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Fola Daniel Adelesi: Pretending to Be Busy

Fola Daniel Adelesi



As a consultant I always have the privilege of helping people out with one thing or the other – especially with getting a meaningful life and getting their businesses up and running. Through this phase, one of the most amazing things I have ever seen is jobless people or people who don’t have much to do, pretending to be busy.

These are people who really need help with their situations and you have played your own part by rendering services at almost next to nothing in terms of cost; yet, they create this impression of being so busy and they think that explains why they didn’t get back to you immediately for important issues.

I am amazed at people who want you to call them several times before they answer their calls. I am shocked when people just want to make it look like it is hard to see them or difficult to get them. These are young people who are still aspiring to succeed! Interestingly when I call elderly people who are really busy by virtue of positions they hold and responsibilities they have, they answer their calls almost immediately. Sometimes some of these elderly people miss their calls and they return the call. These are people who have achieved and should be difficult to access but they can sometimes be the easiest to see.

Most times, what I have discovered is that those pretending to be busy are people who are indecisive, are a little confused and are not getting their priorities right. In some other cases, it is a clear issue of indiscipline and procrastination.

When this happens, you have a situation where people are pretending to be busy… even for those who will help them. Someone who has not achieved anything serious in life will not answer calls when you call him or her. He will tell you he was busy. Some people hand their phones over to other people to take their calls just to really look so busy and these things even continue until they lose vital relationships.

If you are in this situation you need to get down from your high horse. I am not saying you have to open your time to everyone; but why pretend to be busy when you actually need help? There may be people who are time wasters and you don’t want to have anything to do with them. There are those who frustrate you and it’s okay if you avoid such people. Outside of those situations, why will you act as though you are busy when you are simply trying to create an impression?

There are people who have pretended to be so busy until they lost vital information that needed to be passed across to them. Some people are still doing it today and that is something that will cost them far much more than they bargained for.

What you need to do instead of acting too busy is to come up with a system that helps you sift the serious and unserious people. You have to be accessible to people who can help and add value to you, especially when you are just rising in life. Sometimes you can’t tell who will be of help until you have heard them.

There those who are also genueinly busy but you need to work out a way to relate with people so that they don’t get frustrated just trying to reach you. If people can’t reach you they will go away from you. You can’t afford lose people just because you are busy. If you don’t remember anything that you have read so far, please remember that anything that keeps you too busy to relate with people can destroy you.

Let me remind you that pretending to be busy does not add any value to you, especially if you are giving this impression to people who can add value to you. Just be yourself. Be open and go about your business normally.

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Vadymvdrobot

Fola Daniel Adelesi is a professional public speaker who also trains other speakers. He's an highly engaging training facilitator and he holds his large audience spell bound when speaking at gatherings. He's an author, business consultant and highly skilled master of ceremony with excellent poise and diction. He was on the Debaters TV reality show season 1, he presented 'You Can' on Radio Continental in 2011 and he did motivational segments on Galaxy TV from Dec 2008 to August 2009. Fola Daniel has authored 3 books including Writing Business Proposals. He currently talks about Social Media on - An ICT Show on Lagos Television. Fola Daniel trained as a communications professional, works as a business consultant and was also trained at Lagos Business School in collaboration with Google as a Digital Business Manager.


  1. xag

    August 23, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Why so angry? Some of us are genuinely busy and have no time for idle chit chat except on weekends. The elderly people you refer to have already made something of themselves and are settled so they can afford to call back for whatever reason. Some young person is hustling for his/her first 1 Million USD you’re there calling their phone to talk about football scores or vague business. Who has the time? If you have vital information to give, send an SMS. I hope this your “professional speaker” racket is paying though, its usually best to have achieved something significant in life before offering advice or speaking as a profession, no be by suit and tie and pretending to be successful.

    • Cyn

      August 24, 2015 at 9:01 am

      You are so right. As an entrepreneur who is still at the building stage of my business i am genuinely busy. All these older pple you are referring to were once like us. If i tell u all i did this last week u will not believe it. And when i get home at night thats when i look at my phone and return calls from callers like my mum and respond to ‘important’ mssges. So if what you are offering is important enough im sure you will send a mssg after calling.

      You are saying you help businesses with your calls. Just curious are your services free? If theyre not it means ure calling to sell something to me (your ideas i assume) when i have a deadline to deliver products and have to be at five places in one day. If i am to prioritize things your phone call will be the least on my list.

      I get its frustrating trying to reach someone and you cant. But dont ever assume the person is sitting down looking at your calls and just dont want to answer. People especially business owners are actually genuinely busy.

    • Omolola

      August 25, 2015 at 6:07 pm

      From my understanding, he was not referring to the genuinely busy types.He was referring to the “pretending busy” types. Am I the only person that gets his point?!

  2. Gbemi

    August 23, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Imagine someone in business telling you he/she doesn’t pick calls from numbers that don’t have in their phone book … Smh

    • Ms.b

      August 23, 2015 at 7:58 pm

      Sooo true!! I’ve seen someone who was job searching, has submitted CV’s and gone for interviews claiming she doesn’t answer unknown numbers. Empty dumb pride

  3. jasmine

    August 23, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    #truthFola…u just said the truth. But I love it when my fone keeps ringing and i’m looking at it. It’s not like i’m busy tho, just want the person to keep calling. Hehehehe

  4. fan

    August 23, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Are you a learner?ok busy busyyy

  5. ekene

    August 23, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    Wow! This piece is amazingly awesome… nice one, young people, desist from this act for it will only lead you to doom…U hear busy pretenders…

  6. Theurbanegirl

    August 23, 2015 at 3:53 pm


  7. FasholasLover

    August 23, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    Aduma du body (U’ll get this if you are from/ever lived in Warfi) If u pretend, u fool yourself.
    Hehehe pretending to be busy. Reminds me of how this 18 yr old Snr girl transferred to my school to complete her Olevels. The way she “read” never missing prep, never played pranks like the rest of us. In short, she motivated a lot of us to face our books when we saw how serious she was. Fast forward results released. Aunty had all F.’s. The question was, what was she reading all the time she had her books opened and “reading”?

    Or when we are all pretending to be busy trust my mum, she goes ” U are fooling urself, pretending to be busy doing nothing. The strong man ends up crying in the dead of the night”. Translation: You pretend to be jagaban during the day. Everyone begs u but you refuse. Your folly dawns on u when everyone must have retreated leaving u to ur idiocy. You cry when no one is available to console u. A word is enough for the wise. Opportunity knocks but once.

  8. Lanre Thomas

    August 23, 2015 at 4:22 pm

    I am a victim of this.
    well, never too late to turn a new leaf cuz I don’t know who might help

    God open my eye of understand…

  9. Lanre Thomas

    August 23, 2015 at 4:25 pm


  10. Nemo Alade

    August 23, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Maybe the person acts busy all the time to cover the fact that they have a memory problem and forget to return calls often. Maybe they had phone anxiety and are scared to answer their phones but instead of saying that and looking weird they say they are busy. Maybe they are depressed and need help but they cant reach out to others and so they act busy instead of answering their calls which may reveal their inner turmoil. Maybe they are really struggling internally with a lot of personal issues and cannot deal with the added stress from you. Yes they may need your help, but sometimes personalities just don’t mix. If you’re already getting angry about them ‘being busy’ without trying to find the underlying cause then I doubt you would enjoy working with/for/to help them anyways.
    This article focuses on the surface issue without digging in deep to see the root of a problem. The only thing I agree with in this article is this: “anything that keeps you too busy to relate with people can destroy you.” Maybe instead of berating people who “act busy to seem more important” this article should focus on giving us proper tools to identify and deal with the internal conflicts that plague all of us and may cause other more serious issues to show up in other areas of our lives.
    And yeah doh. I’m totally biased because I sometimes use that excuse to get out of situations I feel might cause me social anxiety. I am aware of my problem, I often take steps to avoid doing it but it sometimes cannot be helped. I’d just rather not have this article giving other people who do this more reason to hate themselves.

  11. Krasavitsa

    August 23, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    What about those of us pretending to be busy because certain guys won’t stop calling and we don’t know how to say “I honestly don’t want to have anything to do with you” just so they won’t be hurt?
    PS: BN, u guys really need to beef up your proof reading skills – lots of typos in this article. If you like don’t post my comment. The last 2 comments I painstakingly typed are no where to be found *sideeye*

  12. Tope

    August 23, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    Amazing! I have a friend like this! Always busy but I don’t think he’s actually doing anything!. May god help them!!

  13. Ghen Ghen

    August 23, 2015 at 5:55 pm

    Come Adelesi!
    People can be irritating!
    Not a huge fan of humans, so i don’t answer the phone & i am mostly not in the mood for a conversation, especially those who call you @ work & wont get off the phone for 2 hours! My ear becomes hot! Those who call to bitch about boyfriends & girlfriends or mutual friends! No time!
    Those people i don’t return their calls! Those who call to ask you to go out for dinner & drinks. I have no time please. I am thinking about my life! No offence!

  14. Kehinde

    August 23, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    This article is the worst

  15. oluwabukola

    August 23, 2015 at 6:20 pm

    U are 100% rite…. But all d same, most people take U fore granted when U give them time. They feel U have noting beta to do with ur life, that U don’t av any other option than to be at their beckon call each time

  16. Rude gal

    August 23, 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Truth is u can’t be accessible by everyone. How can smone call u on a week day morning just to take rubbish or bringing up a past discussion at a time when you’re getting ready for work. I don’t have the luxury of time for meaningless conversations. We all know calls that matter when we see them. U can’t call me during work hours for long conversations that isn’t so relevant & expect me to take u seriously next time.
    People need to learn phone ethics. When u call a person twice without response, u simply send an sms. A sensible person would return the call when he/she is free. Not giving me 8missed calls just bcos u want to say hi. Some calls are just unnecessarily disturbing!

  17. Grace

    August 23, 2015 at 7:12 pm

    You know the funny thing, I’ve been soooo busy this last month and cranky too. Swamped at work but I try to send a txt and say I’m sorry dear, I am busy. I make it a point of duty to pick calls of return them when I miss them. Even if it’s a chiker I don’t like I pick your call even if it politely tell you I don’t like you’re calling me. I didn’t buy you airtime, why ignore your calls. Ignoring calls and not returning them is rude. A friend of mine takes pride in it ‘ I have 12 missed calls from guys today’ whenever she says stuff like that, I just want to tell her she’s being juvenile but hey, I was called diplomatic and extremely good at managing people at my last review session.

  18. Ms.b

    August 23, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    People are just so fake this days and depressed! It’s plain rude not to return calls or text back. Shikena!!

  19. Ngozi

    August 23, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    The article is focusing on those who pretend to be busy not those who are actually busy. The truth is this: You really can’t always determine who will call you out of the blues for an opportunity, that’s not in your hands. Have you ever been in a situation where the person that contributed to your success was not in your familiar zone. That Is currently happening to me. We must master relationships. You don’t need to stay on the phone for 2 hours, instead be nice and find a way to end the call in a few minutes if it’s not worth your time. Eg. Thanks for calling, I appreciate this call. Something just came up, will call back. Keep your word, call back and end it quickly like, I just called to say hello. A guy I consider unserious introduced my husband to a man of integrity. God has used that man for us.

    • B.E

      August 23, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Just simple courtesy which most folks don’t follow nowadays

  20. Krasavitsa

    August 23, 2015 at 10:56 pm

    Well, well, I made a comment over 5hrs ago and it didn’t get published because I noticed the typos in the article right? This just goes to show that either BN or the author isn’t open to criticism. How sad. Anyhoo, post this or don’t; it matters not, either way, you’ve read my little message.


      August 23, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Thanks for your feedback. Noted and we will continue to work hard to do better 🙂

    • Nawa!

      August 24, 2015 at 9:41 am

      oh pls! you guys are so sly!!!!!! always trying to be what you’re not. Annoying bunch of hypocrites. If you like use this comment to serve yourselves tea! Eyin le mo! at least you read.

  21. The real D

    August 24, 2015 at 7:30 am

    This article is directed at people who just want to pretend to be “bigger” than they are. That is people who should be picking up their calls from you but in a bid to act the “boss” they want you to call them over and over before picking up. This is not addressed to those who ignore people who are trying to waste your time. We are all hustling and trying to make it in a little way we can on planet earth. I am guilty of not responding to some peoples calls , one person in particular comes to mind, people that i have observed over time add no benefit to my life, in fact, they feel like they just exist to drag me down, i ignore but from time to time, guilt sets in and then i return their calls after weeks of going incognito and just tell them I was busy when the truth is I am never too busy to respond to people that i actually want to talk to. The truth is whether personal or business related you create time for people you want to talk to. If someone is not returning my call on a business or personal level, it is either they are not interested in doing business with me or they are telling me their time is more important than mine and at that point i guess you do what you have to do. But if you are the one wanting someone’s business then you better chase because what the other party (not returning your call) is after is what will benefit them too so at that point you gots to understand that your call is not a priority.Trust me if you were then they will not be acting all busy. Do you think if any sane person knows someone is calling for $10M or even $10k contract sef they will be acting busy??? They will be all over that isssh like ants on sugar.
    The mistake many make in business is allow emotions get involved, that is, because you have helped me with something at one point does not mean I have to pick up all your calls or return them ASAP. Yes i am a firm believer in repaying good for good and a firm believer in being loyal but your help does not now entitle you to my time just because it suits you, if I am chasing something more important, I am sorry you will just have to wait a bit. The mistake many make in business is allow emotions get involved, or because you have helped me with something at one point does not mean I have to pick up all your calls or return them ASAP. Yes i am a firm believer in repaying good for good and a firm believer in being loyal but your help does not now entitle you to my time just because it suits you, if I am chasing something more important, I am sorry you will just have to wait a bit.

  22. Zeeebby

    August 24, 2015 at 9:00 am

    Even if you are not a business owner, a missed call requires a call back… people also need to learn to follow up with others on already discussed issues… call or text the other party to keep them updated. A lot of “professionals” in Nigeria do not follow these simple rules that can save them a lot of wasted time, anger and conflict.

  23. sheedah

    August 24, 2015 at 11:12 am

    this post is so about me. i am actually not pretending to be busy i am actually busy, i work 8 to 5 and even on saturdays. i think mine is more of a case of procrastination and lack of appropriate planning. it is never too late,i definitely work on it and turn a new leaf. thank you fola

    for interior design ideas and management visit:

  24. Destined for greatness

    August 24, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this piece. However, I was slightly put off by the more than a couple grammatical errors. Missing to and is here and there. It gave the impression that BN was too busy to proofread the article. I know no one is above mistakes but you’re a media platform so we have high expectations 🙂

  25. Mims

    August 24, 2015 at 6:45 pm

    I usually don’t leave comments but I just have to say that people really have terrible phone habits, why exactly are you calling me to give me gist during the work week during working hours. If its important send a text. Young professionals are usually busy if you’re trying to get somewhere in life…

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