I'm working hard to eliminate from my regular vocabulary the following phrase: “Sorry I haven't called, I've just been so busy…”
I heard someone saying this on their cell phone at Starbucks during the last week. It sounded completely disingenuous, and I was appalled to realize I've been guilty of saying it myself. A lot.
What's the problem with this phrase? The real message you're conveying, it seems to me, is: “I just haven't made calling you a priority, and facing you with it is uncomfortable. So I'm giving you an excuse.”
This doesn't mean that I'm going to call everyone back instantly who leaves me a voicemail. That's just unrealistic, not to mention poor stewardship of one's time. It does mean, however, I'm going to do my best to stop making excuses.