A while ago I wrote about planning a group day trip and some of the dynamics that come along with dealing with multiple people. I have no issues traveling with groups as it can be fun to get to know different people from varying backgrounds. Everyone thinks so differently yet all meet on a specific trip which peaked their interest the same way it did mine.
When you travel with a group there may be issues. You may be faced with very different challenges that make you uncomfortable. When those challenges present themselves there are several ways to handle them and I want to share with you how I handled my unfortunate situation last week in India.
I recently returned from India with a group of almost 30 people. I had a FABULOUS time. However, there was one incident I stumbled upon that completely surprised me. I heard a small group of people saying nasty things about me behind closed doors. Literally. Let me explain.
On the next to the last night of this week trip there was a group of people in my room and we had wonderful conversations. There were many very personal things shared and guards were all the way down. It was nice. The group left my room after a few hours and I thought everyone had gone to bed. I opened my door because I heard some voices down the hall and it turned out to be a few of the same people that were in my room. Cool!
I went to knock on the door to join in on the conversation because just a few minutes before (ok maybe 30 minutes before) we were all sharing feelings in my room. As I raised my hand to knock on the door I heard the voices talking about me. Huh? I was perplexed and put my ear a bit closer to the door (but I didn’t have to strain, they were talking very loudly) and heard a whole bunch of things about me that weren’t true. Wow. What would you have done?
I just stood there with my hand ready to knock and listened to the words coming out of the mouths of these 5 adults. The adults who were just in my room, these people who had been so kind to me all week. These people who had shown me kindness in little ways. We didn’t know each other before the trip yet I was pleasantly surprised that everyone seemed genuine. I didn’t think we all would become friends but I had no problem being friendly with them.
I did actually knock on the door. The room went silent and when it opened I made sure to look at everyone then I took the bottle of vodka I had in my hand, put it on the table and said, “This was left in my room. I thought you guys might like to finish this off. Goodnight.” I didn’t confront them but I’m sure they knew that I knew what they were saying and that was enough for me.
It is imperative to keep your cool even when you have every right to go ballistic on those that are acting foolish. You reacting to their immaturity will only bring the group down to a troll like level that won’t benefit anyone. When you travel in groups you may sometimes come across people that do not have the same level of commitment to maturity the you do and that’s ok.
When I heard the nasty and untrue things they were saying behind that closed door I knew what they were saying was false. A part of me wanted to open the door and say, “Hey idiots! What the hell? Why are you talking about me like that? Seriously? You are all grown and should know better and I’m not what you are saying!” But then what would that have accomplished? Their comments were no reflection of who I was and said everything about who they were.
So if you are in a group and you hear unkind things being said about you or a few have formed opinions about you based on their own suppositions, remember you have choices. I was in India having a phenomenal time and I refused to let the opinions of people I had never set eyes on before that week change my mood or my trip.
When people act up in a group you have to rise above their pedantic behavior and take the high road. You must. Think about the following before you decide to react:
1. If I confront the person/people will this resolve the situation or make it worse?
2. Is what is being said/done harmful to me in any way?
3. Is my need to confront fueled by my ego?
4. If I choose to confront, how will it effect everyone else in the group?
5. If I confront those involved and it changes the group dynamic, will I be ok with the fact that I am responsible for the uncomfortableness?
Walking away and not saying anything isn’t easy but it’s sometimes the best choice. You have to think about more than just yourself when you travel in a group. No one in the group wants to be around people that are tense, it’s not fair to them and it completely changes the positive dynamic of a group.
At the last meal together everyone was standing up one by one talking about the things they most appreciated about the trip. A few of those that were talking about me mentioned how they were so happy to be around such supportive women and how they loved to empower women blah blah blah. I really wanted to raise my hand and say, “So was that empowering speech you were saying last night when you were spreading lies about me behind closed doors?” But what would that have done? That would have IMMEDIATELY changed the happy vibe at the table and while it may have been a great ‘made for reality TV’ moment it wouldn’t have done anything but cause drama. So I pierced my lips, said a prayer and said nothing. Phew!
When I worked as a Tour Manager I had to deal with shattered group dynamics because of bad passenger behavior and on this trip I was the victim of nasty and spiteful gossip that was based on half truths and innuendo. From either side it isn’t fun yet it can be handled in a variety of ways. On this trip as was a passenger I decided to take the high road and not confront the 5 people that were in the room saying nasty things about me. Was it easy? Nope. But it was the right thing to do.