I Love My Friend, But We Definitely Weren’t Compatible On Holiday

Choose your travelling companion wisely. Unless you fancy coming home short a best friend, with no money and a piss-soaked suitcase....


by Amelia Phillips |
Published on

There’s nothing like the feeling of returning from a two-week holiday, worn out, weary and full of resentment. So a word of caution: Choose your travelling companion wisely. That is, unless you fancy coming home short a best friend, with no money and a piss-soaked suitcase dragging at your heels.

With mild apprehension, I agreed to go away with my friend last year. J was a good time gal, we used to kick about on the weekends, but better friends of hers constantly grumbled that she was flakey with the rent. I used to tut along supportively. I’d recently come out of a stuffy relationship and needed to expel some recklessness, though. She mentioned she needed a break. As a prop, she’d do.

What I didn’t consider at the time is that holidays are an investment, aren’t they? You quadruple a normal fortnightly spend under the impression that you’re stocking up on contentment and it’ll be at least six months until the rot sets in again. J was not someone I would have chosen to invest with. She didn’t have the qualities of a good business partner. She didn’t have a passport, for one. She lost it years before with no thought to replace it. According to customs, she was barely a British citizen. I found myself sitting in Victoria at the passport office a week before our flight being tarred with the ineptitude brush. The holiday was doomed from the start.

Getting there was plainer sailing than I expected, probably because I did all the organising. Someone has to take the lead with these things. I’d rather do it all myself than proffer that position to someone else. I booked two weeks in Barcelona, some time in the city, some just outside. J couldn’t pay me until she’d been paid, which was after we got back. We had to get a taxi to the airport as we were flying at night, but J didn't have any cash on her.

We had to get a taxi to the airport as we were flying at night, but J didn't have any cash on her

We arrived in Barcelona and any financial niggles I harboured were brushed away, temporarily. It was hot and not London – perfect. But when we got into the apartment, J threw her things down in the best bedroom. It’s petty to care about these things and I rarely do, but I was currently paying for this entire flat. I’d paid to get her cheapskate arse here, the least she could do was take the mildly shitter room. I had to give myself a talking to and tell myself to stop being mental. I didn’t want to get to the point of totting up how many tea bags and slices of bread she’d consumed and how much that worked out at. Plus, she was technically paying half.

The first night was great, we had a whale of a time. I woke up in the morning full of vigour. A few minutes later, J came into my second-rate room and told me she’d lost her debit card. I made it clear that we needed to go to the bank to work out how we could get her some cash, she wasn’t getting anything from me. As we stepped outside the front door of our apartment, we caught sight of her card on the floor. Any relief was marred by the fact I’d now marked myself out as ruthless and stingy.

She kept posting sweaty pictures of me on Instagram – me sweating on the beach, me having just woken up, me eating tapas

The following week was OK, mostly good even, but I didn’t seem to be enjoying J’s company. I don't know if she was enjoying mine. I was bored and felt awkward. I found myself being short with her. She was annoying. She kept posting sweaty pictures of me on Instagram – me sweating on the beach, me having just woken up, me eating tapas. I was on holiday with David Attenborough. Those few moments of waking up without her were moments I treasured, not moments to make use of the free wifi and document my existence. I tried to sneak out and get breakfast alone sometimes, but she was hawkishly perceptive. That was the main thing – she didn’t let me have any alone time. I’m sure the annoyance would have subsided if I’d just been given an hour to myself each day. I found myself putting headphones in on the beach as a sort of ‘No Entry’ sign. I didn’t actually want to listen to music – I wanted to listen to the sound of the sea – but it was a small price to pay for enforced privacy.

Towards the end of the holiday, I did manage to get away for an afternoon as J was feeling a bit ill, thank fuck. It did me good. I was pleased to see her when I got back. We went out that night and managed to get hold of some pills, big jumbo ones. They were intimidating, they looked like they deserved respect. We went to a proper disco and had a chomp on these pills. I only took a bit, but J just gulped it down. Her eyes were like saucers and she was dripping in sweat. I spent the night looking after her, coordinating her footsteps, holding her hair back, rationing her water. It wasn’t the worst night of my life but, on holiday, I’d hoped for better. I woke up in the morning to find that she’d mistaken my suitcase for a toilet and pissed on it.

Relieved, exhausted, drained, I boarded the aeroplane. J was peppy, rejuvenated. She’d leached everything I had and left me a shrivelled up snail. It’s been over a year now and she still hasn’t paid me all she owes me. I don’t blame her, she didn’t really do anything wrong. It was my fault for agreeing to go away with her. Like when it comes to living with friends, sometimes you just aren't compatible as holiday friends. A few positives I took from that holiday were learning to appreciate my own company and relish the mundanity of my life at home. Oh, and to not lend money to people who don’t pay the rent.

Follow Amelia on Twitter @ameliaephillips

Picture: Ada Hamza

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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