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We all met each other at a sports association in college, where we formed a team. Over the years, some people quit and 4 of us were left. We had regular dinners and started going on holidays together. During one holiday, one of the friends got suddenly very upset with another friend, for no logical reason. It resulted in a horrible day, and the next days were also not fun. For most of the holidays that followed this one, she often canceled.

The 3 of us now want to go on a holiday without her. But, since we still are a bit in contact, we think it is better to tell her about it. We expect that if she were to find out afterwards she would be more hurt. I, however, fear that she will get very upset and it will end our friendship.

Some people online suggested to tell her but not to give any reasons, as this may lead to a back-and-forward argumentation fight, which sounds awful.

How can you tell a friend that you prefer to exclude her from a 'group'-holiday?


Further details:

We did not exclude her because she often cancels, but because the holiday probably will be nicer without her. Among my friends I am the one who has most contact with her. We used to hang out a lot more (back when I lived nearby). She has some issues with planning and sleeping and is someone who seems to see negative things in everything and also fights a lot. But I don't want to hurt her and end the friendship. The other friends feel like they can't be themselves around her.

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Amoung my friends I am the one who has most contact with her. We used to hang out a lot more (back when I lived nearby). She has some issues with planning and sleeping and is someone who seems to see negative things in everything and also fights a lot. But I don't want to hurt her and end the friendship. The other friends feel like they can't be themselves around her

From your comment, I believe meeting up with her one-on-one and having an honest conversation with her would be the best in terms of coming clean about the upcoming holiday without her and possibly helping her grow as a person.

Ask to meet for coffee or drinks, whatever is casual, say you want to catch up (or call her and ask if she has some time to chat since it seem you may not be too close in proximity). Have some nice small talk then go into the fact that you actually want to discuss your friend group. Tell her that the three of you are going away on holiday and the group as a whole felt it best to not invite her after the incident at X holiday. Ask her about the incident and get her side (if you hadn't already) and ask why she hasn't come to the last three, as in did this incident have anything to do with it and why.

Using I (or we, in this case) statements will/should help alleviate her from feeling attacked. "We felt a very negative energy from you." "We feel uncomfortable around you at times." etc.

A person may not realize how much their actions affect others (maybe she does since she stopped coming). Hopefully this incites some self-reflection on her part (and maybe you see a different side and see you could have acted better in a situation).

From my experience, my friendships have grown stronger after such conversations. It shows you care about her and her views.

Things to keep in mind:

  • Listen to her and don't interrupt or try to put words in her mouth. Let her finish her thought, acknowledge it (try to use an empathy statement, "I see how you could feel X because of Y").
  • Remain calm and factual
  • Try not to speak for others. If she asks specific questions and you don't know the reasoning or answer, tell her, "I can't speak to Alice's point of view but from what I understand or saw, this is how I feel about Z."

This comes from personal experience. I had this happen in my own friend group and had a very real, honest, and open conversation with a friend. I was able to see where she was coming from instead of making assumptions and realized how my and other's actions attributed to her feeling/acting the way she did.

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**heavily edited answer due to comments from OP since asking the original question **

I think would be fair to talk to her about the holiday before she starts seeing posts on social media. Some may argue her cancelling on the last few trips justifies not inviting her on this occasion and gives you guys a free pass to go ahead without involving her; however, there’s clearly a deeper issue which needs resolving.

You describe your friend as someone who has a negative view of everything; as being generally disruptive; and makes those around her feel uncomfortable about being themselves.

She appears to have recognised this and apologised for ruining a previous trip but instead of resolving these issues and moving on as a group she has distanced herself and it seems that resentment has built up in your other friends and they don’t appear to like her anymore.

You are stuck in the middle.

Like I say, I think it’s fair to speak with her about going away without her. Try doing so on her terms, in a call or preferably face to face. Make it clear to her that you wish to remain friends and that you don’t want to see the group break apart but that on this occasion the three of you are arranging a trip without her.

Make it clear that you don’t understand why she has avoided the last few trips she has been invited on and would like to work that out if possible.

Don’t say anything that assumes you know why she avoids these trips or how she feels about the group; allow her to open up about that if she wants to. Remember she apologised for her behaviour previously so as friends that should have been an issue laid to rest.

Speak with the other two friends also, before speaking with her. Let them know your intention and see if they would be willing to try working things out if she agrees to it. Then if your friend is willing, the four of you can get together later and talk. It would also help make your chat with her more about “we the group” than just yourself.

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