Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Ask Ellie: Be open about costs before booking group trip

The birthday girl should have asked you if it was too extravagant a plan for your budget, and changed to a different locale if so

Dear Ellie: My friend is turning 40 in a couple of months. She’s been talking for two years about celebrating enthusiastically with four of us who’ve been her long-time besties.

Her dream trip is for us all to go to a spa at a resort somewhere that’s a single plane ride away. Since we’re all late-30s to mid-40s working moms, everyone was keen for the event, i.e., whenever COVID-19 and its variants allow us to do so safely.

I said way back that I’d look into which spa has the best location/atmosphere for the five of us. One of the women and I discovered a great choice.

Then, just last month, another of our friends said she and the future “birthday girl” had already booked their chosen spot!

No one had told me where that spa was, or what plans had already been made. I was very hurt! I couldn’t help wondering if, knowing each other so well, someone had decided for me that the choice was too expensive.

I say this because I’m the only one who works part-time only, and also has four children. But shouldn’t my close friends talk to me first?

Since hearing that plans were already made, one of the friends has learned she’s pregnant, and won’t be able to attend on the planned late-spring booking date.

She’s already paid for her room ahead (with a no-cancellation rule, due to the spa’s popularity), so has offered it to me. The truth is, I really couldn’t afford their choice otherwise.

The excitement had all been chatter and fun. Now I don’t know whether to go and enjoy (if and when the trip actually happens) or remain hurt that I was purposefully kept out of the loop.

From Hope to Hurt

While your close friends may have tried to be thoughtful about your budget circumstances, they also blundered by keeping you out of the loop as plans got firmed up, without you being told.

Meanwhile, you’re all mature adults, can speak up when it’s needed, and have maintained good communication with each other in the past.

There was no overt need for your friends — or you — to act differently about hopeful post-Covid plans. When the time comes that we finally hear that the pandemic has been contained enough, everyone will want to celebrate with friends, family, whomever.

The birthday girl herself should have simply asked you if it was too extravagant a plan for your budget, and changed to a different locale if so.

That’s what close friends do, unless there’s someone like the pregnant pal who offered to help you attend.

If this getaway actually happens, I say go and enjoy.

Reader’s commentary regarding the young woman who’d suffered sexual abuse in her teenage years, and still feels the effects (Dec. 22):

“Every company needs to have policies that minimize the risk of harassment to their employees and customers.

“No visiting boss ought to be inviting an employee into their hotel room for a private meeting. Such a situation is fraught with peril, putting the employer at risk of being sued and/or charged with sexual crimes.

“Worse, it’s a situation that puts any employee at high risk of being harassed and/or abused.

“Companies can create policies mandating that more public venues be used when out-of-town travel is necessary for business. These policies need to pertain to everyone, including the top brass.

“So, any person who owns a company should beef up their abuse and harassment policies immediately!”

Feedback regarding the man’s personal dilemma considering whether to write his wife’s estranged parents to try to repair the family relationship for her sake and that of their three adult children (Dec. 21):

“From a mediator’s perspective: Karl Pillemer’s book Fault Lines is an extensive discussion on family estrangement.

“After having read the book, I think he might say that this man could reach out to his wife’s family though they’ve cut off all ties. Since his own actions triggered an estrangement, a well-written letter might help end the estrangement.

“However, I’d suggest that he contact a therapist to help craft that letter/note. A therapist could help with appropriate language.

“And also help determine if an approach would be appropriate at all, depending on the crime that he committed, for which he spent almost three years in jail — a crime that he personally describes as “heinous.”

Ellie’s tip of the day

Close friends with differing personal situations should discuss ahead any potential conflicts over a group plan.

Send relationship questions to [email protected].