat can keep the friendship healthy while they are busy hustling.
On the other hand, it is possible that they legitimately aren’t busy and they are making excuses. If this is the case, it’s time to talk with them about what’s going on. People do sometimes grow apart but it is also highly likely that there is a real issue that is causing them not to want to spend time with you.
Be honest with yourself and try to look at the situation objectively, as a neutral third party would see it. Are there any red flags that stand out? Have you done anything that would affect your friendship? Do you have a new girlfriend that other people don’t care for? Have you become a political or religious zealot? (kinda joking here but it is becoming more common). Is it possibly your fault that your friends are becoming distant?
It is also possible that both of you just haven’t put in the effort to reach out and keep up with each other. You can’t expect your friends to always be there for you if you aren’t the same way towards them. With easy access to the Internet and endless entertainment, people can neglect their friends more easily. So if this is the problem, you have to seriously reevaluate your own behavior first before you can put blame on anyone else. And if you recognize that this is the problem, being too busy for friends, you can fix it easily by reaching out to your friends and reconnecting.
Everyone is busy except me, so stop being lazy
Sure, your friends might be busy but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is usually a good thing because it means that your friends aren’t lazy. They are living a busy life and accomplishing something.
When it feels like everyone else is busy, it could also be a sign that you are not being busy enough. If you feel like everyone is busy except for you, then that means everyone is getting different things done and moving forward in their lives while you are stagnating. This is a bad place to be stuck in but if you recognize the problem you can start to work on it.
If you now realize that you have not been busy for weeks or months, you have to take action. It is not uncommon for people to fall out of the habit of being productive and then they end up wasting their precious time. The problem with idleness and not doing anything is that it is easy to get stuck in this mode. A few unproductive days turn into weeks, years, or even a lifetime if left unchecked.
Note that you do not have to stay productive all of the time. Breaks and vacations are great and it is healthy to take time to relax and decompress. But when these breaks turn into the norm, you have major problems.
You have to break out of this cycle of laziness. If you are spending most of your time watching TV or playing video games, then that needs to change now. Start creating instead of only consuming. You have a limited amount of time and energy so put it into something that will make your life better for the long term. The easy distractions have a way of lulling you into a lifestyle that leads to despair.
So break the pattern, push your comfort zone, and get engaged living your life. Get back to work on a task for a personal project. Get back to the gym and make your body stronger. Get to work and live life instead of being the lazy person who fades away into nothingness.
When it seems like everyone has a busy schedule except you, there are a few different reasons why this could be. Everyone else could actually be busy and dealing with life or working long hours at something. Or, it could be that the busyness problem is yours and you need to refocus yourself and get on track with your goals.
When you start to feel like everyone else is busy, this is a signal to take an honest evaluation of what is going on. And once you figure out the truth of the situation, you can make a plan to resolve it.