I like plans.
I like specific dates, times, places, budget estimates and knowing if there will be food.
Why do I like plans? Why can’t I be a relaxed butterfly who goes with the flow?
Time is valuable, internet users. If I am making an effort to spend time with you, that means that I like you. It means I enjoy your presence. It means I would like us to be in the same room or outdoor space. So I made a plan with you.
Assuming you texted me back, we have a plan. Now I can plan other plans around our plan. I can plan a weather and activity-appropriate outfit, and make sure said outfit is clean. I can withdraw cash, buy food, vacuum for once in my life, get gas, or perform other tasks deemed necessary so I can enjoy our plans. I can even charge my phone!
Most importantly, I can gleefully anticipate our plans. I can get excited for days in advance that we are going to hang out!
I do not like plan changes. I do not like when people are more than 15 minutes late without letting me know. I do not like when people say they will come and then they do not.
I understand that, tragically, the world doesn’t work this way. Tires go flat, ice falls from the sky, cows give birth and professors unleash homework mayhem on students, I understand. I’m really trying to realize that not all plans are set in stone. I am trying to be patient, gentle, and kind, when a plan goes awry. It’s hard. It goes against every fiber of my nature. Both of my parents are intensely scheduled and infallibly prompt. Was I cursed with this genetic flaw?
In most of my relationships, I make the plans. This is used to bother me. I previously believed that no one wanted to spend time with me because they never initiated the plans. I was wrong. People did want to spend time with me. They just expected me to make the plan, because I am a planner by blood, design, and to a fault, if you haven’t noticed.
For this reason, it is WONDERFUL when someone wants to make plans with me. When someone comes to me with a plan they created, I am so flattered that I want to kiss them, which I have learned is only accepted in certain cultures. I can honestly name from memory the last 4 times someone besides me made the plan. Guys, when someone makes a plan and wants to hang out with YOU, it is just so flattering and makes my huge extroverted heart explode.
Based on 20 years and 2 months of planning, here are my tips for planners and those less inclined to plan.
- If someone doesn’t make plans with you, it doesn’t mean that they don’t care. They are probably just waiting for you to make a plan.
- If someone is late, breaks or somehow alters the plan, it is not a personal reflection on you. And in most cases, it was unintentional, and the other person did not think you’d be so affected by it.
- Nonplanners appreciate spontaneity. Although it may feel unnatural, be spontaneous with your planless companions! It just might be super fun and a great memory!
- If making a plan is stressing you, ask someone else to help.
- Great people are often late. Everyone is late sometimes. Forgive, forget, and don’t take it personally.
- If someone is late, don’t leap to dramatic conclusions that they have been struck by large vehicles.
- If you are making plans with a person who often breaks plans or is late, have a plan B that you can look forward to as well.
- Text your planner if you are going to be more than 15 minutes late.
- Try to respond to planning texts promptly to spare your planner anxiety. A reply of “Let me check my schedule” is better than hours of silence.
- Saying no politely is BETTER than not responding or saying yes and not showing up.
- Planners may be uptight, but this is how we have fun. Our plan is fun to us. Random activities that we are not prepared for are stressful.
- Help plan! The planner will probably be thrilled.
- Come to the planner with a plan! Saying “Come to this thing at this time at this place on this day with me” is beautiful.
- Thank a planner for making a plan and inviting you. It will make their life.
I understand that spontaneity is terrific and fun to some people. To me, most of the time it is not. I am truly trying to loosen up and accept plan changes and even a lack of plans. I am getting better. I respect and am usually jealous of the free-flowing attitudes of people who don’t need plans. With that being said, respecting plans shows you respect other people’s time. It shows that you are just as excited as me to hang out, and that you have thought about it ahead of time.
Not planners, I am trying to meet you halfway here. It is a feeble compromise, I know. We need you in the world to produce beautiful things and have open minds and low blood pressure.
Bottom line: don’t take it personally and just let it go when a plan goes wrong. Maybe it is better that way. Don’t hold grudges. Respect the time of others. Understand that they probably thought-through and got excited about the plan.
No one is wrong and no one is right in this situation, you just have to understand a different mindset from your own and maybe even learn to appreciate it.