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JLeslie's avatar

Are you surprised when things don't go as planned?

Asked by JLeslie (57188points) February 10th, 2010

I almost expect something to go wrong. My husband on the other hand always assumes everything will go as planned.

What type of person are you?

If you generally expect something to go wrong do you plan for it ahead of time? Have a back up plan, pad travel time, check cancellations policies before booking reservations?

Also, if you are not like this, when you are around people who are is it annoying to you? Do you perceive people who expect things to go wrong, and plan for mishaps, to be worriers, negative, and/or pessimistic?

I predict if dpworkin sees this question his answer will be, “No, I am not surprised when something does not go as planned, I’m Jewish.”

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31 Answers

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I expect things to go as planned.Depending on who is involved in these plans,I will have a back up just in case.When I make plans,they usually happen and I usually stick to them.

Cruiser's avatar

Just about everything I do is well planned out and goes smoothly…EXCEPT…anytime I do a remodeling/repair project I always budget in 3 extra trips to the hardware store! Nothing ever goes as planned when I attempt a project at home. It drives me crazy!

Blackberry's avatar

I’m surprised when something works out. Being in the military has made me this way. Plans ruined because we had to go out to sea unexpectedly, some women broke up with me because I was gone too much, some officer deciding he wants something done at the last minute before we’re about to get off…’s not so bad since I’m on shore duty now, but I really dread going back to a ship.

MrItty's avatar

I’m shocked when things do go as planned. I plan out nearly everything, but I never expect the plans to actually work. When they do, I’m stunned, and it takes me a while to be convinced that I didn’t forget or overlook something.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I have learned that there needs to be a contingency plan for a lot of things.

john65pennington's avatar

I do my part in the planning and participation. can’t you imagine a band is about to perform in a concert and the drummer does not show? what do you do? i was the drummer and i was always there. this was just an example. i very much dislike people that are late or that leave early and place the burden on the remaining people.

Sophief's avatar

I always expect things to go wrong and my boyfriend is the same. What is funny though, is I tell him it won’t go wrong and he says the same to me, but we both know it will.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I try to analyze a situation for things that might go wrong and make contingency plans. I was taught the Six P’s: Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. I’ve found that usually something does go awry.

Silhouette's avatar

I don’t expect things to go wrong but I’m prepared in case they do. I usually have a back up plan and I can always figure one out on the fly if the need arise.

CMaz's avatar

No. Shit happens.

Prepare for the worse, hope for the best.

mattbrowne's avatar

Not at all. I’m in IT. Most of the time things don’t go as planned. It’s normal. Every IT manager knows this. It’s an implication of complexity.

Human relationships and most of our private lives are complex as well. Surprises are normal. Personal growth allows us to learn from earlier surprises and become “surprise management” experts.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

@mattbrowne Good points. When we built our house, we allowed an extra 15% for “surprises” and came in almost exactly on that figure.

BluRhino's avatar

I have found if I expect things to go wrong, they will. I try to expect things to go well, but am not surprised when they dont, I just try to roll with it. Although I am still subject to frustration, I just have to remember to let it go.

TheJoker's avatar

Ummm, yeh, sort-of. The thing is I rarely make plans…. tend to just do things instead.

shadling21's avatar

I expect things to go differently than planned, but that doesn’t necessarily make me a pessimist. I work with whatever I get.

phoebusg's avatar

Things always go as ‘planned’. But my plans are adaptable to any future possibility, without attachment.

slick44's avatar

Im not surprised when things dont go as planned. seems like whatever can go wrong will. So i am gratefull when thing work out.

Steve_A's avatar

Nope, seems to be my luck really.I try not to get pissed off, or upset about it…so I tell myself.

I only have 2 options.
1) New plan.
2) Screw it and keep chucking.

janbb's avatar

My family laughs – or gets exasperated at me – for always trying to build in a Plan B. They think I’m a pessimist; I think I’m a realist. Maybe your theory is right @JLeslie; maybe it’s part of my Jewish genes.

augustlan's avatar

I’m not much of a planner, and tend to fly by the seat of my pants. I do generally allow myself a little extra travel time on a day to day basis, but when things go wrong they tend to go really wrong… eating up that extra time and then some. I’m not terribly surprised when things go wrong, but I just chalk it up to “that’s life” and go on about my business. Unless a good cry is in order. In that case, I cry and then go on about my business. :P

UScitizen's avatar

Of course not. I’ve experienced entropy previously.

onesecondregrets's avatar

I plan for the worst or I don’t plan at all. Life lets you down, the sooner you learn that, and learn to work with it..the better off you are.

YARNLADY's avatar

No, I’m not surprised when plans don’t work out the way I wanted, but I wouldn’t say they go ‘wrong’, but more like something unforeseen came up to alter the plan. I just add in the difference and move on.

In my experience when things ‘go wrong’ it has nothing to do with plans, but rather more like a disaster comes along.

wundayatta's avatar

I rarely bother to plan. That’s a recipe for disappointment. No, I make it up as I go along. I’ve gotten really good at that, too. It makes people think I had a plan. Silly, silly, silly.

YARNLADY's avatar

@wundayatta Making it up as you go along takes a lot of talent. I feel so much more comfortable knowing that everything is worked out in advance, in spite of the occasional detours.

Case in point: I always plan our trips to visit family (500 miles away) well in advance, with motel reservations and food/meals all worked out. Recently we had to take the trip with no advance notice, and it was a lot more difficult to make it up as we went along.

wundayatta's avatar

Actually, I wasn’t thinking about vacation travel. We plan that—my wife obsessively so. So there’s very little room built in for whim.

But at work and play, it’s pretty much make it up as I go along. My wife is driven crazy by this.

JLeslie's avatar

Well, this morning my husband got stuck because he closed the front gate last night. he knows this is not a good idea in the freezing cold, but decided to do it anyway. So this morning, leaving for work, the gate opened one foot and then stopped. We had to open the main console, all sorts of red lights on inside of it, unhook it and open it manually, and hope he did not burn out the motor. Just another thing.

@wundayatta @YARNLADY I make all of the travel plans or little would be planned. My husband wants the hotel reserved way inn advance, but everything else, like what to do while in town he is very reluctant to discuss or investigate. I don’t like every minute planned, but if you don’t do some research ahead, I find you wind up missing things you might have wanted to see.

His family does everything by the seat of their pants, even travel, and it is so annoying to me, and worse they think I am a pain in the ass for trying to plan if we will be spending time with them. More frustrating there have been times when we are staying with them, and they will literally be walking out of the house, and say, “are you coming also?” when we had no idea we were invited to go wherever they are going or that they were going somewhere. I find that rude. It feels like they actually don’t want us to go, but they do it to everyone, even their own kids.

@janbb I should have included you with dpworkin in my original question :). I would say 99.8% of Ashkenazi Jews will answer they are not surprised, and have back up plans. I’m not so sure about the Sephardic? My husband’s dad is Sephardic and no planning there, but it could be just him. And of course, even people who aren’t Jewish plan for the unexpected.

DrC's avatar

There are so many times in life when things don’t go as planned – sometimes in a small way, sometimes in a big way. But flexibility is the key. When you allow yourself to be flexible and learn to work with what you have rather than what you planned for, you have more happiness, less frustration, and more success. It’s not that I expect things to go wrong, it’s just that stuff happens, or maybe my expectations were not realistic. Especially with vacations – anything can happen (weather, hotel guests that suck, etc). Even when plans have become totally turned around, I just ask myself, how can I enjoy myself today? What are my options? What can I take advantage of and experience?

As far as people who expect things to go wrong…you have a spectrum from those who are realists all the way to those people who are fatalistic – and everyone in between. Some semblance of planning gives you structure and organizes you. Some people are comforted by this. Others don’t mind not having a plan and they can tolerate more uncertainty when traveling. This is not good or bad, it just speaks to people’s personal differences. This makes people who they are. Either way, flexibility is a wonderful quality to posses and can be developed little by little.

JLeslie's avatar

@DrC Sometimes I think maybe some of it has to do with cultural differences and maybe education level, but that could be totally off. Maybe it is just some sort of inherent personality trait, or specific to families.

DrC's avatar

All of those things could play a role. I think that we also learn how to be more anxious, or learn to be more easily upset. Our families are a very large source of the lessons we learn. But this means that we can teach ourselves to be more relaxed and flexible as well. It does take tolerating a little anxiety and some trial and error. I think the first step is realizing that in the grand scheme of things, those things that we are upset about in the moment really aren’t that big a deal and that we have options.

shalom's avatar

I never thought about it until a friend told me at dinner, “Don’t plan your life, things will never go as planned, something will always go wrong.” I’ve always taken for granted that anything and everything I desire will come true. I’m not talking about fleeting and superficial daydreams and fantasies, I’m talking about the unfolding of deep, meaningful aspirations or hopes that eventually bring fulfillment and happiness to life.

Anomalies are not really anomalies because when we start taking 100% responsibility for our life and how we respond to life we begin to see that almost everything can go as planned. Most of the time, I think, the problem comes from people not having the right insights or knowledge to make an informed plan before making “a” plan.

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