This article about why San Franciscan’s are so busy makes a few great points. Ironically, it doesn’t answer the very question that it poses. I am not going to give an exhaustive answer to this question, but I am going to draw your attention to four major reasons for this social perversion:
1. Being busy makes you feel and appear more important. In the city where people are so desperate to appear important and successful, they believe that loading and overloading themselves with both professional and social obligations raises their socio-economic status and value in the eyes of others. The overused notion of being a challenge and being unavailable also plays some role in this, and it goes far beyond dating. The biggest irony is that being too busy makes you look less important and less in charge of your life, but more of a slave of your own obligations and circumstances.
2. Being busy validates flaking. When you make it clear that you are extremely busy and you are not available to meet or even talk on the phone for the next 2-3 weeks due to non-stop work, traveling, family in town, and all the “amazing” events you are attending, you implicitly communicate that even when you make yourself available and make plans with someone, you are quite likely to cancel or even flake.
3. Confusion between being busy and being happy. Being happy in SF means coming home dead tired after overbooking yourself with “fun” activities – hours of hiking, biking, dinner, coffee, yoga and a gym. Being happy means you shouldn’t be sitting still. God forbid you aren’t as outdoorsy and as adventurous as you should be. Imagine the disaster if your friends finds out that you ended up spending your Sat afternoon laying on your couch, eating ice-cream, and watching a few movies you picked up at Redbox. Somehow, taking it easy these days makes you boring. Last time I checked, being boring makes you boring, but what do I know?
4. Herd Mentality – if everyone is super busy, so should I be. Enough said.