Monday, February 23, 2009

Busy Little Bees

How many times recently have you had this exchange:

"How are you?" someone asks.
"Busy!" you reply.

I know, I know. I'm right there with you saying "busy busy" all the time.

For some reason responding "busy" when I am asked bugs me. Yes I am busy and saying that out loud is correct. But who is not busy? Have you ever asked someone the token "how are you?" and gotten "I am so relaxed. I have all the time in the world and right now I"m enjoying the fact that I get to have a sweet conversation with a friend like you. In fact, I wasn't even sure what I was going to do until you walked up to talk to me."

Let's face it, we're all busy -- but is that all we have to say to each other? We certainly can find more to talk about other than how jam packed our lives are, filled with stuff to do, places to go and e-mails to check that we barely have time for a meaningful conversation.

Busy has become our code word that declares "I am valued, I am needed, I have lots to accomplish." Who doesn't want to feel valuable, important, on a mission in life? I know I do, but my goal is to find a way to say it without saying the "b" word.

The challenge is that when people ask you how you are, they really don't want to know. They want to know sort of, but in a hurry up, let me get to what I want, get on with it sort of intention.

So to be efficient but real, I put together a list of potential responses to the "how are you?" question:

How are you?

The Pollyanna
"I'm excellent and hoping you are too!"

The Encourager
"I'm well and you are looking well yourself."

The Ray of Sunshine
"I'm struggling today, but I'm on the upward swing."

The Truth
"I had a horrible night's sleep, but looking forward to a nap later."

The Honest
"I'm getting over a cold and am in need of some soup, do you have any?"

If you can't think of something good to say, I think a "I'm great" with a smile will always do. Because even if you are struggling inside, the very fact that you said "I'm great" out loud fools you into thinking you can find a way back to it. I hope you will try to be a bit more creative than "busy" when someone asks how you are. It certainly would make more life more interesting for everyone involved.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Facebook Frenzy

Since joining Facebook, I don't think I've ever felt so popular.

With all the "be my friend" requests, quizzes to find out what celebrity I am most like, fish presents, causes to join and virtual cocktails and outfits, I can't help but feel popular. I even have a host of people wanting to know "65 random things about me." I'm not sure I want to know 65 random things about me, let alone share that with other people.

If you are not familiar with Facebook, it's an on-line community place where you get to share all sorts of fun things about you and what you are up to each day. When you make friends with people, it's a chance to invite them into your "circle" and keep up with what's going on both of your lives. You can post pictures, share causes, write on walls, post buttons of flair, take all sorts of quizzes and give away virtual gifts. It's ridiculous and pointless electronic fun and it's completely addictive. (

People you may have never even spoken to in high school are looking you up and be-friending you. It's like one big giant popularity contest to keep up with Facebook. The downside is that it can be completely overwhelming to respond to all the requests, invitations and virtual gifts. It can also be completely addicting. My new cell phone has a Facebook icon on it, so I can literally find out what my 75 friends are doing while I'm sitting in car pool.

When you think about it, it's over-the-top nosy to be constantly needing to find out what everyone is up to. But in some ways it's very practical. My husband and I wanted to invite a friend over for dinner one night and he actually said, "can you check Facebook to find out if so and so is in town to see if they can come over?"

The reality is life can be sort of lonely and it's pretty neat to be reminded about all the people that know and care about you. It's pretty comforting to know that you have 75 friends. People that are really interested in knowing what 80s sit-com you most identify with. But yes, it's a huge waste of time -- sort of like eating a bag of Doritos with french onion dip. Not so healthy, not completely harmful, but delicious nonetheless.

But with all the bad news, job losses, economic downturns and political scandals, it's really nice to have something that is pure ridiculous fun. And that my dear, is Facebook.