The rise of the secret planners: are you ready for your friend to have a boyfriend?

Bridget Jones


Imagine you’re single, and actually it’s not so bad as you’ve got some single friends, and you all laugh and joke about the difficulties of being single and dating and oh aren’t those smug marrieds with their patronising head tilts the absolute worst?

But then one meets a man. That’s ok, there’ll be some fun dating stories coming soon. Right? Oh. She likes this one. Oh, they’re going away for the weekend. Erm, is she ignoring me? Why has she not asked me how I am in about three months? What happened three mo… OH. He happened.

This has happened to me (or did it just happen? Not sure I can say it happened ‘to me’ as it’s never intentional, one hopes) more times than I can count. And you know what’s scary about the people that do this? They’re not planners. They’re SECRET planners. They talk the talk of a non-planner, they agree with you on the silliness and unexpected way of life and ooooh, isn’t it fun to be a clueless twenty-something; but behind the scenes, like a little duck doing all the work under the murky water, they’re actually making plans. And then a plan comes together and bingo, suddenly they’re one of those people with a plan. Who knew?

I’ve been burned before when my fellow Bridget-Jonesers have suddenly discovered Man and started using the B word and then forgotten I exist, so when it happens again I panic. You know how in Friends (there’ll be a lot of Friends references on this blog, btw) Chandler FREAKS OUT when Gary wants to move in with Phoebe? “Right, because it’s fast. Because, it’s so fast. It’s fast!” and Monica has to point out that it’s not him that’s got to do it, it’s Phoebe? Yeah, well never mind if she’s ready. What if YOU’RE not ready?

Of course, it’s not just when it comes to men. There are the people who live in a flatshare just like you and then all of a sudden, bang, they’re putting deposits down on houses; there are the colleagues you think you’ll work with for years but then, bang, they’ve quit and are off to find themselves in Thailand or wherever people do that these days. Bang, bang, bang, off go the non-planners to join the people who know how to get shit done, and leaving you right where you always are.

This is a thing with never planning for the future. You kind of realise that others are, even if they don’t seem to be, and that eventually, they all go off in hunt of their grand goals. I’m not playing a little violin here (much) but it can be crap to feel like you’re constantly left behind by people who seem to just go out there and get what they want.

I’m happy for all of them – I’m just not so sure where I fit in when I’m not a part of their plan anymore. Because, and I know this goes against everything the irritating Instagram posts say about living for yourself and making it all about YOU and learning to be selfish, but: what am I doing with my life, if I’m not doing it with them?

And so that is why I’ll never be a secret planner – because I like my attempts at plotting to involve the people around me, and I factor everything or everyone in before making a decision (which is why sometimes it takes me months to make one). And in my experience, it’s the plans with other people that lead to the best bits in life. So no head tilts for me; I’m just doing things a different way.


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