When It Comes to Friendships, It’s OK to Be the Planner
Appreciating this makes it possible to enjoy friendships more
In any given relationship or group, there is always one person who makes things happen. Everyone says “hey, we should get together!” but this person finds a date and makes the restaurant reservation. After a family meet-up in a park, everyone says “we should do this again!” but this person suggests meeting next Saturday at the children’s museum at 10 a.m. since the forecast calls for rain.
If you are reading this article on planning, my guess is that you are this person. You organize get-togethers with your friends all the time. That’s why you have wonderful things going on in your life! The only fly in the ointment is that sometimes you might wonder why other people don’t do as much or even any of the planning. You might wonder if they’re as invested in the friendship as you are. When you like people, you extend invitations for specific times. If other people don’t do that, is it because they don’t like you as much? You might hold back, worried that you are misjudging things.
But before you stop trying, understand this: It’s OK to be the planner. Your gift is logistics and coordination. Other people have different gifts. Appreciating that makes it possible to enjoy friendships more.
Those of us who do a lot of planning for ourselves, for our jobs, and for our families, know that it is work. Even fun things, like a date night, or a group spa visit, take effort. There are ways to decrease the effort — one reason I suggest scheduling recurring get-togethers, like a first Sunday of the month supper club — but coordinating busy human beings is never a seamless process.
People who do this planning all the time tend to assume that others can do it too. They might not enjoy it, but we don’t always enjoy it either. We don’t stop to consider that the intricate planning required to organize group activities is a skill. Saying anyone can do it is kind of like saying anyone can sing the Hallelujah Chorus, or write a sonnet in iambic pentameter, or make Beef Wellington. It is true, but without practice it is going to be a lot harder. And the outcome might not be that attractive.