“Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.” – Robin Sharma
Apart from many other things, human beings are also social creatures because they are not meant to thrive on their own. Therefore, relationships take an important part in a person’s life. And relationships are not static, but they mature and grow, and by doing so, they become more intimate and complex. There are many situations which put our relationships – with friends, family and our significant others, to a test. Minimizing the effects of these as they happen is really important. And sometimes, this only means choosing the right words.
The power of words is immense. Words can bring on happiness at one moment, and then misery the next. As a matter of fact, a number of relationships have ended or become too broken to go on because of words.
At this point, you might wonder what these words are. Even if sometimes we don’t intentionally mean to hurt someone’s feeling with what we say, things don’t always sound the way we want them to.
READ THESE STATEMENTS AND CONCLUDE WHETHER THEY ARE DAMAGING OR NOT:
“Sorry I didn’t reply to your calls or text messages. I’ve just been really busy.”
“That sounds like so much fun! Unfortunately, I’m busy with work.”
“I’d love to try that new place with you guys, but I’m busy with the kids.”
At first, this really may sound completely OK. After all, we all have responsibilities and busy schedules.
BUT, THE WORDS “I’M BUSY” COULD POSSIBLY LEAVE YOU WITH FEWER RELATIONSHIPS…AND THIS IS WHY.
- EVERYBODY IS BUSY
This is nothing new because every single person on earth is “busy”. Some people may just feel “busy” even if they aren’t in fact. The thing is that “I’m busy” is rapidly becoming a substitute phrase to save you from any kind of discomfort.
So, what’s busy? “Busy” should stand for a schedule which is so tight that there’s only enough time for family, food and sleep. That’s truly busy. However, the majority of us have at least some periods of free time that can sometimes be used for catching up with people who care about us. Needless to say, this will guarantee your relationships’ future.
- “BUSY” IS OPEN TO (OFTEN BAD) INTERPRETATION
Although we can tolerate “I’m busy” to some extent, the moment it becomes a bad habit – a consistent behavior that often hurts us, we simply don’t have the will to put up with it any longer.
For example, if you’ve asked someone to meet for coffee and been declined for the tenth time, then you’re less likely to tolerate “busy” or think it’s really true.
- “I’M BUSY” OFTEN MEANS “IT’S NOT THAT IMPORTANT”
There’s a general tendency of overusing “I’m busy”. As a matter of fact, we constantly balance priorities, which is not an easy thing to do. The increased focus on careers, finances and other things makes it really hard to keep the balance between work and social life. The thing is that these words do NOT reflect any of this, which leaves other people thinking that they’re just don’t matter much.
Let’s put it differently – “I’m busy” can often trigger feelings of rejection. Although these are mostly unintended, intention is NOT the problem here, but perception – the perception that the person is simply not important enough.
Even if your schedule is really busy, there are many other ways to say that and show the person that you truly care for them and their time.
THESE 3 TIPS CAN HELP YOU TO COMMUNICATE BETTER IN RELATIONSHIPS
“I’m busy” is quite vague because it doesn’t specify anything. Here, we exclude the rare occasions where you simply CAN’T talk (emergencies, an urgent meeting, etc.)
Otherwise, a little more detail will be far more effective. For example:
“Gosh, I’d love to have your kids overnight, but I’m way too busy.”
“Unfortunately, I can’t have your kids overnight. Dave is already having people over for his Friday night poker with the boys.”
The difference is obvious – the second statement provides explanation, which is very important when you say “no” to someone, and the first one is simply a getaway phrase.
- ARRANGE A TIME
Your schedule might indeed be busy; however nothing stops you from making an effort to arrange a different time. This is a great illustration of how you can handle such situations:
“I’ve wanted to try that new restaurant! Unfortunately, I’m very busy.”
“Let’s try that new place! I can’t make this Friday night, but let’s do next Friday. I’m much more available then.”
The difference is apparent again, simply because the second response gives much more information. Plus, it adds enthusiasm, flexibility and initiative because it tries to engage the other person as well. The first one gives nothing, except for that the “busy” person wants to try the new restaurant.
No matter how many demands we have to meet and how exhausted we really are, we should always remember that relationships are truly important. Therefore, making an effort in any relationship is vital for keeping that relationship on good terms.
- HAVE THAT HARD, HONEST CONVERSATION
In cases when your busy schedule is not the reason why you are putting off someone, having an open conversation with that person is really important, no matter how difficult it can be.
Many of those who are non-confrontational will find this really difficult. But then, you should carefully consider what kind of treatment the other person deserves – whether it’s having you continue to put them off, or they deserve an open talk with you.
There may be a number of reasons for the end of a relationship – lack of connection, lack of interest, etc. – But, in all cases, it’s much better, in the long run, to say “Goodbye”and “Best wishes” instead of delaying the inevitable.