Busy is the new Fine

by Jeff Shinabarger

So, how are things going? Busy. This is the new common question and answer from me, from friends, from colleagues, from everyone. The common response in the past is to be fine, but now everything is busy. At some point, there was a transitional response that happened from fine to busy. There has been a cultural shift that defined busy was a better term than fine. I think it is a shift in translation that happened in the last three years, since the economy has been hindered. Busy showed that we had work, which too often was a positive answer. But, it needs to end at some point in dialogue with trusted individuals. I say it too much. The truth is that I really am busy most of the time. It can be good, but in many ways I am realizing it also is not.

I am learning that busy-ness may be my great deterrent to true community. I am busy and many of my friends know that I am busy. What this communicates to my friends is that I don’t have time for them. Friends begin to think that if I am busy, I don’t need them. When you are busy or fine, it is a common answer that says I don’t need you right now. Being busy is a common answer for stay out of my life, I don’t have time for you.

When I am busy, I choose to not engage in community. It is a verbal and chosen time response to friendship. When I am busy, I am actively not inviting others into my life. But, in my head I think that busy is good. In all reality, being busy is selfish.

I know there are times that people really are busy and need to focus on the task at hand to address a given problem. But if we are too busy to engage in relationships, we have a problem. When we respond and tell you we are too busy, too often, we need help. We really need deep relationship, comforting and concern. The result of being extra busy is loneliness and depression. You may not relate with this, but I truly need freedom from being busy. Time is of the essence. If you are not busy, you are setting an example for the rest of us. Please take time to engage people that are too busy. We need you.

Jeff is a social entrepreneur, experience designer, coffee shop owner and is always creating new cause-marketing ideas. He is the cofounder of the Fermi Project and served as experience designer with Fermi for three years. While at Fermi, Jeff played an important role in launching the national unChristian campaign. Jeff is gifted at creatively communicating the needs of the poor and the greater culture. He and his wife, Andre, live in East Atlanta Village with their newly adopted daughter. Image is courtesy of Jeff’s website, Plywoodpeople.com.