How do you surprise someone who is expecting to be surprised? This was the question that my partner, Dan, recently had to face. I am fairly hard to surprise, as you could probably have guessed... I'm naturally suspicious I suppose (maybe it's the legal training!). But added to that it was my birthday on Tuesday, and Dan had let it slip a few weeks ago that he was planning a party. So... not my fault!
I was a bit sad that I wouldn't get my surprise, but mostly I felt terrible for him. I know how badly it feels for all of that planning and scheming to go to waste. And so for the next several weeks I made a conscious effort to not ask any questions, and not remark on things that I thought were oddly out of place... just in case! (Ok I tried to do this. Some times I was more successful than others). I wasn't even really sure if Dan had decided to forego the whole thing or to forge ahead with his plans.
Despite my efforts, I was highly suspicious when a friend of mine clumsily invited us over to her place the Friday after my birthday for a "low key" get together. Especially because she had wished me a happy birthday without the aid of Facebook... does anyone remember their friend's birthdays anymore? But I didn't say anything, because I wanted Dan to have his moment.
Throughout the course of that day we were invited by another friend of ours to come play beach volleyball because they were short a few players. I didn't think anything of it because we regularly play beach volleyball... I think you can see where I'm going with this. Needless to say I was distracted enough by the earlier invite that I didn't put any weight on the current one. When we showed up the next day at the volleyball courts I had a huge shock when everyone shouted "surprise!".
I got to experience being on the other side of the surprise... and it was awesome! The fact that Dan and my friends put so much effort and thought into surprising me was really touching. Especially since Dan clearly does not have a natural ability to lie... which is a good thing in most cases!
Despite his initial slip up, I was impressed by Dan's surprise abilities. He did not give up after I found out about the party, but rather turned my knowledge around and used it to his advantage. He knew I was expecting something so he planned a red herring to take my attention off of the actual party. And he knew me enough to know I would fall for it, hook line and sinker (to complete the analogy).
To finish the story of the evening, we had dinner, and then went to play archery tag. Picture running around in a big sandbox shooting foam-tipped arrows at your friends. It was pretty awesome.
So I thought I'd write this post and explain how Dan surprised the surpriser, in case anyone out there finds themselves in a similar situation. If your surprisee expects something, do what Dan did and use their knowledge against them. Direct their attention to what they're expecting, and blindside them with something else. It's basically a bait and switch... in a loving way.
Love and thanks to Dan (and all else involved) for all he did to surprise me... I know it's a daunting task!
Have you ever been in a situation where you or your surprisee expected a surprise? I'd love to hear about it and how you handled it! If you enjoyed my story, or think someone you know might benefit from Dan's strategy, please like and share it! Thanks for reading and, as always, you can connect with me over social media on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.