I was talking to a girl, and her mother is in the hospital. I asked her how her mom is doing, her and her family. No reply for a week. Then I sent her another message saying

I guess you are absorbed in things (not kidnapped:) ), msg me if you want to hang out again.

My American friend told me that I shouldn't have used the word "absorbed", because it has a meaning of being selfish, self-centered, which makes her feel bad. Is that true? Did I just mess up the text message?

  • 1
    Just like preoccupied or distracted, absorbed doesn't necessarily convey that she is "selfish, self-centered"; it merely conveys that she has had other priorities. But depending on the severity of her mother's condition, it might not have been sensitive to her situation.
    – Lawrence
    Aug 31, 2018 at 6:57
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    That would imply something like, This situation has taken up your attention completely. So, I wouldn't give a negative connotation to your sentence.
    – Schwale
    Aug 31, 2018 at 13:41

1 Answer 1


This is Merriam-Webster's definition of absorbed:

: having one's attention wholly engaged or occupied

It has nothing to do with being selfish or self-centred.

Perhaps your friend was thinking of self-absorbed (also from Merriam-Webster):

: absorbed in one's own thoughts, activities, or interests

The two have different meanings and should not be confused with each other.


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