Y’all. I’ve been struggling recently with one part of adulting that I’d like to run by you. Making last-minute plans.
Yes, I do a lot of staying on touch. I make phone calls, I send snail mail (although I’m about a month behind on birthday cards again), I host parties, and I make plans in advance. But in my life recently there hadn’t been much time to make plans at a moment’s notice.
That is, until recently. I find that I have random free pockets of time in my week that I don’t normally have. So what do you do if you want to make last minute plans?
Well, let’s take this back a little bit actually.
When we were toddlers, our parents made play dates for us. (I think? My memory is a bit fuzzy.) When we were kids, there were always people in the neighborhood nearby. By the time we made it to high school it was easy to talk at the lunch table about what everyone was doing after school. And in college you could just walk down the hall and knock on somebody’s door to see if they wanted to do something.
There was always sort of a group consensus about it. You’d get all the information about everybody’s schedule ahead of time and no matter how many people say yes, the group always knows each other.
Then you graduate from college, some of your friends move away, and you start making new friends who may or may not know each other. Which is cool. I love new people, I love new friends!
So then it’s a random day of the week, you realize you don’t have any plans, but you’d love to have somebody to decompress with after work. So what do you do?
First you start to narrow down people by who lives nearby and you realize it’s not all that many people anymore. Even people who only live on the other side of town are about a 25-minute ride/public transit/walk away during rush hour.
Then you finally text somebody to see if they’re free. Usually they’re not. Because most people aren’t free at a moment’s notice, which is totally okay. I’m usually not either.
You eventually text somebody who doesn’t respond super quickly. Which is also completely okay. You can’t expect somebody to be near their phone every second of the day. But how long do you wait before you check in again? And that kind of makes you kind of a nag, doesn’t it? Do you put an expiration time on your offer? That seems kind of rude.
If you text somebody else in addition to the first person, what happens when both people end up saying yes? Do you tell one no because they took too long to respond? Do you invite them both and then introduce them? (That’s probably actually the answer, but some nights you’re not ready to commit to that extra level of energy needed to play hostess.)
What probably happens at the end of all of this is that you end up going home without plans because this day in age, even with crazy good technology, it seems to be difficult to make last minute plans.
I find myself missing the days of having my neighbors right next door and somebody always nearby to lean on. Somewhere along the line we all got too busy. I know this because, as I said, there’s a lot of time that I have to say no as well.
“Sorry, I’m out of state this week…
“Sorry, I already have plans…
“Sorry, I’m not able to get there this evening…
It kind of stinks.
I’ve found myself having conversations with friends in the past few years where we all wish we lived in environments where you could just leave your back door open and your neighbors would come and go as they please, but living in the middle of Philadelphia, that’s not exactly the safest way to go.
So what will I do? Well, I’ll continue to make plans in advance. I may start texting more than one person at a time. And I’m even thinking about starting a group email chain for people in the area trying to make last minute plans. That said, I may just need to get better at having no plans for the evening and entertaining myself, which is definitely something this extrovert is not super comfortable with.
How do you handle making last minute plans? Are you one of those people who find yourself blessed with the illusive friends groups that “Friends” suggests exists? Or have you found another method that works?