How spontaneous are you?

by Dating Goddess on May 24, 2010

I’m struck that many men’s online profiles say they want a spontaneous woman. It’s made me look at my own level of spontaneity.

My experience of spontaneity is that someone else (a friend or suitor) calls or shows up and says, “Hey, I’m on my way to XXX. Wanna come?”

More often than not, I have my morning, afternoon, or evening planned so I have to quickly sort my day’s priorities and see if I can shift things if I want to accompany them. If I decline, I usually hear disappointment or even chiding from the other.

While I appreciate they wanted to spend some time together, I feel much more special if they take the time to think ahead and invite me the day before. Then I can have time to rearrange my activities and look forward to the outing.

Being invited at the last minute feels like I’m an afterthought. This isn’t very appealing.

In fact, I’ve come to think of these impulsive invitations as selfish. The inviter has had time to decide that the activity is something they want to do and arrange their life to do it. There is no forethought of my schedule or priorities. It is all about them and their desires, and my attendance is not just secondary, but way down the list.

So how does one allow some spur-of-the-moment activities in a planned life? The key is to not be so rigid that you can’t occasionally say, “I’ll do my projects tomorrow.”

And I try to educate my friends and suitors that I do well with planned spontaneity. Although it sounds like an oxymoron, it means that we decide to spend the afternoon, evening, or day together, perhaps float some possible activities, then agree to decide when we’re together. This allows for the proper clothing to be worn or brought or other items that would fit with the activities offered.

For example, a friend stayed with me over the weekend to attend a meeting Saturday. She had Sunday to play. Saturday night we discussed a handful of options that encompassed what she wanted to do. Sunday morning we set out on our top priority, then at transition points throughout the day I offered her options. The day unfolded wonderfully as we ebbed and flowed based on the weather, our mood and our hunger. We were spontaneous within a loosely planned day.

How do you feel about spontaneity in dating? Are you the one offering spur-of-the-moment activities or are you more on the receiving end? If the latter, how do you feel when someone you’re dating only seems to offer to get together last minute?

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Karen May 25, 2010 at 11:11 am

I really don’t like dating the “last minute only” guy! I agree that it’s a “dis”, a clear indication that you are not one of his top priorities.

On the other hand, I had a guy do this to me and he was just being timid. After several months of his last minute kinda-a-date-but-maybe-not-really invitations, I sent him an email telling him to get lost and told him exactly why and how I interpreted his actions. It turned out he was just trying to avoid rejection that might come if he asked specifically for a date ahead of time! Instead of getting mad at my email, he really stepped up his game and convinced me to give him another try. This time he made it much clearer what he wanted and how, a year later, we’re very happy together! So you never know–some men are just sorta clue-less.

Anna May 25, 2010 at 11:25 am

If you ask me, when a guy notes in his online profile that he wants a woman who is spontaneous – read “I want someone who has no commitments and is prepared to drop everything and be my companion when it suits me, where it suits me and how it suits me with no particular thought for you”.

Mark May 25, 2010 at 6:35 pm

So it seems there are two kinds of spontaneity here:

1) The “hey let’s see a movie tonight” kind that comes without warning.

2) The “let’s spend Saturday together. We’ll play it by ear.”

I do the latter quite often. The former, no, not really. People our age usually have committments. That kind of spontaneity probably works better for the college and post-college crowd. It really harkens back to being a kid when you’d call up a friend and say, “Hey, want to play?”

I also wanted to add that the things you read in profiles you need to take with a grain of salt. People think they value a quality but quite often they are idealizing something. I’m willing to bet that most men who say they desire a woman who’s spontaneous aren’t thinking of a woman who will call them up and say, “I’m in the mood to plant flowers today. Let’s go buy some and spend the afternoon digging in my yard.”

Brenda May 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

I am totally loving your comments! Imagine this scenario for a second date (with me) tonight – male suitor called me at 5:40 pm (as I sat at my son’s little league game) and left me a voicemail (I did not hear it ring) to ask “How about joining me at a friend’s house to watch the Lakers game starting in 20 minutes?” Is he kidding me? He did the same thing on Sunday -called and left me a voicemail knowing I was at a women’s retreat “let me know if you want to get together later today or if I should make other plans…..” it was already 1:30 pm and he made me feel like an afterthought. I told him i was busy (true) and to make other plans………

This man is already leaving a very bad taste in my mouth………and he is 56! Very uncool………..

I like Mark’s #2 suggestion – I do that when I am in a more steady dating relationship…………

Mark May 25, 2010 at 10:17 pm

“Imagine this scenario for a second date (with me) tonight – male suitor called me at 5:40 pm (as I sat at my son’s little league game) and left me a voicemail (I did not hear it ring) to ask “How about joining me at a friend’s house to watch the Lakers game starting in 20 minutes?” Is he kidding me?”

So there’s a right way and wrong way to do this. He did this the wrong way. He may very well have received a last-minute invitation to watch the game, and being enthusiastic about it, invited you. Nothing wrong with that as far as I can tell.

So it comes down to how he asks. The wrong way is to leave a VM saying something like, “Want to watch the Lakers wtih me? I hope you can come,” which puts pressure on you.

The right way is to say something like this: “Hi. I know this is last moment and I don’t normally spring things like this, but a friend just called about watching the Lakers game, and the first thing I thought of was you and how I’d like you to be there. I know this is so last-minute there’s very little chance you are free, and I totally understand, but I thought I’d at least ask. I do want to see you – if not tonight, then soon.”

I wouldn’t say those words, exactly, live in a phone call, but I’d be sure to make my request as low-pressure as possible.

Brenda May 26, 2010 at 6:13 am

Mark, you are a gem! What you wrote is what a woman wants to hear. He and I have a date on Friday so we will see what transpires then. I certainly don’t mind someone calling for a last minute thing such as that but I am a little reluctant even then as I only met him once and spent an hour with him. But then again, the friend would be like a chaperone :)

Dating Goddess May 26, 2010 at 9:58 pm

Mark:

Your spontaneous invitation situation is perfect and I’m sure your GF appreciates your approach. If not, send her here and we’ll tell her how much she should appreciate it — and you!

And I’ve learned to interpret the men’s statement about wanting a spontaneous woman to mean one who will have sex anywhere, any time. I agree with Anna’s definition of their wanting a woman who will “drop everything and be my companion when it suits me, where it suits me and how it suits me with no particular thought for you.”

Thanks for your contributions!

Richard May 27, 2010 at 8:21 am

To me, “spontaneous” is willing to do something, on short notice, that is out of the ordinary. I agree with the comments about the last minute invite. To me, “spontaneous” is more like the following situations:

The two of you are huddling close, while chatting on a freezing January afternoon. One of you says: “Hey, let’s go to Las Vegas next weekend”.

Or, “A business trip to just came up, want to join me?”

Some people are more accommodating to short-notice changes in their schedule. Other people, if they have to move an appointment for an oil change, feel like it is a huge imposition.

Mike Lowrey June 9, 2010 at 9:51 am

I agree that there are differences when being asked to be spontaneous.
Maybe this is an age thing but it seems many women tend to map out their day, week, or month . Guys I know rarely do that. I’ve heard excuses like so they can get their outfit together, hair done, etc..

I can’t stand it when a woman can’t just shoot over to the movies or grab a bite to eat spontaneously.

DG: Why do women need to coordinate every event with their spiritual advisor, hairdresser, and Macy’s?
Guys I know map out things 4 hours at a time.

The other spontaneous (XXX) is a must for me.
I’m not saying it has to be 100% spontaneous all the time but I’ve been known to go at it at the drop of a dime when I’m motivated.

Almita January 3, 2011 at 11:03 am

I have often been accused of being “inflexible” when I have declined spontaneous invitations because I don’t want to change what I have already planned for the day to fulfill someone else’s whim. Yet to me, if someone says I am inflexible, it really just means that I am not doing what the other person wants me to do. In other words, the other person is just upset that they cannot control me.

Jc August 11, 2013 at 6:59 pm

Women, get over yourselves; if a man isn’t planning out early i.e. first, second or third dates with you far in advance, it’s not that he isn’t interested in you or doesn’t care about you…he simply doesn’t yet know you, so why should he block out a time slot in his schedule way in advance to spend time with someone he doesn’t even know? If you’ve been dating for a long time and he isn’t scheduling time together in advance, that’s another thing, but early on he still doesn’t even know enough about you to know if he likes you?

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