There is a very true saying in Turkish that goes “you get to know your friend while on vacation”.  For this reason, spending your precious little holiday opportunities with a person with whom you are not very familiar poses a huge risk. 


Going on a vacation with a friend is in a way like a contract marriage.  You may get a divorce, maintain the relationship to a limited extent or sustain your friendship permanently on return.  Just like marriages, there are some rules for better maintaining a vacation taken with a friend: 


Talk about what you expect from vacation before you hit the road.


Just like everything else, we have a false opinion that everybody thinks just like we do.   For this reason we expect some issues to be accepted as is without discussion.  When it comes to a nice vacation, it is a huge mistake to assume that the person next to us actually enjoys the same things we enjoy.


For some people, the idea of a nice vacation may be lying on the bed all day long while for others, it may be setting foot on every piece of soil of the vacation resort, and while for another person, it may be partying like there is no tomorrow.   You can not know unless you talk about it.  And you may be angry with your friend as he/she has not accompanied you. 


Do you need him/her to accompany you?


Going on a vacation together does not necessarily mean that you are going to spend every minute with the person in your company.   But sometimes people may have such expectations in addition to the vacation.  You should talk beforehand whether you need to be together at all times at sea, dinner or bar.  You should make sure whether you want him/her to go out for a walk in the mornings with you or go out clubbing till late in the morning with you and that you are not going to force each other into doing such things. 


Remember and mention about your previous vacation friendships. 


I am sure you have had many vacations with others before.  Lessons learned from past experiences are the biggest guiding principles.  More often than not we forget all about them and go on a vacation with other persons every time thinking that it will be the greatest vacation ever.   Remember your previous vacations:  Which moments did you enjoy the most?  When did you start feeling bored?  Was there anything that turned things sour?  If you share those experiences you can adjust your expectations more easily. 


Going on a vacation with a friend may turn out to be a dream to remember or a bad nightmare.  The best thing to do is to know what we want and what we can contribute.  Just like it is the case with any other relationship. 


Derya Gülterler, MS

Clinic Psychologist