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  • Writer's pictureKristin Helgerson Frigelj

Which friend are you?

I tend to be the planner, the initiator, the organizer.

This past weekend was a perfect example. It was my 41st birthday and my family joined a few of our best friends on a ski getaway at Wisp Ski Resort in Western Maryland.

My husband and I each planned big 40th birthday trips for each other in the previous years but this one landed back to typical trip-planning assignments; me doing most domestic ones and him handling international travel details.

After a day of skiing, some libations, too many hours in the hot tub, and birthday pie us adults were gathered around in the kitchen getting a little sappy.

We used to live closer together and four of us actually met working together post grad-school in Northern Virginia. Now we all have kids, life has gotten busier, and any extended time together is more precious.

During our mush-fest I may or may not have let out a whine about always being the one to initiate a get-together. I’m pretty sure it followed genuine appreciation for my planning tendencies.

It made me think about a few other discussions I’ve had with friends about attending events or planning events. I do honestly enjoy aspects of planning; not in the least bit for the aspect of control.

I’ve had friends thank me before and say that without my planning we’d never meet up or have the fun we do together.

At my lowest moments of confidence around this trait I feel if I were to stop calling, texting, initiating… that I’d never see anyone ever again.

(Talk about depressing.)

I know that is an extreme idea and through my own practice of acceptance and commitment therapy strategies I know that it’s best to let that thought sit instead of pushing it away.

What if I stopped or even lessened my own behavior of initiation? What would the friends used to my actions feel? Would it encourage them to reach out more or for them to feel that I harbored some ill will towards them of which they were unaware?

Most likely some of both.

Ultimately I ask myself, is this working for me? Is being an organizer part of the friend I’d like to be? Does planning and initiating make me happy?

And the answer is yes.

I enjoy researching places to go, making cheesy invites on Canva for the simplest of hangouts, and the joy that comes with the culmination of the event, no matter how big or small.

So in that kitchen full of sappiness late Saturday night I knew that I truly wasn’t mad about always being the organizer; just as I knew that my friends weren’t not organizing due to lack of desire.

I felt the joy and the love that I sought out and that is reinforcement enough to be the type of friend I am.

And if you tend to be the invitee, the guest, the patient one waiting for the next plan… give your organizer friend a shout this week, I guarantee you’ll make their day.

a small mountain lit up in the night lining the ski trails
Wisp Resort from our back deck for the weekend


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