The problem: We are a large group of good friends, all divorced, who have started to travel together. There are a few people in the group whom we find difficult to travel with, or with whom we prefer not to spend long amounts of time. How do we navigate this when we plan a trip, knowing that some friends will feel left out?
Low road: The easy solution is to keep traveling with the smaller group and remember not to post pictures on Facebook. But that would be torture. Plus, keeping your fun a secret feels wrong.
High road: Interestingly, I received two separate e-mails on this quandary. It’s a tough one, because traveling together is a far bigger and pricier commitment than putting up with dear, but draining, friends through dinner or a monthly book club. Traveling requires boatloads (or carloads) of togetherness, bathroom revelations, earplugs, restaurant and hotel bill calculations, and museum vs. tchotchke-shopping throw-downs. Plus, vacations are supposed to be relaxing. But the writers are clearly feeling guilty, so here are a few thoughts.
First, have you actually traveled together, or are you just assuming you’ll be lost in translation? Friends can surprise you in a good way, becoming relaxed and fun when free of daily stresses. Consider a short practice vacay to see how things go, say, over a long weekend, and make sure to carve out some time alone or with a compatible buddy to do what you enjoy.
If the difficult friends still can’t go with the flow on a quick trip, or have proved on previous trips that they can’t, you have credible evidence to kindly say, “I love our friendship, but we just don’t seem to want the same things out of traveling, so let’s find other ways to be together.”
Send questions about life’s little quandaries to firstname.lastname@example.org.