Space L Clottey

Just Say “Busy”

If someone texts you asking if you want to do something, and you can’t, don’t explain why.

If someone texts you asking “do you want to go to dinner together today”, and you can’t, just say “Can’t!”

Don’t apologise, because that makes it seem like going to dinner with you is a favour, or that I should be feeling sad that they can’t go.

It’s okay! I’ve been a human for a long time!

I’m okay with if you want to go, or if you don’t want to go. If you can’t, it’s not a tragedy, this is just how it is. But saying sorry makes it a bigger deal then it is!

But also, I don’t want me asking something to be a big deal for you. I want the time you spend thinking about going to dinner with me to be about the same whether you can or can’t. If every time I ask you something you have to type a long message explaining why you can’t, including adding enough emoticons or streeeeeeeeeetches of the words to convey the emotion that accurately communicates that this is a bummer for you and that you really would have wanted instead, then it means just me asking imposes costs on your time and effort.

So next time when I’m thinking of asking you if you want to do something, I’ll want to less because I’ll be worried that I’m imposing costs on you.

Rule 1: Don’t explain yourself.

Rule 2: Don’t apologise.

Sorry also like reflects the sadness onto me. As though I can’t stand not going to dinner with you. It would be nice! But I will be okay! My entire hapiness for that our isn’t dependant on you going to dinner with me!

If you say “Alas, I can’t today”, then that’s you saying that you’re sad that you can’t go, and that you wish you could. And if what you’re trying to prove is: “it’s okay, I’m not not going to dinner because I don’t like hanging out with you, now that you’ve said you want to go it means you’re sad if you’re not so i’m sorry about your negative feelings”

I don’t care about how I feel in this instance! If I’m asking you to go to dinner and you don’t like hanging out with me as much as I do with you then that’s the bad thing! You shouldn’t be apologising to me!

But if you’re sad because you want to hang out with me and you can’t, then say alas. Saying sorry is like I’m a dog, wanting to go outside to play fetch, and you say no and I’m sad. It’s okay, I can go outside and play fetch by myself, or with anyone else. Not that I don’t love hanging out with you, but I’m not dependant on you in this scenario, so you don’t need to apologise.

If you’re sad for yourself, say “alas” or the almost as good “unfortunately”, but don’t be sad for me. It makes me feel silly.

So to summarise…

Rule 1: Don’t explain yourself

Rule 2: Don’t apologise

Better things to say:

“Busy” is the best because it covers all scenarios, you don’t need to think that much about what you’re saying, if you’re in a conversation or interaction it takes 2 seconds to type and you can go back to paying full attention to who you’re with, and you can get a reply to the person really quickly which will leave them in the limbo of not knowing what they should plan for based on whether they can or can’t go at the time.

It’s great.

But if you must, say: “Alas, busy then”.

Space L Clottey