Introverts are planners, but in advance. Last-minute social events don’t give us a chance to mentally prepare for the situation at hand.
When I was a kid, I discovered that I hated last-minute plans pretty early on. You see, my mom had a habit of always letting me know that we had a family party… at the last minute. It was only after I had already pictured a quiet Saturday at home that she would tell me that I had two hours to get ready — we were going to go to cousin John’s party or Aunt Ophelia’s family reunion.
These impromptu changes to my plans always annoyed me. Usually, I ended up having a horrible time and wished I were back home. But I didn’t hate the family parties — what I hated was being told about them at the last moment. As an introvert, if I’m going to go out to a social event, I need at least a three-day notice to mentally prepare myself for it and enjoy it. Plus, introverts are usually planners… in advance! We’re generally not the spontaneous type.
Introverts Like Planning… but Not at the Last Minute
When I was a teenager, I had several arguments with my mother about this issue. Unfortunately, I always lost, because I could never put into words why I hated it so much when people changed my plans at the last minute. (Even if those plans were staying in my room and doing nothing all day.) Since my mom didn’t mind being told about plans at the last possible moment — especially if she didn’t have anything else to do — then she didn’t understand why I had a problem with it. She thought that she was saving me from a dull day stuck at home with an opportunity to go out. But, in reality, she was robbing me of the quiet and relaxing day at home that I had already pictured in my mind.
It wasn’t until I discovered that I was an introvert that I could put into words why I hated the lack of planning so much. So, without further ado, here are four reasons why introverts hate last-minute plans.
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4 Reasons Introverts Hate Last-Minute Plans
1. They love being prepared — this way, they can avoid unpredictability.
One reason introverts hate last-minute changes to their plans is because we love being prepared. We know that unexpected changes are inevitable in life, but knowing the plan in advance can help us minimize the chance of anything going wrong. Many introverts avoid unpredictability and like to make things run as smoothly as possible. That’s why we practice a dozen times in front of the mirror if we are going to give a speech or presentation. And why we sometimes rehearse what we are going to say before we make a phone call (many introverts hate talking on the phone).
If the last-minute plan involves some kind of social situation, then we might freak out. There are few things introverts hate more than being informed of a social event only a few hours (or minutes!) before it happens. Every introvert is different, but I prefer to be informed at least two or three days in advance. This way, I can conserve my energy and mentally prepare myself for the outing.
Be aware that you are probably not going to receive an enthusiastic response if you tell an introvert that you are going to come to their house to hang out — at the last minute — or that you are going to pick them up to go to a club or party without warning. Most likely, what you will hear is an introvert trying to come up with an excuse to avoid these situations.
Please try to give us introverts as much preparation time as possible, especially if it involves socializing.
2. They hate the unexpected — and there are a lot of unexpected variables that come with unplanned situations.
Introverts need structure in their lives. We thrive on rituals and are constantly planning out our day in our heads, from what we are going to eat to what we are going to do and how long it is going to take. Not knowing makes us feel on edge. Unfortunately, when a last-minute plan is thrown upon us, it not only disrupts our entire schedule, but it also comes with a lot of unknowns.
If we are forced to go somewhere or do something at the last moment, we need to know the time, location, and duration of the event, what exactly is going to happen, who else is going to attend, and whether there are any other plans involved, etc. Not knowing these facts can throw us off-balance and drain our energy faster than usual. This is because of how much of it is spent reacting, and adapting, to this new situation we were thrown into at the last second.
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
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3. They are very protective of their alone time.
We introverts are very protective of our alone time, that’s no secret. We need to spend some time by ourselves in order to function properly. So it’s very frustrating when someone disrupts that solo time at the last minute. If we already had a quiet day in mind, at home reading a book or watching a movie, it’s very hard for us to let that go and replace it with an unexpected outing.
And I’m not saying that you can never invite us out because we’re hermits who always want to be alone. If you inform us of the plan at least two or three days in advance, it’s most likely that we’ll say yes because this can allow us to mentally prepare for it. Plus, we can then organize our schedule to program some alone time before (and after) the outing to recharge our social battery.
But if you expect us to completely change our schedule at the last minute, then we’ll probably get defensive of our time and say no. It doesn’t matter if we don’t have anything “important” to do — we will most likely be unwilling to sacrifice our coveted alone time.
4. If they know about the plan(s) in advance, they can enjoy it so much more.
One of the worst things about last-minute plans is that we are not mentally prepared for them, so we usually end up having a less-than-stellar time as a result. Instead of enjoying it, the whole situation can turn out to be far more unpleasant and stressful than it otherwise would have been, had we known about it in advance.
It might sound weird for people who are not introverts, but we actually need time to prepare for social situations — especially when we are going to interact with people we are not familiar with. A social event can drain our social battery pretty quickly, so we need to get ready for it by recharging our energy beforehand and by mentally preparing for the “introvert hangover” that will most likely follow the event.
So when a social event comes out of nowhere — and we didn’t have time to properly prepare for it — it can throw us for a loop, disrupt our entire schedule and peace of mind, and eliminate all our possibilities of enjoying it. But when we know about the plan in advance, we can end up having a blast because we had enough time to mentally prepare ourselves to socialize and have a good time.
So, Please, Don’t Let Us Know at the Last Minute
If you have an introvert in your life, please avoid surprising them with plans at the last minute — they can disrupt our entire schedule and attitude. It doesn’t matter if the only “plan” we had that day was to stay home and do nothing. We are very protective of our alone time and spontaneity is not our strong suit, especially when it involves social situations.
We can enjoy ourselves so much more when the plans are scheduled in advance. This gives us the opportunity to prepare ourselves for it and have a much better time as a result.
You might like:
- Why Many Introverts Are Extremely Good Planners
- How to Get an Introvert Out of the House (Maybe)
- 7 ‘Rules’ for Sensitive Introverts to Protect Their Energy
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