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Being the "tour guide"

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Waterbear, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    Everyone has a circle of friends. I have a really close one. We're all late 20s, early 30's, some single, some married, but we're all very tight knit and see each other all the time. We all met in college. They're like my second family.

    During and since college, I've always been the "point of contact". The group is making plans? No, not really, I'm making all the plans and then the rest just show up. Heaven forbid someone call someone else. I'm the one who gets all the texts and calls. "What time is the show?" "When are we getting together?" "Can you get me at the T station?" "I really want to go bowling, can you put that together?" "How long are we staying here before going there?"

    It can be maddening at times and so demanding/stressful. However, here is my trouble. I like doing things. I like going to ball games, and the movies, and hosting game nights, and drinking at pubs. I just hate rounding everyone up every single time.

    A few times, I just said "you guys handle it, I'm tired" and then no one handles it and the plans fall apart. Then I am suddenly w/o plans for the weekend, and then I'm sad. I just wish for once, someone would say "I got you a ticket, lets take my car."

    I'm not sure what to do? I think this is bad for me but I don't know how to fix it.

    Any help is appreciated!

    Edit: Aww nuts, wrong subforum, mods can you move this? Or tell me how too? Thanks
     
  2. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Heya, Waterbear, that sounds unfair and exactly the type of thing that a helpful TMS goodist would get caught up into. I bet that your friends would be open to helping with the planning if you reached out. Perhaps you could start with someone who you really trust and ask for their help. Let them know how it makes you feel and that you'd like to break the habit that the group has gotten into of having you plan everything.

    What makes it tough is that after a while, these things become habit, which makes them very hard to break. People get really used to you doing all of the work, so it may take some time to adjust. Some of them might not understand how you feel, but you deserve your down time, too, so, over time, they can learn.

    Maybe the hardest part is the internal part of changing your own habits so that you feel okay asserting yourself even if there is some momentary discomfort.

    At least, that is my take. Does it ring true for you? I actually come to this from the other direction. My girlfriend is never comfortable unless things are planned out very far in advance. She is already worrying about whether there will be two weddings at the same time next November. My attitude is much more, "let's wait until we get the invites... there isn't much we can do now." However, she feels more comfortable dealing with things early, so she often makes plans for both of us far in advance.

    Over time, this has become a habit for both of us. I expect that she will have things all planned out and she just goes ahead and does it. I've asked her a number of times if she wants me to do more and she knows that if she just says the word, I will take over the planning. But she never takes me up on that, perhaps because part of her knows that I wouldn't do it quite to her standards.

    What I have noticed, though, is that when we are planning to meet my friends instead of her friends or mutual friends, she often doesn't do any planning. It keeps me on my toes and reminds me of the following Shel Silverstein poem from my childhood (sound advice):
    Usually everything works out fine. I just nod and do as I'm told. :)

    This thread has made me wonder if I should ask her again. Maybe I need to take over the planning more. :eek:

    The woes of being a goodist... we get in trouble on both sides....

    Would love to hear others' takes on Waterbear's dilemna.
     
    Anne Walker likes this.
  3. Dahlia

    Dahlia Well known member

    Hi Waterbear. I guess you could also call this the "curse of competence". When you do something really well, you get to do it! Others enjoy the well planned outings - and so do you. And it's probably fair to say that others would not plan it out as well as you and the outings might not be as enjoyable to anyone, including you!
    So in addition to having to go through the uncomfortable process of changing the habits and assumption that you have to do it all, I guess you have to also be prepared to be disappointed if it doesn't turn out well (or at all!). So maybe start by picking one event that's not as important to you and follow Forest's suggestion for delegating. Eventually, maybe several folks can pick up the job you have been doing alone. The upside of this uncomfortable matter of having to redefine what you are in a relationship is the satisfaction that you are doing what you want to, what you chose, not what you feel you "have" to. Big difference.

    Anyway, good luck with that. It certainly is a problem I have had in my life in many different areas. I get to do lots of things just because I can do it well. (Not bragging, but rather complaining!).
     
  4. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi, Waterbearer.
    I know what you mean about friends expecting you to be the secretary of your college friends social club.
    I had the same thing when I was a citizen activist in suburb of Chicago.
    A vast majority of neighbors agreed on an issue that required phone calls, letters of protest, and circulating
    petitions to city and other officials, but only a rare few were willing to help me do all that.
    I asked one neighbor to help and she said she agreed we needed the calls, petitions, etc.,
    but was just too busy to help.

    I did most of the work alone and won the battle, then I moved. Now I don't even read the local paper
    to learn how badly the city is being run. I've retired from advocacy.

    But it's another thing to retire from being secretary to friends. Maybe just taper it off to one event
    a month or even less. Maybe some of your friends would rather have the club meet less often.
     
  5. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Waterbear,
    I have a different take on this. I've been where you are and spent way too much time frustrated and angry over the basic unfairness that can occur in the delegation of duties and responsibilities in relationships.

    But I've changed my perception and see us all as parts of a whole, each with different roles. I accept that relationships will never be entirely fair, nor will life overall. So my goal in my relationships is no longer to achieve fairness, but to find joy in sharing the present with others. Let the rest go. You are very fortunate to have a close circle of friends. Enjoy them. You are most likely the most capable person to do the planning and organizing. You all benefit from your talents. But it doesn't have to be done perfectly--accepting this should reduce some of the stress of it. It is, after all, just fun you are planning, and what is the worst that can happen if it all doesn't come together perfectly?

    Relax, enjoy your friends and your youth.....
     
    Steve Ozanich and Forest like this.
  6. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Ellen, I like your way of handling Waterbearer's problem. Just enjoy the friendships and don't try to weigh how much anyone does for the group. Few people really change anyway. Few people are "pitcher-iners."
     
  7. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Ellen, wow, well said, bravo. Couldn't have phrased that any better.

    SO
     
  8. Anne Walker

    Anne Walker Beloved Grand Eagle

    I like Ellen's take as well. On the other hand, being the master coordinator myself, I understand how much work it can be. Just because we are better at something doesn't mean we have to do all the work. The key is delegation. I suggest writing some dates and maybe suggested activities on some slips of paper and have your friends all draw one out of a hat at your next get together. Don't put in one for yourself, you get a free pass. If they are not available on the date they have chosen, they need to find someone to trade with them. And from there you need to let it go. No criticizing or wishing they could do things differently. I had a reputation many years back for throwing dinner parties all the time and never doing the cooking. People would kid me but everyone had a great time and I know they enjoyed it. Its not that your friends don't want to help or are lazy, they just don't know what to do. They don't take the initiative because they don't think like us. I am sure given a little direction they will be happy to pitch in and help coordinate.
     
    Ellen likes this.
  9. Waterbear

    Waterbear Peer Supporter

    So much good advice here!

    Yep, I think this is exactly it.

    Ellen and Anne, I really like your ideas since I think it's the most likely thing to actually work. Like Forest's girlfriend, I'm a planner. This really set in when I was in night school.

    ( I was in charge of 15 people at my 9-5 job, attending classes 3 nights a week, looking for a condo, and basically living out of my car since my parents moved away. I was technically living at my folk's house in northern NH, but I worked and went to school near Boston. If I didn't plan out weekends in advance, I didn't really have a place to sleep or anything to do except do my epic Boston to Northern NH commute- hard to get any homework done like that-, so I made plans to somehow be in the area so I could pass school. I did all the work b/c it mattered to me the most, but now, years later, it's getting really old).

    So I think I'll try what both Ellen and Anne said for now and see how it goes.

    Thanks everyone!
     
    Anne Walker likes this.
  10. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Anne, you sure learned a secret... how to throw dinner parties and not be the cook!

    Have you thought of running for President?
     
    Anne Walker likes this.

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