The Relationship Killer

Jan 21, 2011, Written by Sue Miley

How to kill relationships at work, at home, with friends in one easy step?  Busyness!

Some of us are physically busy…running around town, from meeting to carpool to the bank and back.

Others have so many irons in the fire that they have people pulling on them for their time and attention.  No decision can be made without them.  They touch everything.

People like me have low attention spans and desire overactive stimulation to their brain.  These people usually have 20 windows opened at the same time on their computer, are talking on the phone, and watching tv at the same time.

Why Does Busyness Affect Relationships?

The problem with all of these scenarios is:

  • it’s difficult to be in the moment with people.  We are always distracted with the next stop, the next task, or answering the next text.  Whomever we are with actually comes second to whatever is next!
  • many times we are late or miss a deadline because we have too much to juggle.  In my book, when we miss commitments on a regular basis it becomes an integrity problem.
  • quality of our work and our relationships begin to suffer because we take shortcuts or lose consistency in our time and actions.

How Does Jesus Prioritize Busyness and Relationships?

My takeaway from the bible when things get crazy, hectic and busy is to focus on Jesus’ words in Mark 12:28-31:

28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Love Is The Essence of Relationship

Love is the essence of relationship.  Jesus is pretty clear we need to focus on our relationships with God and with other people.

Jesus had an uncanny ability to stop in the middle of the chaos and focus on people.  He could be in the moment in a moment!

Remember the woman who touched His robe as He was walking through a large crowd of people.  He could have ignored it and kept walking.  But he didn’t.  He stopped to find her and heal her.

And then when the guys brought their paralyzed friend down through the roof into the the crowded house where Jesus was teaching.  He stopped his talk and his train of thought and focused on the paralyzed man and the faith of his friends.

Jesus’ priorities were doing God’s will and loving people.

Can I Look Deep Into Your Eyes and Post a Tweet?

Yet we get so caught up in our multitasking that we barely look up from our Twitter/Facebook dashboard to address the person who walked into the room.

How often do you see someone talking on the phone while they are eating with a friend, family member, or business associate.

I have certainly been guilty of this and more. I was somewhat reformed though, when someone I love pointed out that I was putting them on hold to answer another call.  Why not make whomever is calling wait for the person you are with? It sort of makes sense doesn’t it.  Am I more important to you when I am spending time with you or if I am calling you when you are in the middle of another call?

But, social media and cell phones are just the tools of the day.  What it comes down to is managing our tendency towards busyness to ensure that we give the appropriate time and attention to our God and the people in our lives.

How is your balance?  How do you manage to keep busyness from effecting your relationships?

Reader Interactions


  1. RevTrev says


    Thanks for the reminder. You know I’ve found the secret to overcoming busy-ness, but wouldn’t you know, I haven’t had time to write my booklet “I Don’t Have Time to Be Busy” (Actually, it’s written, just not published.) I think it’s because I love using that joke that I haven’t got around to it.

    Let me know if you’d like to read the manuscript. Maybe that will motivate me to do something more with it. 🙂

  2. Dr. Brad Semp says

    A great post and awesome tie in to the heart and demeanor of Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, this society has now positioned busyness as a “badge of honor” or minimally an accepted way of life. Technology, life pressures, and much more push everyday life to a state of busyness. Only those who consciously recognize this fact will be able to make the changes to his/her life to pull out of the busyness state.

    Dr. Brad Semp

    • S_Miley says

      Hi Brad, I agree with you. My prayer is that more people will notice it proactively and fight the busyness rather than seeing it through broken relationships. I hate when we have to have things crash and burn in order to look to Jesus for His Way. I’ve been there though. In the end Jesus’ way has always worked better. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Brad Harmon says

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who has that many windows up all the time. I must confess that I get annoyed when someone wants me to break my train of thought and have me look up from all those windows to be there in the moment with them. It’s a choice we have to make. You can’t multi-task relationships. They take time. Period. We can be busy, or we can build relationships. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Kathy Binns says

    I always think of the story of Mary and Martha when I get too caught up in my own busyness. It’s ironic how the person suffering from the busyness also (mis)directs frustration and anger at those who have overcome it. I almost was too busy to read your post. 🙂 I”m glad I slowed down for a minute!

    • S_Miley says

      Hey Kathy, I am always so disappointed in myself when I am too busy to be present with the people I am with….just like Martha. I agree I want to be sitting at Jesus’ feet and spending my time on relationships. The Mary and Martha story is the perfect reminder. Glad you had a moment to read and share!

  5. Marci@OvercomingBusy says

    I was just researching for a new blog post about how we need to throw out the multi-tasking and concentrate on more undivided attention when it comes to our relationships. But, why re-invent the wheel? That would be “busy-ness”. I’ll just point readers this way!

    • S_Miley says

      That’s awesome Marci! Thanks. I was having lunch with my husband and we were discussing how disappointing it is that “the speed of business” has become so fast that you can’t even go to lunch and have an hour of peace. He received multiple calls and then when he said he was at lunch with his wife they proceeded to ask him what they needed. i guess we need to tackle this issue one person at a time! Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

Related Posts

When Fear Paralyzes

What Do You Do When Fear Paralyzes You?

By Sue Miley | September 18, 2023

I learned in my counseling master’s program that people have different responses to fear and anxiety. We are all probably familiar with “fight or flight,” […]

Read More

When Your Business Threatens to Consume You

By Sue Miley | September 6, 2023

I pick up my phone and open the screen. The email symbol is like a coiled snake waiting to deliver the bite of poison potentially […]

Read More

Thy Will Be Done…  Common Applications for the Small Business Owner

By Jim Miley | September 5, 2023

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…. Mat 6:9-10 My Christian friends and clients pray […]

Read More