Help! I've come back from holiday and I hate my friends

When the trip makes it out of the group chat ... but goes horribly wrong ( )
When the trip makes it out of the group chat ... but goes horribly wrong ( )

Dear Lily, I’ve returned from holiday with friends and realised I don’t like them. What do I do? I don’t want to be a loner.

Holidays bring up a lot — just as an outing to Ikea can shatter the strongest relationship, a trip away can destroy a friendship in the time it takes to text: ‘When shall we meet at Luton?’ Aside from the ‘pinch points’ — delayed flights, getting lost when everyone’s hangry — and the day-to-day annoyances (why do some friends take hours to get ready!?), compatibility is key — a cocktails-at-9am flex will probably clash with an early morning yoga one.

You’re experiencing a particularly harsh post-holiday comedown, but all is not lost. Don’t write off your friends yet, and if you do need to, it’ll be okay. First, take time away from those pals. Blame your absence on work, then mute the WhatsApp group and prioritise other relationships (including with yourself) while the dust settles. In a few weeks, check whether your emotions still feel as strong, or if they’ve faded as quickly as your tan.

Second, delve into what led you to feel put off. Did one person’s mood ruin the whole vibe? Do you and your uni friends — once aligned — now have wildly different ideas of a good time? Or was the chat actually inexcusably dull and to top it off, they were rude to the waiters? Third, make a list of their good qualities — there must be some reason you were friends before it all went Pete Tong? A close bond based on bi-monthly pub sessions won’t always translate to a week sightseeing; it doesn’t mean the friendship is over. Finally, with that in mind, ease yourself back in. Meet with one friend from the group, do something tried-and-tested — pub, walk, cinema, etc. See how that goes. Try it with another and so on… You may find you’re able to recover the friendships, only on slightly different ground.

If, after all that, you realise your friends are just as intolerable as you thought, this city’s full of opportunities to meet new ones. Life’s too short to be around people you don’t like, so search out your people. Just maybe think twice before booking your next holiday with them…