What's Your Excuse?

'Sorry, I'm busy, I haven't the time'. Do you hear yourself uttering these words quite often? Have they become a habit, an excuse, an automatic default to get you out of making an effort? Saying you're too tired or busy can end up being used regularly, which can result in you rarely leaving your comfort zone, perhaps ultimately affecting your ability or desire to take a risk, stretch yourself and try something new.

The phrase, 'if you want something doing ask a busy person' has some validity. A busy person can't afford to put something on the back burner. They've no time for excuses. They've already got a mountain of stuff waiting to be moved into the 'actionable' pile. So they'll knuckle down and get on with things, there's no point waiting. Let's get it done!

- Sometimes excuses are genuine. We really cannot go, make it, do what's asked of us. There are genuine reasons for our response. But there are people who constantly make excuses, they've been to that many great-aunts or grandparents funerals that it's become a running joke!

- Humour can help at times. A shrug of the shoulders, a wink perhaps and a 'you know what I'm like', 'what can I say, I'm hopeless' or 'I couldn't help it', can sometimes charm someone into going along with our excuse, so long as they're not too inconvenienced and it doesn't happen too often.

- We may use an excuse to spare someone's feelings. An unwelcome invitation or request may have us flailing about hoping for a miracle reason to decline. We don't want our actions to impact on someone else by causing embarrassment or upset. Nor do we want to feel guilty or responsible for their disappointment.

- Using an excuse that's worked before can be tempting, it's certainly an option. But if you're going to do that best ensure that it doesn't sound too rehearsed and over-worked.

- Excuses can certainly help get us out of tricky situations, ones where we may feel compromised. But coming up with convoluted explanations can be disrespectful and do no one any favours. Are they really plausible? Sometimes it's far better to simply say, 'I'm afraid I can't', 'it's not a good time for me right now'.

- Short and uncomplicated means that there's nothing too tricky to remember or be tripped up by in the future. Elaborate explanations can be suspicious, especially if other people are involved. I'm sure we've all seen the detective shows where the various suspects repeat identical statements, use the same phrases, a dead giveaway of pre-rehearsed alibis.

A good excuse has to sound sincere, with genuine regret. There has to be some awareness of what's being said and the impact it will have on the other person's life, on the plans they've made, the effort they've invested.

The best excuses are real and are made because something unanticipated, outside of our control has forced us to cancel the arrangements we originally agreed upon, health issues for example. Not because a better offer came along or we can't be bothered!


Susan Leigh, Altrincham, Cheshire, South Manchester counsellor, hypnotherapist, relationship counsellor, writer & media contributor offers help with relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and confidence. She works with individual clients, couples and provides corporate workshops and support.

She's author of 3 books, 'Dealing with Stress, Managing its Impact', '101 Days of Inspiration #tipoftheday' and 'Dealing with Death, Coping with the Pain', all on Amazon & with easy to read sections, tips and ideas to help you feel more positive about your life.

To order a copy or for more information, help and free articles visit http://www.lifestyletherapy.net