Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about plans. Specifically about making them and keeping them.
Since starting this quest last year, I’ve met a lot of potential BFFs. We meet at a party, or over email, or at improv class or book club or dance class, and eventually we make plans for brunch or dinner or a drink. And since I’ve really strengthened my meeting-new-people muscles, I am continually scheduling new girl-dates. I’m thrilled about this, because you never know who might end up being your Christina Yang, but it means that my calendar can get full. Sometimes I’ll try to make plans with someone and we won’t be able to find a day that works for both of us for at least two weeks. And I start to feel guilty, because I say I’m looking for a last-minute friend while I’m becoming someone who is not readily available at the last minute.
Last weekend I met a PBFF for drinks and at some point she said to me “You are the only person I know who is such a planner.” I got the impression this wasn’t a compliment. Apparently being someone who sticks to a schedule instead of going with the flow isn’t a great quality.
A few days later, this same friend totally bailed on an invite she had extended to Matt and me. One minute we were going to her house for a dinner party, the next minute that invite was off the table. Something came up. The dinner party was no more.
I discussed this with another friend over lunch the next day. “She told me I was a planner, and it definitely felt like an insult, or at least a back-handed compliment. But now I feel like the problem isn’t that I’m a planner, it’s that she’s a flake.”
As I look back at my calendar, I see that approximately 25 percent of the plans I make get cancelled. Never by me, and always because “a friend is in town at the last minute” or “work has been crazy and I’ve been getting home late” or “something came up.”
What I’ve come to realize is that it seems everyone is difficult to make plans with. Either you’re like me, occasionally hard to pin down but once you have a plan it’s a commitment you will honor, or you’re like so many women I’ve met, who act all breezy about scheduling (“I can do whenever!”) but then have no problem canceling if something better, be it a party or the couch, comes along.
I don’t know which is better. Well actually, I think my way is better, but perhaps we all think our approach is best. I’d rather be harder to schedule with but reliable. I want someone to know that if we make a plan, I intend to stick to it. To me that shows respect. But maybe others—maybe you!—think it’s more desirable to be the easygoing friend who can meet up whenever, and so they play that role even if it’s not always the truth. And if that means double-booking and figuring out what to cancel later, so be it.
Like I said, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. Ever since I was told I was a planner as if it was a truly horrible trait, I can’t quite wrap my head around what the more attractive alternative to planning would be.
Where do you fall on the spectrum? Do you make plans with no problem but bail if necessary? Or do you schedule every little thing, so that getting a date with you is like trying to get in to see the doctor? (I don’t think I’m that bad…) While clearly neither of these traits is particularly desirable—the true great friend is a mixture of both, she’s easygoing but never leaves you hanging—does one put you off more than the other? Please weigh in! I’m eager to hear what you guys think about this…