February 8, 2013 in Features

Offer fifth wheel alternative to trip

Washington Post
 

Dear Carolyn:

My best friend lives about six hours away, and we get together a couple times a year, either with kids or without. There is one weekend in particular that I visit and we participate in a road race together.

Last year, a mutual friend found out about my upcoming trip and said, “That sounds like fun! I think I’ll join you!” The trip was OK, but I missed being able to truly catch up with my friend and the fifth wheel started to get on both our nerves.

The annual trip is now fast approaching, and the mutual friend keeps bringing it up, assuming she is invited. I have been noncommittal about going. My inclination is to tell a white lie and say I’m not going, but I fear she would find out (we work together) and that would be so hurtful.

I have a feeling you are going to advise me to be direct, but how do you tell someone you don’t want them to intrude on your weekend getaway? – Running From Fifth Wheel

You offer them something you would like to share instead, that’s how. You explain to her that, dorky as it sounds, this trip is a special and long-standing tradition and you and the other friend share, “but let’s (blank) instead.” Think carefully before you fill in that blank, because the whole thing hinges on the sincerity of that offer.

Will it be a blissfully non-awkward conversation? I wish. All you can hope for is a forthright exchange between adults who can handle a little awkwardness. If that sounds more awful than it’s worth, then keep in mind that the “white lie” alternative – whopper is more like it – is not a legitimate one. You either own your preference or make room for three.

Email Carolyn at tellme@washpost.com.


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