Are they busy or “busy”?

This is something that makes me crazy.

We have been told that if someone repeatedly declines invitations, is always “busy,” and so on, that we should take the hint, read the subtext, know that they’re just not interested, and move on.

We have also been told that people are busy, have a lot going on, and there’s just not time to do all the things we want. The are countless memes floating around with text that explains that “it’s not you, it’s me, and we can still be friends even if we never talk.”

So how do we know when someone is busy versus when they’re “busy”?

Why, in the first situation, is it the responsibility of the person extending the invitation to try to guess at what’s going on? It should, in my opinion, be the responsibility of the person receiving the invitation to be kind but straightforward.

When people need to turn down invitations repeatedly, I very much appreciate when they say something to the effect of, “Please keep inviting me. Timing just hasn’t worked out.”

Then I know that I’m not missing the “hint” and that our schedules just haven’t aligned. It takes months, sometimes more than a year, for schedules to align, but I know my energy is not being spent in vain.

Maybe I’m just more persistent than most? And most would give up, regardless of the intended subtext?

Hard tellin’. People are weird.


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