Congrats – you’ve finally managed to do the impossible task of taking your holiday plans out of the group chat and making them a reality. Those flights are no longer a long-lost dream and the time has come to sip cocktails on the beach whilst catching a tan with your best mates.
The stress of booking a holiday with your friends is one thing but actually being abroad with your close peers can be something else entirely. Sure, you might have had weekend sleepovers together and gone out-out on the weekends but it’s not the same thing.
Travelling abroad with friends can make or break a relationship, as 27-year-old journalist Samuel McManus-Maxwell found out the hard way.
McManus-Maxwell and his then-best friend travelled to Mallorca and planned on moving in with each other two months after their trip. However, not only did they decide to halt plans of sharing a flat, they ended the friendship completely.
“Things became tense when she refused to leave the hotel at all when I wanted to check out the local area and go on a couple of excursions, which I ended up doing alone,” he says.
“She then complained that I had spent time apart from her. She also tried to put a ban on me using my mobile phone when we were in the bar in the evenings.”
However, the final straw came when he caught her taking photos of him in the airport on the way home. She then proceeded to send messages about him to her friends.
“We didn’t speak to each other after leaving the airport. A couple of years later we met for a coffee and agreed we would be civil, we say hi if we see each other out but we are not friends,” he shares.
No one wants to be friends with someone who is consistently late, especially on holiday. Unfortunately, this was the case for 30-year-old painter Danielle* from South London. Danielle and her former friend had been friends for nine years but had their first falling out months prior to the trip.
“We fought over some business and professional matters, and although we tried to resolve it amicably, it was clear that things weren’t quite the same after that,” Danielle shares.
The rising tension mixed with her friend’s chronic lateness made a recipe for disaster. “In the context of a holiday, where we’ve made plans, booked excursions, and made reservations at restaurants, there seemed to be no consideration for the rest of us and honouring our time,” she explains.
To Danielle, her reasonings for her lateness were quite trivial: “She would change her outfit 4 times, decide she didn’t like her hair at the last minute and must change it, debate what shoe to wear, or pause to FaceTime her partner meanwhile the rest of us are waiting and ready to go.”
It all came to a head when Danielle and her friends reflected on how much time they spent waiting for her and she felt compelled to say something.
“Needless to say, the conversation didn’t go down well,” she says. When asked if the situation was resolved, Danielle thought they would resolve the issue then when they got back to London but“despite seeing each other in various settings, she never approached me, and I never approached her.”
24-year-old Ruth, a marketing assistant from London, was left by herself when she went to Malta with her then a close friend.
“We went to DLT Malta together and she left me for two guys she started talking to whilst on the holiday,” Ruth says. She felt that her friend forgot that they came on the trip together.
Ruth continues: “We agreed that we’d at least spend the last night together and 45 mins in she runs off with one of the guys and I have left on my own again.”
Luckily Ruth’s sister and other friends were on the same holiday so she wasn’t completely alone for parts of it. Since then, the friendship between the pair hasn’t been the same. “I haven’t seen or spoken to her since we left the airport,” Ruth admits.
It’s obvious that holidays are a testing time for friendships but why is that the case? Counselling Directory member Billie Dunlevy thinks it’s a mix between uncertainty, surprises and mismatched expectations.
“Even the best-planned trips come with uncertainty and the likelihood is as pals, that you are used to meeting and spending time together in comfortable, known settings,” Dunlevy explains.
“Some of our friendships are quite situation-specific or specific to a time in our lives. Like work friends or friends we knew at uni and people change over time.”
We usually aren’t spending each day with our friends in such close proximity so disagreements are expected to come up.
“It’s not the same as spending a few hours together once a month,” Dunlevy adds. Traveling can be stressful too, especially if you struggle with anxiety.
So, how do we know if we’re holiday compatible with our close pals? By speaking to each other about what kind of holiday you hope to have and need.
If you’re a people pleaser, make sure not to say things you don’t want to do.
“Advocating for our needs and desires upfront helps to avoid arguments down the line. Ask one another what are the 3 words you’d like to use at the end of the holiday to describe the experience. Do your words align?” Dunlevy says.
Ask yourself if you like doing the same things. Are you an early riser? Or do you prefer a lie-in? Would you mind staying at a hostel or are you more of an bougie babe?
“Of course, there has to be compromises and adaptations, that’s part of getting along with others. But it’s good to know if we are on a similar page,” Dunlevy adds.
If you do fall out with your friend on holiday, this doesn’t have to be the end of the friendship. Dunlvey suggests talking with your friend when you feel ready to.
“You might want to spend a bit of time talking about what you could do differently next time. Or if it’s a case that you don’t think you are compatible holiday buddies for future adventures be sure to demonstrate to one another the ways in which you do vibe and work well together as friends.”
Holiday season is quickly approaching and I’m sure your group chat is buzzing with holiday plans. However, you can’t go on holiday with everyone. It’s better to find out if you aren’t holiday compatible whilst on British soil rather than on a beach abroad.