10 July 2015

How Long Do I Wait?

I’m not often called a genius, for obvious reasons, but sometimes I get so close to genius it’s confusing. For example, I’ve solved the “how long do I wait" problem. With a spreadsheet, as per usual.

See, I tend to always be waiting for a friend to do something. Maybe it’s to catch a specific movie, maybe it’s to go on vacation, whatever. I’m loathe to do anything alone so part of that always wanting companionship thing is agreeing to wait. And wait, and wait.

My friend pointed that this was ridiculous and offered up a few different strategies to fix it. She was very helpful. I'll try a few of her suggestions but in the meantime, we came up with a formula to mathematically figure out how long a person should reasonably wait. After extensive testing, our system basically works for every situation, including and up to “How long should I wait to break up?”

So yeah, all everything you need is right here: "How Long Do I Have to Wait: An Answer," with a step-by-step and explanations below. It’s an incredible system, and one I’ll be applying to my own life immediately.

STEP ONE: Pick a time frame. Is it hours, days, weeks, months, or years? Most of the time, the answer is obvious. When in doubt, pick the shorter time frame.

STEP TWO: Go through all five categories, scoring from 0-5 for each. Zero is low, five is high. The formula is weighted like this:
(A*0.35)+(B*0.25)+(C*0.20)+(D+0.10)+(E+0.1) = How Long Do I Wait
STEP THREE: Inform your friend(s) how long you’ll be waiting. That’s it! Feel free to live your life now without suffering guilt about how you didn’t wait for someone to do something.
Categories Explained: 
Word is Bond, 35%
This category covers how fixed in stone the plans were. A passing “Oh yeah, we should watch that together merits just a one on the scale. But if you’ve looked deep into each other’s eyes and promised to do something together, that’s a five. I can’t emphasize enough how important this category is, thus it’s weighted very heavily because the agreement part is where most of the future disagreements stem from. “But you said you would wait!?!”

Closeness, 25%
How close are you to the person you made a commitment to. Is it just a so-so friend, or perhaps a co-worker that you’re friendly with but owe nothing to? A five on the scale is someone who will slit your throat (deservedly) if you ditched them. Irreparable betrayal really.

Worth the Wait, 20%
Is experiencing this event with the other person going to be worth the wait. Sure, you could go ahead and watch the Game of Thrones finale with anyone, but wouldn’t it be better to wait and enjoy it with your die-had fan? If so, that’s a high Worth the Wait score. Also, this is the category to take into account how important this thing is to the two of you. Is your bond with so-and-so all about roller coasters and you’d have the most fun with them? Or you traditionally ALWAYS do this one thing together. Then that’s a five.

Frequency of Event, 10%
Is this the kind of thing where opportunities will come again? Or is it a once-in-a-lifetime deal? A brunch or a movie can happen quite often, so that would score low. Taking a trip to pet penguins in Antartica? That’s probably pretty rare, score it a five.

Crucial Figure, 10%
Is the person you’re waiting for a big part of the event? Are they central to the planning process, will they have connections to free housing or VIP seating? That’s what this category is about. If this person is irreplaceable, then they should rank highly.
Let’s take a real life example. Piper is headed to jail for transporting drug money across international borders. Her fiance, Larry, promises that he’ll wait for her to be released before continuing Mad Men. How long should Larry wait?

He verbally promised he would wait (score it a 5), he and Piper are engaged (5), it seems like watching Mad Men is their couple thing (4), they could likely replace Mad Men with another show when she gets out (2), and Piper isn’t really a crucial figure to watching the series (1). Final answer: 3.9.

The timeframe part is up to Larry. If he wants to be a backstabbing, lying asshole, then he can wait 3.9 hours to watch Mad Men. If he wants to be a stand up guy, then he can wait up to 3.9 years for Piper to get out and watch Mad Men together. Your call Larry.

Please, use the spreadsheet, test it out. I think you'll find that it's both simple and effective. As always with my world changing spreadsheets, I welcome comments, questions, and improvements. This is just an alpha version, created in an evening, but I think it has the potential to change how we interact with each other. As rational, responsible adults who shouldn't get upset at each other for superfluous stuff. You know, like what I did when my friend ditched me to get her tattoo. I'm still holding that one against her...

Caveat: This “how long should I wait” formula doesn’t work for things that can only happen during certain timeframes. If an event happens on a specific date and time, then it’s simply a matter of whether you can go together or not. Along those same lines, this formula doesn’t work for things that you absolutely can’t delay. Like, say, childbirth. “It says I should wait 3.47 weeks to give birth, should we go ahead and tell the doctor?” No.