Do People Pretend to Be Busy To Seem Important?

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Everyone knows one or several people who answer any requests to get together with “I’m so busy!” Now, researchers are theorizing that being busy is the newest status symbol and way of telling your peers that you’re important.

The Sydney Morning Herald writes that being over-involved in social and work activities has morphed into “an overused humblebrag, a self-deprecating yet showy effort to tout one’s own importance, value and desirability at work or among friends.”

But this isn’t how people used to think. Before the mid-20th century, living a life of leisure was considered enviable and showed an elite status. NYMag referred to the Harvard Business Review to explain how a recent study shows how drastically this way of thinking has changed. In the experiment, people were given two stories of a man, one who was working constantly, and one who lounged around. Most of the participants chose the working man as the more important and high status person.

The Harvard Business Review suggests that this change in what we consider important to be related to the job market where people who are hardworking and willing to sacrifice time and relaxation are more desirable. If you exhibit these traits, you are seen as “sought after.”