Seeking a Plan, Not an Apology

shake crop“Anne” is a dear friend who is fun to be with. She does overschedule herself, and years ago she stood me up often enough that I stopped scheduling with her more than a day out. She was more likley to know what she could commit to close in.

More recently, we began scheduling further out again. She would email an invitation, I would email my acceptance and then there would be silence. I’d confirm the day before the date and she would assure me she had it on the calendar. Not ideal – I would like to be able to count on her commitment to an invitation she offered without having to track her down, but it worked.

This week, however, when I emailed to confirm that she had received my acceptance, she replied the morning of our lunch date that she couldn’t meet because she had to be with her family.

I told her it would help me plan if, in the future, she would let me know within 24 hours if she received my acceptance and had added it to her calendar, and if she would let me know as soon as anything changed.


Anne was effusivley apologetic. She went into great detail about how important her family time was, and about how much she valued her time with me, and how sorry she was that she had been neglectful of my schedule and on and on.

I appreciated that, but I didn’t want an apology, I wanted a plan. So I let her know I wasn’t a bit offended, and I would really appreciate her agreeing to respond immediately to let me know that she received my acceptance and it went on her calendar and to let me know if anything changed.

And she agreed. I did get an apology, and I also got a plan. It feels clean to me. 

From a lean perspective, this took a problem and turned it into an opportunity. I was able to request an agreement that would eliminate the need on my end to double-check her intent. From a lean and SpeakStrong perspective, what we set is a communication standard to aspire toward. Will she ever forget to reply to my acceptances again? Likely. And I will feel supported in reminding her right away rather than waiting to see if the confirmation will come later before I inquire again.

From a friendship perspective, it’s clean and clear. I really wasn’t a bit offended, but I was ready to go back to refusing to schedule in advance if we couldn’t make an agreement of how to move forward.


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