Whether you intend to study abroad or are already enrolled at a foreign university, life as an It is a universally acknowledged fact that doing things with friends is thrilling and fun, but making plans to do those things is the worst.
Yes, modern technology technically makes it easier to plan a dinner or a game night or whatever you want, but it also introduces a slew of other drawbacks, annoyances, issues, and uuuuhhhh.
Fortunately, even though I don’t enjoy planning activities with one or a few friends in the manner of an assistant but I’ve developed a method for doing so that no longer bothers me.
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.
1. Take control, reach out to your friends with your plans.
2. If someone’s putting in all the effort, offer to help them out.
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 theatre you never would’ve chosen, no one will feel bad for you.
3. If you say no to a date or place, suggest an alternative.
Turning down a place or time, legitimate reason or not, without saying where/when else you can do something is not only impolite, but it places the onus on the other person to figure out ideas and logistics all over again. It also means that you’ll be stuck going back and forth for much longer than necessary. That’s not cool, people. That’s not cool!
4. Don’t ghost on the plan-day!!
We’ve all had That Ghost Friend!. You can do better than that! You know yourself better than anyone else, and if you know you’re going to regret agreeing to go to that Zumba classes the day off and try to bail, don’t say you’ll go! If you politely decline the invitation or suggest an alternative, your friend will (hopefully) know not to invite you to a dance class the next time. Or at least you will save yourself from getting a “You Ghosted Us” tag.
5. Try to make plans a week in advance with your fiends.
Making Friday plans on a Thursday afternoon may work four out of ten times, but so does going outside in April without an umbrella. It’s dangerous AF. Planning a week or more ahead of time is not!
You may want to adjust such kind of lagging and misunderstanding depending on the type of plans or hang-out you want to have (drinks vs. dinner vs. beach day vs. LARPing in the park), with how many friends you want to see, and what kind of schedule you’re on. Think about it this way in general: Because you’re only as available as your busiest friend, plan ahead of time to allow for alternate dates and times.