The Eternal Tension Between Planners and Hangers-On (aka Non-Planners)

I guess you can tell from the title of this post which one I am … As I head out to a weekend outing with the outlaws, I’m reminded that there really are two types of people in the world. And in all fairness, the non-planners are probably as annoyed with my kind, if not more so.

Fact: there are people who plan their outings, researching, surfing, calling and asking their friends for recommendations. There are others who just get there and are sure they will figure it out. Of course it *does* always work out, but that’s only because there’s a planner in their group, some poor sucker willing to take the reins last minute, usually making it work, but sometimes snatching defeat from the jaws of, well, certain defeat.

Don’t get me wrong, one can be a over-planner. Or is it uber-planner? That’s no fun, either. I don’t want to be told “we are going to have fun,” and I don’t want every single minute scripted when I’m on vacation. I just like to have a general idea what we’ll be doing for a morning or afternoon or for food.

Of course, it doesn’t always work out. (That’s why one needs a plan!) Sometimes, a cool shopping area is much less fun than a review made it seem or it’s much further. But that’s also why it’s key to have a few backup options, if an activity falls through or we suddenly have more time – or energy – than originally anticipated.

Luckily, G and I are on the same page with vacation planning. The issue arises sometimes, when we travel with others. Here are some questions I’ve been asked by travel companions:

  • How do we get to the [fill in the blank]? Me: I don’t know, I’ve never been to [this city/country] before either.
  • What are we doing today? Me: Oooh, what *are* we doing today? [Long pause]
  • What’s for breakfast/lunch/dinner? Me: Is this the opening to a conversation about food options or do you expect me to find/make you something to eat?

Probably the best thing to do is for each person in the group to have some ideas about what s/he wants to do, see, eat, etc. That way, we can have a good group discussion about options, and everyone gets to do something they like. Otherwise, it becomes an episode of the Love Boat: Welcome to your vacation. I’m your cruise director and here’s what we have planned for today …

How un-fun for the planner to have to take care of everything and everyone, and thus be responsible when someone doesn’t have a good time. Who’s idea was it to try to go to the [fill in the blank]?

Then again, I’m sure the non-planners find the planners to be dictatorial: Stop telling me what to do. What about what I want to do? 

There has to be a happy medium. But how to move in that direction? It seems I’m developing a plan for my next group vacation – how typical to plan ahead.

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One Response to The Eternal Tension Between Planners and Hangers-On (aka Non-Planners)

  1. So you should add a survey. I’m curious what percentage of each gender identifies as the planner….

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