"Are you busy?"

I’d like to make a general proposal to the community and suggest that, while working in the space, we all approach each other with a simple phrase of, “Are you busy?”

I have had too many experiences where I’m working with power tools, or otherwise distracted by my project, and then been approached by someone looking to talk about something else. There is simply a lack of awareness by some members that don’t realize when another member is just there to work or at an otherwise critical juncture in their projects. Just because you are waiting for your job to finish/cure/cool down/whatever, does not mean that other members want to have social hour with you.

In other cases, I have seen members just plain lack emotional intelligence. I was recently in the space when another member ruined a portion of their project and turned a 1-hour job into a 5-hour job. Another member walked by and said, “You made a big mess” and walked away with no offers to help or bring any assistance of any kind. That’s just plain being a jackass, no other way to put that.

So, please, for the benefit of everyone that uses the space to work, please ask ahead of time if that person is looking to talk or not. “Are you busy?” is a simple way to find that out.


A big set of headphones helps out on this front


Yes, that’s the rather obvious (and passive-aggressive) approach to this. But my hope is that members will use more of their own reasoning and “social awareness” while at DMS. These aren’t difficult things to do, but they are certainly lacking at the moment.

Hahaha… you’re alright fella

DMS attracts many types, but a common one is those on the autism spectrum. I am one myself. My wife has, over 25 years, helped me to recognize that I don’t deal with social situations as well as I could… or should. I am a work in progress, but absolutely see myself on both sides of your request.

Common courtesy and polite interruptions - with an open door to reject that interruption - should be the norm. But for many of us, and especially those who are unaware of their autistic tendencies, such approaches are never top of mind.

We should absolutely encourage others to approach with an “Are you busy?” and we should all be willing to say - and accept - a “Yes, I am busy.” But we also have to understand that some of our social awkwardness at DMS is unlikely to ever be improved…