How do you respond to the "I'm too busy for community" argument?

I’m bringing this question here as I think it is such a common one we need to get our head around when building community.

Answers so far have included:

  • Simply tell them it’s all good. Then focus on those who lean in.
  • Exactly this. Don’t fight it. Meet them where they’re at.
  • I’d ask what would be helpful to them, or what their related goals are. Then see how that can be supported.
  • Give them a specific task to increase their sense of ownership in the community. Sounds counter intuitive I know
  • “Oh, sorry to hear that. How can I help?”
  • I personally have come to learn that “I don’t have time” is just a polite way of saying it is not important enough for me right now. Because we make time for whatever is important to us. So I’d focus on “value” not “time” in the follow up questions.
  • People make time for what they feel is important. Maybe they’re not seeing the value yet. Could more engaged members help share the value they experience?

How would you respond to this challenge?


It is a fantastic answer! The person saves you a lot of time and nerves by giving such a reply. It means that you will have more time for more engaged people and add value to them!

For sure, if your community is of 10 people, and you receive 9 of 10 replies like that, you have to dig deeper by asking discovery questions, and that’s where you need “SPIN-selling” by Neil Rackham and “The Mom Test” by Rob Fitzpatrick.