Wednesday, January 26, 2011

How to Handle Vacation Crashers

Dear Grace,
We recently booked an all-inclusive spring break vacation. At a PTA meeting later that day, people were chatting about travel and I mentioned our upcoming trip. Today I learned that, as a result of my conversation, another family has booked the same trip, and I am not happy. We have rarely socialized w them, although we do overlap--the mom heads my boys' soccer league and we both volunteer at the school. Their older son has been unkind to my son several times, but the younger bro's are friends. Cut to the chase...She wants to meet for meals and book excursions. I want to have a family vacation without these people. But I don't want to offend them. Help???

Grace Says:

Oh, my that is an awkward situation. I had a similar challenge several years ago--I had recklessly become friends with a neighbor who had a child the same age as mine. You know how that happens, same schedule, glad of company, then you realize that you have nothing in common and you'd rather have an unanaesthetized root canal than spend one more minute with this chick.

Anyway, we were planning a family trip to FL and I ill-advisedly mentioned it. She said, "Oh, we've been dying to get away. Tell me where you are you staying so we can meet there!" I said, in what I thought was a relatively gentle way, "I think it would be best if we don't vacation together." She was deeply hurt and we were never really friends again. Of course, that suited me just fine. Graces don't want to be cruel, but we do want to escape from miserable social situations. In my case, I at least had the advantage of foreknowledge and was able to take preventive measures. You, poor dear, are stuck. To minimize exposure I recommend several tactics:

1. Contact the resort and request rooms, tables and any other communal accommodations away from this family.

2. Pre-arrange activities so that you and yours are busy and occupied so that there is less chance for interaction. (But make sure they are things you actually want to spend your vacation doing, not just filling up the day with shuffleboard tournaments and sushi classes to evade detection.)

3. Explain to this vacation-crashing mom that you are really looking to have a FAMILY vacation and plan to spend time as a family unit. It is nice that you will be at the same resort but you are really planning on a lot of quality time as a family. Offer up ONE evening to have dinner w/ them (or some other activity that you could endure w/o agony) but the rest of the time spend w/ just you and yours.

None of these is foolproof but worth a shot.

Good luck. Maybe they will all get sunburned and stay in their rooms the whole time. Or maybe they'll take an excursion tour and.......

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