Erik’s guide to planning social gatherings in Singapore

You love to meet up with your friends and chat over dinner or drink.

You think organizing a meetup is as easy as creating an event in Facebook, adding people to it and just wait for the day to come.

And one day before the event, you check the event page on Facebook only to find that no one has responded or put their attendance as maybe.

What went wrong?

Nothing. It’s simply in Singaporean’s blood to “bo-chup” (don’t care attitude).

1) Decide a default location and time.

If you ask everyone about their opinions, you would most likely get none. And if you get opinions, great! Change it accordingly.

Those who do not respond are usually fine with any place.

2) Plan in advance. At least 2 weeks or even better, 4.

Most people usually have plans made for the week and the next.

Planning in advance shows that you really want to meet up with those invited. It’s like how people would book advance tickets for a show/performance they like as soon as the sales for those tickets begin.

And if you get the excuse that you’re planning way too soon, ignore it. It only goes to show that that person wants to reserve his/her time on that day for something else, and values that event more than meeting up with you.

3) When confirming attendance, call them or SMS them.

I’ve never seen a successful meetup planned using Facebook unless it’s a small group of very very close friends, or you’re someone so important that people want to be around you 24/7 and even when you go to the toilet.

Start confirming at least a week before so you know the group size and make reservations at the restaurant accordingly.

For those who sound unsure, tell them that you are making reservations at a certain date and you need to hear an answer from them by then.

4) Expect late-comers and prepare for it.

Despite Singapore being so small it takes less than an hour to travel from one end of the country to the other by car, people will still be late. But they’re not entirely to be blamed. Our “world-class transport system” has to have world-class failures too sometimes.

Plan your meetup in such a way that those who arrive on time won’t have to wait for those who are late.

If it’s a dinner meetup, go into the restaurant first with whoever is already there and start ordering and chat.

Or meet up at a game center first where people can play some games while waiting.

The last few movie gatherings I did for my anime club, we gathered at a fastfood restaurant so we can have dinner and chat before the movie starts.

Troublesome isn’t it? But after everything’s over, everyone will appreciate you for putting in all that effort to get them together. That alone is rewarding enough.

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