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Will had always been a gregarious and impulsive fellow—one of the reasons Maggie was attracted to him in the first place, but even she was taken aback that night when he suggested to his old high school friend, whom he hadn’t seen in several years, that they should all take a vacation together. Maggie had met this couple only once before.

Perhaps it was Will’s mellow mood, being back in his hometown and reliving all the old high school high jinks. Whatever was at work here, Maggie had her doubts about the proposed venture. Even after she and Will had traveled across two states home, the men continued to schedule the trip.

Will’s friend chose the destination so they could use his time share, a generous offer to be sure. But even though Maggie and Will contributed toward meals and entertainment costs, they felt they were not in an equal position so far as suggesting restaurants and shows.

The men spent companionable days on area golf courses. But it was clear that the women had no common interests. While Maggie would have preferred renting and riding bicycles and visiting the wildlife refuge, her companion chose to drive to nearby towns to frequent yarn and craft shops. And it was, after all, the other woman’s car they were using.

Maggie and Will returned home regretting that they had spent their vacation money on a trip almost wholly mapped out by others. However, it was a learning experience.

If a vacation with friends sounds appealing, be sure the people you choose are those with whom you won’t mind spending money and lots of time.

Make sure everyone is on board with the destination and gets to weigh in on what they would like to do. Stay away from the high-dollar locations and hotels. Should you feel you might want to include additional people, select a rental with more bedrooms. The extra folks can help defray housing expenses.

You don’t want to be saddled with spendthrifts or someone overly cheap. Know who is paying for what right up front, especially when splitting meal costs. Non-drinkers and those who don’t want appetizers or desserts should not be required to share that expense.

Plan together. Not everyone will want to participate in the same things, so leave spaces in your agenda for personal choices. If you know you’ll want some time for yourself, make those arrangements, purchase the tickets, and inform your friends before taking the trip that this is something you’ve been wanting to do. They’re less apt to be offended when that day comes, and they too might be glad to have some time to themselves.

If you and your friends have different ideas, negotiate. Be clear on how each of you envisions this vacation and be fair, knowing you both may have to give up something. If negotiations get stymied, you may want to back out of this trip.

Remember that too much togetherness can put a strain on all parties. Step outside if necessary and ask yourself if this issue is worth breaking up a friendship. A cool head can ward off confrontations.

The hope is that you come home eager to enjoy another friendcation.

Constance Watkins