It's not easy to organise a get-together. It can't be too close, or people will already have plans, and it can't be too far away, or people will reply too tentatively and cancel at the last minute. Throughout high school, Harpreet, Simon, and tim have (mostly) been the organisers. I've never quite appreciated how hard their job is until I've had to organise outings. At uni, I became one of the organisers, for some reason. This is not an official title but a role that implicitly gets given to you, because for some reason everyone asks you
whether anything's been happening lately.
Similar but different things happened to my high school friends post-high school. The normal organisers got busy, or lazy, or something, but the usual events just weren't happening anymore. Whenever I'd try to put things together, they'd fail miserably. Sometimes only a few people would turn up, somethings things would get cancelled before they really started. I was forced into a period of "man-dating", where I'd go out with Trevardy or Moh, and we'd be the only ones there, probably lamenting the fall of what was a great mix of high school friends.
Harpreet organised something recently, and a fair few people came (not as many as we thought would come originally, but still). It was an excellent day. The interesting thing is that I'm trying to organise something for my uni friends in a couple of weeks, and I'm not sure how to go about achieving success. I figured I'd write something to encourage those of you who are going to actually attend
these events to help the organiser along:
- Reply Promptly
- Even if the answer is "I don't know", it helps the organiser know that they've got a successful PING. If this is not how you want to be contacted, let the organiser know straight away. The worst thing that can happen is you telling them the next day that you didn't know the event was on. If the organiser can't tell between a lazy bastard and someone who didn't get the message then they might neglect to call that someone.
- Invite Others / Fix invitations
- Groups often have sub-groups. There'll be "chains" or small molecules of best-friends who can instantly tell that someone's email is wrong, or that someone hasn't been invited that really should be. The organiser isn't strictly not-inviting people, he probably just doesn't know their emails.
- Be direct and honest
- "I don't want to go because I don't know anyone and I don't like mini-golf" is a much easier problem to deal with than mysteriously not going for some reason, then mysteriously going later when conditions are altered. These can be complicated rules (I'll go only if Bob or Jane go, but not if both Bob and Jane go), but it's better having complicated rules than a yes or no.
- Understand that the event itself is not important
- If you're playing mini-golf, you're not supposed to be an excellent mini-golf player or anything, you're just there to chat and have fun, and mini-golf is just a setting in which you're doing the chatting and having fun. Mini-golf is not the activity, but the setting, where the activity is really hanging out with everyone else. Don't say no to a movie if you've seen it already, just say "I'm in, but I've already seen 'Days of Thunder 3: Tokyo Drift'". Worst case, you'll watch a movie you've already seen, but you'll still have fun with everyone else.
- Don't cancel at the last minute
- This is really a "don't change your mind at the last minute" but it's usually a good thing if you can make it when you said initially that you couldn't (but if you do then ring first). However, last-minute cancellations are worse than they you might think. Not only does it mean that resources that were allocated to you by the organiser must go to waste, but it also means that someone else who was going because you were going now also can't / won't make it. This can have cascade effects which are devasating to any gathering. Further, sometimes people can't make it for legitimate reasons, and that can have flow on effects, and you're effectively doubling that effect, unless you don't have a good reason.
For a lot of these points some part of the responsibility still goes to the organiser, in that they should mention that you should reply even if you don't know that you can make it, but their job is hard enough as it is. Please make it a little easier. They're trying to have fun during the event as well!