the b word

There is a word that people often use – far too often, I think – that annoys, frustrates, angers and saddens me. I’ve started calling it the b word. My wife actually said it first, and I latched onto it.

No, not that b word! In some ways it might be worse.

I’ll illustrate a couple of times it comes up, but it happens far more often.

Scenario one: A friend, in passing, tells me some variation of “Hey, let’s get together sometime!”

My standard reply: Okay, sounds great! I’ll check with my wife and text you a few times that work for our schedule! (I tend to be the social scheduler in our household, but it’s always good to check with my wife!) So, I check with her, and send them a few options.

One of two things frequently happens at this point:

1. crickets – no response, then another follow-up from me, and then maybe…

2. a reply that includes the b word

Scenario two: I ask someone – by text, or in person – “how are you”?

A couple of usual responses:

1. Oh, I’m fine…and they move on.

2. I’m just so… b word

Have you guessed it yet?


What does that even mean??

When I hear it, my brain interprets busy to mean a lot of things, and none of them are very positive.

I’m over-committed and under-resourced.

I value productivity over connection.

I’m really struggling with some difficult life issues but I don’t want to tell you about them.

I’m really not so great with prioritization and I don’t know it / don’t want to admit it.

I don’t want to be your friend, but I don’t want to tell you, either.

I don’t trust you.

You’re not worth my time.

As I began thinking about writing this post, I also tried coming up with possible ways to receive that word positively. I’ve got nothing.

I think there is usually a better way to convey what is meant when using the b word. It might be harder, more painful, or take longer. But it would be more honest, clearer, and kinder.

What other scenarios come to your mind when the b word is used? Can you think of a positive use for it, when no other means of communicating would be better?

4 thoughts on “the b word

      1. Michele Lee

        I agree. 😞 A topic worthy of its own post/discussion. A timely topic for me… I’ve been thinking a lot about how being present for children often means saying no to many things. I did my best to live that way. Not always easy, but now that my daughter is a grownup, I am grateful I did. They grow too fast! 🌻

        Liked by 1 person

  1. LA

    I wrote about the phenomena about being “busy” awhile back. I think it’s an excuse at least 60% on the time. And I had someone tell me I was a negative person and I shouldn’t follow her because I said busy was bull most of the time…

    Liked by 2 people


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