Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: A bunch of my friends and I are trying to plan a weekend together. There is one person who historically is very intense about taking the planning lead. Several people have commented, and I agree, that it is that person’s way or the highway. It goes far beyond what we think is reasonable in trying to obtain a consensus quickly.
I feel squarely in the gray area about what to do and could use your help. While this person’s plans normally turn out to be good, or close enough to it, the process to get there is exhausting: The planning lead makes unilateral decisions. Suggestions from other people are routinely turned down – and even combated. People who take their time deciding are yelled at, myself included.
I’ve talked it over with some people in the group. We all recognize this person is very difficult to deal with in the planning stages. But, at the same time, we get to see each other and have fun together. Someone has to take the lead. This person, in theory, saves us time and energy in the planning process.
There has to be a better way. I don’t want to be stubborn and resist for the sake of resisting. I don’t want to be metaphorically held at gunpoint to commit to a weekend of fun. Your help would be appreciated.
Has anyone talked to the cruise director dictator one-on-one, when your group isn’t in the throes of a planning frenzy?: “I appreciate how much you accomplish with these travel plans. However, when in the throes, you yell at me in a way my own parents didn’t even yell when I was a crabby adolescent. There has to be some give here – and I’m willing to shoulder more of the responsibility myself to help that along.”
Or maybe I should say, offer to shoulder less of the responsibility. Supply dates and a budget and just let the Cruise Directrix take over, since it’s the obstacles that upset her, apparently, and not the planning itself.
Re: Cruise Director: Something to think about: Science tells us the anticipation of something fun/enjoyable is more pleasurable than the thing itself. If you are dreading the planning, you are not enjoying the anticipation, and you are losing out on the bulk of the enjoyment. Hubs and I once didn’t take a trip to Paris because the thought of planning was too awful (long, irrelevant story) – 100 percent not worth six months of dread. I don’t regret that decision at all.
Does this mean I can scratch everything I dread, or just the fun things I dread?
Re: Gray Area: A way to short-circuit a lot of the angst is to do the things that already worked. Liked the B&B last year? Book it again. Liked the burger joint you stopped at for lunch halfway there? Punch it into everybody’s GPS. Planner-worry in somebody like this is exponential – when you eliminate one or two of the decision points, the overall stress level comes down dramatically.
Simple genius, thanks.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.