12 Rules For Making Plans With Friends Like A Grown-Ass Adult


It is a truth universally acknowledged that doing things with
friends is fun, but making plans to do those things is the
actual worst.

Yes, modern technology *technically* makes it easier to
organize a dinner or a game night or whatever floats your
boat, but it also introduces a host of other setbacks and
annoyances and issues and uuuuggggh.

Even though I don’t ~love~ planning activities with one or a
few friends like a social secretary, I’ve come up with enough
of a method for it that it doesn’t bother me anymore.

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When I want to ensure that I actually get to see the
people I want see and do the things I want to do, I follow
these simple guidelines.*

*Put together, all of these prescriptions may seem like an
overdose and the antithesis of fun. I would argue that being
stuck in a permanent holding pattern of “Let’s hang out
soon!” “Yeah, would love that!” is the anthesis of fun, but
YMMV.

Anyway, you do not have to follow these rules to the letter,
nor do you have to follow them at all. Do what makes sense
for your lifestyle and relationships, so long as your end
goal is to not be shitty.

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1. Take the
reins and be the one to reach out and suggest a plan.

Listen, I get it: This is a very big and scary step if this
isn’t something you already do. I used to wait for other
people to reach out to me, and would inevitably feel sad and
alone when I had nothing to do on a Friday night, especially
when I’d just graduated from college and was living in New
York City with a long list of things I wanted to do.
After too many weeks of this, I decided to act on my mom’s
long-standing advice that the phone works both ways, and I
started just texting people when I wanted to try out a cool
new cocktail bar or something. It’s so basic that in
retrospect, it sounds ridiculous that it was a lightbulb
moment, but I discovered pretty quickly that my mom was
right. (Thanks, mom.)

I’ve dealt with anxiety for most of my life, and for a long
time, I let the triplet demons of “What if they say no?”;
“What if they say yes but don’t really want to hang out with
me?”; and “What if the thing we do sucks and it’ll be my
fault because I suggested it?” win. To be perfectly honest,
I’ve established more of a truce with the demons than an
actual victory, but I’ve learned that when you stare a demon
in the eye and act like it doesn’t exist, it whimpers and
puts its tail between its legs. Because guess what? Most
people are legitimately psyched to have a cool activity
presented to them — you’re literally doing them a favor! —and
the more times you experience a positive reaction, the easier
it gets to do it again.
If you do it enough, it’ll become
a habit, and before you know it, you’ll have things to do
whenever you want.

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2. Try to
get the ball rolling at least a week in advance, no matter
what kind of plans you’re making.

Try to get the ball rolling at least a week in advance, no matter what kind of plans you're making.

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Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Making Friday plans on a Thursday afternoon may work 4 times
out of 10, but so does going outside without an umbrella in
April. It’s risky AF. Planning a week or more in advance is
not!

Depending on what kind of ~hang~ you want to have (drinks vs.
dinner vs. beach day vs. LARPing in the park), how many
friends you want to see, and what kind of schedule you’re on,
you may want to adjust this lead time so that your plan
actually, you know, happens. Generally, though, think about
it this way: You’re only as available as your busiest
friend, so plan with enough lead time to make room for
alternate dates and times
.

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3. Better
yet, actually suggest a date when you reach out.

PSA: “Hey! Let’s catch up sometime, it’s been forever!” means
you likely will not see that person in this decade, but “Hey!
It’s been forever! Let’s get coffee and catch up next
Wednesday or Thursday if you’re free” pretty much swings the
door wide open for a good IRL hangout.

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Having said all this, you won’t always be in the driver’s seat
with plans, but being a good passenger is equally important.
And thank god for that! Pay close attention to this next part:

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4. If
someone’s putting in all the effort, offer to help them out.

If someone's putting in all the effort, offer to help them out.

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Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

So your pal has asked if you want to get dinner, and you
actually do. Cool! Now that they’ve taken the first step,
suggest some dates you’re free and maybe even some places to
go. Don’t make them do all the work.

Alternately, if you and a few friends have all decided to,
say, go see a movie, don’t be the disappearing friend who
sits back and relaxes as everyone else figures out the
tedious logistics. You’re not invisible, and believe me, they
know you’re not helping. And when you have to haul ass 45
minutes out of your way to a movie theater you never would’ve
chosen, no one will feel bad for you.

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5. If you
say no to a date or place, suggest an alternative.

Your friend says, “Let’s hang out Saturday!” WYD?

A. Say, “Ah, I’m busy that day!”
B. Say, “I can’t do Saturday, but I could do Sunday.”

If you said B, then congratulations — you’ll probably be
splitting a large pizza with another human on Sunday because
you can tell which of those implies, “LOL I don’t really care
if we do this,” and which one communicates, “I actually want
to spend some of my free time in your company.”

Turning down a place or time, legitimate reason or no,
without saying where/when else you can do something not only
is kinda rude, but it puts the onus on the other person to
once again figure out ideas and logistics. It also means
you’ll be stuck going back and forth for a lot longer
than you need to. Not cool, people. Not cool.

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6. Never,
ever say, “I’m so busy!”

Never, ever say, "I'm so busy!"

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Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Listen, WE ARE ALL BUSY. We are all our own versions of busy!
Literally no one cares that you are busy! Even if you know,
deep down, you have way too much going on to do
whatever it is this person is asking you to do, please don’t
say that to them. You’re basically telling them that they
have nothing important going on in their lives and that you,
on the other hand, are very busy and important.

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7. Don’t
agree to plans you don’t want to do and/or are likely to
cancel.

We all have That Flaky Friend, and we all resent That Flaky
Friend. Be better than that. You know yourself better than
anyone, and if you can just tell you’re going to
really regret agreeing to go to that Zumba class the day of
and try to bail, don’t say you’ll go to the Zumba class! If
you maturely turn down the plans or suggest an alternative,
that friend will (hopefully) know better than to invite you
to a dance class next time.

And if someone says no to you, don’t take it
personally. They’re just trying to live their truth.

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8. Know
that it’s OK to cancel…if you handle it maturely and
responsibly.

Canceling plans is a gateway drug to a lifetime of Netflix
marathons and personal-size pizzas, but like any drug, it
must be treated with care. There are people who enjoy
having plans as much as other people enjoy canceling
them
, and we all have to compromise sometimes.

If you need to cancel for any reason, give the other
person/people a heads-up the second you think there might be
a problem — and no, that problem can’t be that another plan
sounds better, or that you suddenly don’t feel like doing the
thing you agreed to do weeks or days ago. You don’t need to
over-apologize or get into the nitty-gritty details. And
if/when you do actually have to cut the cord and cancel,
again, suggest another real time you can do something.
Unless you really don’t ever want to see them again, in which
case, you do you.

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9. Don’t
shame people for how much money they have or don’t have.

Don't shame people for how much money they have or don’t have.

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Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Most sets of friends, siblings, co-workers, or whatever do
not have the same amount of doubloons in their treasure
chests, and even if they do, they certainly don’t always have
the same preferences for how to spend it. So if someone says
they can’t afford the thing you want to do, don’t make them
feel bad. This is not the time to judge them because you know
they spent money on that fancy new jacket (although it’s
never the time to do that, TBH). If they tell you that their
resources are low (something that can be very hard to do!) or
that your suggestion is out of their budget, it means they
trust you to respond with kindness. So have a little respect.

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10. The
flip side of this is that you shouldn’t overreact if someone
suggests an activity that you believe is the equivalent of
setting money on fire.

Look, I know most concerts suck, but some people like them —
and might even want to share that treasured activity with
you! If they invite you to go to one with them, and you say
any version of “Yikes! That’s a lot of money to hear someone
sing,” they have every right to delete your contact
information. Forever. Something like “That’s not really my
cup of tea, but how about X instead?” might go over a little
more smoothly. Basically…be cool, guys.

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11. Ask
before you start bringing more people into the mix.

Ask before you start bringing more people into the mix.

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Charlotte Gomez / BuzzFeed

Most adults won’t get all, “You can’t sit with us!” but
sometimes people just want to catch up with old coworkers
they know well, and not a bunch of random additional friends
who they don’t know that well and who also want to grab a
drink that night. And that’s reasonable! More often than not,
everyone will be cool extra guests, but not discussing in
advance could be the difference between an A+ night on the
town and a truly awkward evening.

And if you’re doing the planning and worried about the
possibility of extra people tagging along, just state the
purpose of the hang in advance — something like “Let’s get
together to complain about [insert mortal enemy here]” to end
the possibility of a significant other, or worse, said enemy,
joining.

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