The Last-Minute Dilemma

As anyone who’s been reading this blog for a bit knows, I started out with the intention of finding a friend I could call for a last-minute brunch on a Saturday morning or glass of wine on a Friday night.

At the time, the last-minute-ness was very important. It was the vital piece of the puzzle. The comfort of calling to say “what are you up to?” was exactly what I was coveting.

Lately, I’ve become aware of one crucial fact that makes this original intention a total impossibility.

I am horrible at making last minute plans.

Last night, my phone rang as I was walking home from a yoga class. It was my friend and neighbor, inviting me to dinner with her husband and another mutual friend. They were on their way out, did I want to join?

“I’d love to,” I said. “But I’m walking back now, I’m a sweaty mess, and I was planning to make turkey meat loaf tonight.”

Two nights ago, this same friend invited me over for drinks on her roof, but I had to decline because I was en route to a meeting (for my new ‘swiping cards at a fitness class so I can get free workouts’ shifts. Four hours a week, unlimited free training sessions and I get to work the cash register! Score.)

Last Friday, she invited Matt and me over for some happy hour wine, but we were on our way to a dinner reservation.

You get the point.

I love getting a last-minute invitation. It means that someone, somewhere, was lying on the couch, craving girl time, and thought of me. There are some people, I know, who take offense at the last-minute invite. They think it means they were an afterthought. Doesn’t bother me.

What bothers me is having to say no so often. I wanted last-minute friends, and now that I have some, I’m never available at the last minute. If it were me, I’d probably stop inviting me. Which doesn’t bode well for the future of these invitations.

For my year of friending, I went on 52 first friend-dates. Which means I went out with 52 different people. I can honestly say that embarking upon that year was the best and most life-changing decision I’ve ever made. Pre-2010, I had many a quiet, friendless Friday night. Not anymore.

The flip side, though, is that my schedule is packed. I’m thrilled and grateful that it is, but it rarely allows for the last-minute plans I crave.

Of course, on the quiet weekends when I’m ready and eager for those spontaneous plans, everyone else is busy or away. It’s the nature of our overscheduled lives.

What do you think? Are last-minute plans a reality or a pipe dream? And do you get annoyed at the friend who is never available for a spontaneous outing? (For what it’s worth, I’m always thrilled to schedule plans, and I don’t bail! So I may not be last-minute, but I’m not a flake either.)

{On an unrelated note, I’m writing an article and could use your help! I’m looking for people who have fun, quirky weekend traditions. Preferably, but not necessarily, things they do with their families. Stuff like “We collect all our cell phones on Friday night and don’t get them back until Sunday morning” or “We take turns picking a brunch spot by throwing a dart at a neighborhood map” or “We play cards on Friday and whoever wins gets to be king for the weekend and pick all the TV.” A tradition that is maybe a bit weird, but has helped revamp–and maybe even streamline–your weekend. Do you have one? Or know someone who does? If so I’d be forever grateful if you’d email me, or comment below.}


Filed under The Search

13 responses to “The Last-Minute Dilemma

  1. my kids mom

    It seems like she is interested in developing the friendship, hence all the invitations. If you decline too many times, she’ll stop asking. What I do in this situation is, I immediately try schedule another “date” that I know will be available. Maybe she is just as busy and you both agree that now is not the right time, but at least she’ll know you’re not trying to stonewall her by always being “busy.”

  2. Ana

    Wow, so many declines for the same friend? She probably will stop asking soon (I know I would!) Try to schedule something with her, STAT! Better to really make a firm plan before you get off the phone (or chat or text or whatever) then a vague “but we should definitely do something soon”.
    Though I’m with you, I like the IDEA of spontaneity, but it often doesn’t work out in my quite scheduled life.

    As for the weekend rituals…sorry, got nothing. Though I love the ideas YOU had, and would love to incorporate something fun to look forward to like that!

  3. Anonymous

    Keep saying “no” and they stop asking. Sometimes being a little flexible and going outside your comfort zone is a good thing!

  4. Kate

    I do love the spontaneous plan, whether I am the Invitor or the Invitee. Its such a great feeling to get instant gratification with the company of a friend. There are those days when I’m walking home from work and all I really want is a drink, comfort food and someone to share it with. I may have all my errands and life duties taken care of…. or its more likely that I’m just in the mindset to ignore responsibilities and enjoy. Its such a great feeling to have someone else on that same page at the same time.

    On the other hand, I can’t resent a person for actually having a life and not being available at my whim. The spontaneous plan comes with no obligations. The difficulty with the set plan is that you have to go through with it, even though you may not be in the mood. The spontaneous plan can either be accepted or denied with no hurt feelings.

  5. TC

    I’m a planner. I like to know a few days ahead if we’re gonna meet. I can do a few fly-by happy hours or dinners, but then too much may throw off my whole calendar.

    What do you do when you tell a friend you can’t hang out (repeatedly) because you’re studying to get your professional license? She knows I cannot hang out but continues to ask. I then feel really guilty because we’re so close (we live a block away from ea. other), yet I’m stuck trying to memorize testing materials. After a while, I kinda get annoyed too. Why keep asking if you know the answer is going to be no? I feel like she’s setting me up to fail!! Not the exam of course, but failing at being friends. Am I over thinking this? I tend to do that at stressful times in my life.

    • Suzannah

      Personally, I would feel the friend wasn’t being supportive of my professional career goals. Just sending a text, “when you need to take a breather give me a call “,would issue the invite without any pressure.

  6. I LOVE last-minute plans when they’re initiated by someone else. My neighbor will text me while she’s making dinner and ask if I want to swing over for a glass of wine and a chat. If I’m home, I’m there. I try to do the same, but always feel awkward extending the invitation.

    I’m not a huge planner on a weekly basis – I save it for the larger things, like vacations, weddings, my job. My husband and I plan things last-minute all the time, and are always looking for people to call up at the last minute to go to the neighborhood bar for pizza, or swing out for a drink on a Friday night and see where that takes us. Long live the last-minute plans!

  7. I found your blog because I, too, am looking for a Grown-Up BFF. I googled “ for friends”. 😉

    Actually, what I found was your post last year on your lemondrop site ( Anyway, all that to say, I’m uber psyched to check out the sites you linked to – hope they both exist still. 😛

    As far as funky weekend plans, I could say that my husband drives me out to the woods every Saturday so I can hug a tree but that’d be exaggerating a bit. *grin* We do, however, drive through the woods almost every weekend in his Wrangler. And I have actually hugged a tree — more than once.

  8. Laurie Lee

    Interesting post because I’ve been feeling so scheduled lately I’ve been trying to do things more on the fly. Like calling a friend when I’m drying after my pedi to see if she can meet me at Starbucks. I have some friends that are better on the fly than others. Most of us have kids that either need to use the car or need to be taken places so that’s often the sticking point. I have some friends that are so scheduled their entire weekend is booked at least a week in advance.

  9. Nico

    You actually told someone you couldn’t go out to dinner because you had to make meatloaf? *giggle*

    • I did. Heehee… But in my defense, I was sweaty from hot yoga and they were on their way out, so the timing wouldn’t have worked anyway! But yes. There was also the meatloaf. Sigh.

  10. Pingback: The Hard Facts: To Have Friends Or Be Skinny | MWF Seeking BFF

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