It happens that you want to plan an activity with someone, and then when you meet the person, other people are also present.
Now you ask yourself, is it rude to continue planning in the presence of others?
Whether this is rude depends primarily on how other people perceive it.
Is It Rude to Make Plans in Front of Others?
A recent survey we completed in the USA with 106 individuals shows 54% of people don’t think it is rude to make plans in front of others and 46% of them do. It comes down to a personal choice.
Most adults feel that they have every right to make plans with whoever they want and it shouldn’t matter who else is around.
Others are more compassionate, and they don’t want someone else to feel left out. Yet they don’t plan on including that person in what they are planning. When that is the case, it is best to make your plans when you are alone rather than around others.
Pay attention to the way your planning makes others feel too. If they get upset or feel not included you shouldn’t do this around them anymore.
Don’t Use Work Time for Personal Plans
Never use work time to make personal plans with someone.
You may hang out with people you work with or you may be tempted to chat on the phone with someone and complete that planning.
It is going to upset those that work with you because you are wasting time. They may feel like they are picking up the slack too.
What to Say:
“I definitely want to plan this with you, but let’s do it after work tonight. Want to grab dinner at 6?”
“I can give you a call back during my lunch hour or tonight when I get home. I am at work so right now isn’t a good time to work on the plans. Let me know what you find in your search and we will get an agenda created together.”
“This isn’t the place to talk about that, it is a personal trip and this is work. I want us to keep the two separate.”
“I don’t want to discuss this at work, there are too many other people around for us to do so. Plus, it doesn’t reflect well on us that we are doing all of that during work hours. We all know there is a backlog of work to get done.”
“Email me what you would like to do as your top options and I will do the same. There is just too much there for us to do everything. As long as we both get to do what we really want it is going to be a wonderful time.“
Consider the Relationship of the Other People Around
It may not be considered rude to make plans with others around based on the relationship you have with them.
For example, your husband may be in the same room while you make plans to go shopping for the holidays with your mom and your sister. He doesn’t care that you are spending that time with them and he knows you are also getting him surprise gifts for under the tree so he can’t be around.
On the other hand, if you talking with a neighbor at a kid’s soccer game, don’t plan lunch and a movie with one of the other moms when a 3rd mom is standing there too. That person will quickly feel left out and it can harm the relationship you have with them.
What to Say:
“Let me check with Mike to see if he can watch the kids while we go to the play. I know it isn’t something he would like to see but not sure if I can find a sitter this late of a date if he can’t stay with them.”
“I like the idea, but let’s talk about it when it is just the two of us and there aren’t any distractions around us.”
“I want to go, come over tonight and we can look for tickets together.”
“I think it would be wonderful for our families to go to a cabin and enjoy the outdoors for a week. Let me check schedules and with the kids and get back to you by Friday.”
“I could use a girl’s trip, let’s work out the details this weekend.”
Consider Inviting Them to Join If Possible
If you are making plans around someone, consider inviting them to join you if possible.
Extend an invite to a new mom in the area or someone who has just started working with you. Even if they can’t go, they will appreciate you trying to include them.
As a good rule of thumb, if you can’t extend such an invite then don’t make the plans around that person.
What to Say:
“Rebecca, are you interested in seeing that movie too? You are welcome to come with us if you like.”
“We are glad to have you working with us. We go to lunch once a month or so, and we plan to go on Friday. Would you like to eat with us?”
“I am so happy you are dating my brother. It is a tradition for my mom and sisters to go see the Nutcracker around the holidays. If you are interested, we will get a ticket for you to join us.”
“Do you have any plans this weekend? If not, the invitation for the BBQ and swim party at my house is open to you and your family also.”
“Have you gone to the art gallery? You are missing out if you don’t see this exhibit. Are you free on Saturday when we are going?”
Apologize If You Have Upset Someone
Should it come to your attention that making plans in front of someone upset them, apologize!
It doesn’t matter if you think it is rude or not. You don’t want any hurt feelings or problems among those you interact with because of it.
What to Say:
“I am sorry if we upset you by talking about going to dinner together. We didn’t exclude you intentionally. We just haven’t had any time one on one to connect lately and I was trying to make that happen with them.”
“I didn’t think you would be interested in doing that with us, but I should have at least asked.”
“In the future, we will be sure to include you when we make such plans.”
Matt Vargas is an author and public speaking coach with a degree in sociology and more than ten years of practical experience. Matt is responsible for the empirical surveys at everyday-courtesy.com, is a passionate recreational musician, and blogs here about his experiences in the field of interpersonal communication.