Group Chat is In The Know’s weekly advice column, where our editors respond to your questions about dating, friendships, family, social media and beyond. Have a question for the chat? Submit it here anonymously and we’ll do our best to reply.
Hi, Group Chat,
I’m going on vacation with a small group of friends next month (It’s just 4-5 of us, and we’re going to a mountain house where we feel like we can still be responsible with social distancing). These guys are my best friends in the world — I’ve known most of them since middle school — and I was really excited for a chance to spend time with them, especially since none of us have seen each other since quarantine started.
We had the whole trip planned until one of my friends, Matt, invited his new girlfriend — who none of us have met. I felt betrayed, mostly because we were planning on this being a sort of reunion trip, but also because it seemed pretty careless that he just announced she was coming without asking any of us if it was OK. A few of us told Matt how we felt, and he completely blew up. He said we were being horrible friends and that it wasn’t our choice if she came or not. Now, he said his new gf will be there “no matter what,” and that he doesn’t care if we even show up. We can’t reason with him, so it feels like my only option is to go on the trip and suck it up or not go, which feels totally immature. What should I do?
Sincerely, Troubled Traveler
Dillon Thompson, who’s seen way too many horror films to stay in a cabin with someone I’ve never met, says… So, I had my own version of this problem a few years ago: Except in my case, the girlfriend was a chimichanga (hear me out, I swear this makes sense).
After undergrad, I lived abroad for a year and came home thinking of one thing: food. All I wanted, all I needed, to welcome me home was a carnitas chimichanga from my favorite Mexican restaurant. Straight from the airport, I went to get one and was hit with some awful news: They were out of carnitas. I had to get chicken instead. I was heartbroken.
Here’s my point: You and your friends have waited a long time to safely see one another again — and adding a new person to the mix just won’t feel the same. Yes, chicken chimichangas are good, but they’re not as good as the thing you’ve spent months looking forward to. Before you respond to Matt’s frustration with more anger, I’d try to make that point. Explain to him that this vacation is a really big deal to you all — especially given the circumstances — and that you just want to experience the trip as you originally planned it. The argument here isn’t that you want to exclude his girlfriend, it’s that you value his friendship and want to maximize the time you have with him.
Alex Lasker, whose only true joy in life is a good friend-cation, says… I am not a man and therefore do not understand what men do on a “guys trip” (sit in the woods? take photos with fish? I don’t know.) However, I certainly DO understand the sanctity of a girls’ trip, so I think I can level with you here.
Your entire upcoming weekend likely relies not on the location or the activities whatsoever — it’s about the actual, genuine quality time you’re finally getting to spend with your friends. I’m sure it feels like your buddy is trying to intrude on that special time, and, to be honest, I’d be beyond pissed if one of my girlfriends tried to pull the same stunt.
With his new girlfriend present at your reunion, your pal’s attention will be divided and that was not the original gist of this trip, which is clearly very special to your entire group. Express that to him, and then ask him if he’s able to honor the plan. In the same breath, get plans on the books to meet his new girlfriend, whether at a happy hour or the next mountain weekend. He’s probably just very very excited to have met someone special and wants her to get to know the guys — but there are better weekends than this one for her to do so.
Kimberly Te, who usually loves inviting everyone to the party, says… Is this normal behavior for your friend? Has he always been the type to bring an uninvited guest to a gathering? If so, ask yourself how your friend group has dealt with a situation like this with him before. Did it always end poorly?
If this is abnormal, I’d try asking Matt more about this relationship. It seems unusual that a significant other would want to interrupt a trip between a group of close friends who have known each other forever. From my perspective, this does not sound fun for her. The fact that he got angry about this also suggests that maybe there’s more to this situation than you currently know. But, if he really just wants to introduce you guys to his girlfriend, you could try to suggest an alternate time to meet her.
Katie Mather, who would also like an invite to this vacation, says… First of all, love that you’ve found yourself a rich friend with a mountain house.
Matt has pulled one of the most annoying social faux pas. There are just certain situations where the significant other doesn’t get an invite and it’s totally OK: Vegas trips, a coworker’s housewarming where you know they’re going to make you take your shoes off before entering the apartment, brunch when there’s gossip, watching “your team” “play” in the “big game” at a bar and, of course, friend reunions (family reunions are a different story).
However, you simply must attend the trip and see your friends! I can’t believe you’re considering not going — think of the memories (Instagrams) you’ll be missing out on. Maybe the girlfriend will be cool. Maybe the girlfriend will fall in love with you and all along this was how you’re supposed to meet your soulmate. Everything is a rom-com plot to me and I wish you the best of luck.
AmiLin McClure, who went to a cabin in NY with a bunch of friends pre-quarantine, says… This sounds like such a fun trip! It’s awesome to hear that you’re still best friends with the same crew from way back in middle school. Not everyone can say that.
Just like you, I’d be bummed that a vacation I was looking forward to isn’t going as planned. Since it seems like you’ve already expressed how you felt about having a boys’ trip and your friend won’t budge with the idea of going solo, I wouldn’t let one person ruin a fun time with your best friends. I’d definitely still go and, instead of thinking about it as “sucking it up and going,” I’d try to remember that people and relationships change. Friends develop new relationships, get married and even have kids. Things might not be how they used to be, but as life goes on you can still have a great time.
Who knows? You might end up really liking his new girlfriend. If it turns out you’re not the biggest fan, luckily your other friends will be there and you can have a fun getaway after so much time apart. Try and make the best of it.
TL;DR… We all seem to agree that, at the very least, this was not a cool move on your friend’s part. Though it seems his mind is pretty made up, it still might be worth having a last-ditch conversation before the trip to try and sway him from bringing his girlfriend under the premise that, because of the pandemic, your days together as a group are limited. Play up how excited you are to meet her (just at a different time) so he knows you’re coming from a good place. If she ends up on the trip, try to keep an open mind — she just might end up being the most fun one there.
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