Have you been busy? This seems to be the standard introductory chit-chat among friends and small talk with acquaintances. Or perhaps, I've been so busy is a response to How are you?
This simple question, Have you been busy?, inquiring on the activities of others, can only be answered two ways, both detrimental to a person's worth and open communication with the other person.
The first, yes, seems like it is the correct answer. Of course I've been busy! I've been working my buns off. This is America after all, we have to work hard and stay moving at all times. So often, I've answered this question with a yes, when I am not really busy, but I am not not busy either. I work at creating a balance between work and play, packing my schedule and leaving it luxuriously open. But the question doesn't really allow for an answer as complicated as that.
The other answer, no, somehow creates a void of, well, what are you doing with your time? Are you not productive? When you are limited to a yes or no, it is hard to have open communication and connection with the person making the inquiry. So while this seemingly innocuous question has become the in-vogue greeting of choice, I prefer to ask a better question:
Are you taking care of yourself? Do you have enough time for yourself and your family? Are you making enough time for you?
Being busy today so often equates into being valuable, so let's shift that focus. I no longer look at being busy as an indicator of my self-worth, I don't want to be "busy" I want to have a beautiful balance of my time. I am not looking to pack my schedule with activities, or to work 12 hour days, I don't need to be on my phone all day to feel important, and I don't want to add tasks just to "stay busy".
Instead I want to make sure that people are getting all they want from their lives, that they are not on the proverbial hamster wheel, that they are taking care of themselves.
So, by asking, you're not working too hard, instead of have you been busy, you can get a more honest answer.