I'm The Organiser In My Friendship Group – But I Just Can't Stop Myself

There are weeks when I long for a teammate to pick up the baton.

Group Chat is a weekly series where HuffPost UK writers address the diary dilemmas we all face and how to reclaim our social lives in a busy world.

I’m spending my lunch break frantically scrolling through Airbnb, looking for suitable accommodation for an upcoming holiday with three of my best friends. I’ve dribbled noodle juice down my shirt but it’s a necessary casualty, because I just can’t shake the feeling that if I don’t get this sorted, no one else will – and I have been dreaming about sunshine and sangria for weeks.

Every social circle has an organiser, and if it’s you, you’ll know all about it. Chances are, you’re also rather tired.

Organisers are the people who text first, the ones coordinating the calendar, the bodies behind the bookings. If you’re eating in a nice restaurant, we read the Tripadvisor reviews. If you’re dancing at a gig, we were first online when the tickets went on sale. When you open your online banking, we’re always top of your recent payees, thanks to our self-bankrupting tendency to pay for everything upfront.

I’m actually that person in not one, but multiple friendship groups – not to mention in my relationship – and it’s a character trait that’s defined my tween, teen and early adult social life. But, as I open yet another Doodle poll, I wonder how organising one trip to Claire’s Accessories in 2004 got me here.

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Sometimes, I blame my mum for bestowing on me an undeniable propensity to Get Shit Done.

Her divorce came through the same year Destiny’s Child released Independent Women, so I became very well acquainted with the lyric: “’Cause I depend on me, if I want it”. Nine-year-old me wasn’t going to wait around for an invite to a fun game on the playground and 27-year-old me isn’t much more patient.

Being the organiser does have its perks; it means I get to go where I want, when I want and usually, people are more than happy to receive an itinerary. But there are weeks, or even months, when I long for a teammate to pick up the baton. During times when I’m stressed with work, or dealing with a family crisis, being an unofficial, unpaid, part-time party planner is completely exhausting.

Although looking at a calendar packed with fun outings with people I love fills my heart with joy, I really, really don’t enjoy the act of organising itself (ironically I am naturally quite a disorganised person, who’s pretty messy and loses her keys most days). But my restlessness always conquers my reluctance.

If you’re not a social organiser, I know what you’re thinking: “Just stop!”. But I’ve tried to step back and it doesn’t work. With some friends, I know that if I don’t text them first to make plans, I just won’t see them for months.

It’s something that used to really upset me and make me wonder if I value our friendship more than they do. But more recently, I’ve grown to see their silence as a simple sign that we manage stress differently.

When they’re having a tough week, they go quiet and decide to have an early night with a book. When I’m ready to throw the towel in, I need laughter and dancing and wine and more laughter!

HuffPost colleagues have previously written about saying “maybe” to invites or canceling plans last-minute – two habits that as chief organiser, I find absolutely infuriating. They defend acting this way to protect their mental health, to manage stress and prevent life from feeling overwhelming.

“In 2019, it’s almost become fashionable to bail on your mates.”

For me though, life is about balance and isn’t it about time we remembered that going Out Out is also a legitimate form of self-care? A bubble bath is great and all, but you never hear an 80-year-old reflecting on their youth, saying: “I wish I’d spent less time dancing with the girls and more time having a good soak!”

In 2019, it’s almost become fashionable to bail on your mates. And I wonder if all this navel-gazing is helping anyone – it certainly doesn’t make me feel any better. The reason I organise social events is simple: because I need them and they genuinely make me feel better. I’ll moan about it until I’m blue in the face, but until someone else takes the reins, I won’t stop.