QUESTION

Hi,

I have two co-workers that I consider friends. One of them (Friend A) is a lot closer to me than my other friend (friend B). I've been friends with A since 2008; B started to work with us in 2009. Things were going well until recently I sensed that friend A is really tight with B and vice versa. I'm not sure if I'm really sensitive but sometimes I feel left out. 

Also, I will be going on a 3-week trip to Europe with them next month. Seems like nothing gets done. Friend B will tell me one thing and tell Friend A a different thing. I'm getting very frustrated, not just about planning this trip but about our friendship, too. Now I'm not sure if I should distance myself with them after the trip or keep things the way they are.

Thanks
Crystal

ANSWER

Dear Crystal.

This is a complicated situation. Since you work with both friends, I think your primary goal should be to preserve a good working relationship with them. 

As co-workers, you are under no obligation to always get together socially as a threesome. These two friends can have a relationship with each other apart from the one they have with you. Similarly, you can also choose to get together with one friend, the other, or both. You don't need to distance yourself socially unless you sense that your colleagues/friends want you to back off. 

In terms of the trip, you will be traveling like three peas in a pod. Therefore, planning and discussion prior to the trip can help ward off any unnecessary misunderstandings or disappointments. Since planning for the trip has been either vague or haphazard until now, it could be worthwhile for you to ask to meet together to discuss and firm up your travel plans.

You should explicitly discuss such issues as: 

  • Sleeping and eating arrangements
  • How costs will be shared/divided
  • Your itinerary for the trip
  • People's expectations about whether you will be spending all your time together or whether some activities will take place independently

I suspect that the time you spend traveling might alter friendships or allegiances but discussing these issues beforehand should improve the odds of the trip going smoothly and the likelihood of you returning with these relationships intact. 

If you feel very uncomfortable when the three of you are together, you may want to reconsider your travel plans. 

Hope this helps. 

Best,

Irene

Other posts about traveling with friends:

About the Author

Irene S. Levine, Ph.D.

Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., is a psychologist and professor of psychiatry at the NYU School of Medicine. Her latest book is Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup With Your Best Friend.

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