Group Travel: Dealing With Uncomfortable Situations

by Roni

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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.

 

Have you ever been in an uncomfortable situation while traveling with a group? How did you handle it? 

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22 comments

Josselyne March 18, 2015 - 8:57 am

Wow! that must have hurt. I would have handled it differently. I would have confronted them, once I had calmed down..and I would have done it privately and one-on-one. My reasoning? To let them know that this is not acceptable behavior and that it hurt me as a person. Some people just don’t know. It would have hurt my insides to return home in silence. I have done it so much in my past where it becomes a thing of forgiveness. But the main question is, in your case, are these people friends and family? Will I see them again? Do they make great impact in my life? If no, then yeah..I would keep it moving, but if yes… then I would say something. Sorry this happened. But glad you had a great trip otherwise

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Roni March 18, 2015 - 12:57 pm

no, it absolutely did not hurt because I don’t give the power to hurt away to strangers. These people were not my friends, I didn’t know them at all so the opinions of people that aren’t part of my life can’t possibly hurt me. Confronting them wouldn’t have done anything at all but cause strife so I let it go. Thanks so much for reading!

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LaShawn March 18, 2015 - 9:23 am

oh wow, you really took the high road! I don’t know if I would have been able to do it! But i’m glad you enjoyed your trip! Especially since it was India!

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Roni March 18, 2015 - 12:55 pm

Yeah it just wasn’t worth the energy. Thanks for reading!

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Holly March 18, 2015 - 11:09 am

I am sorry you had to deal with that. Especially when the group you were with was supposed to be empowering travel. Unfortunately I am not too surprised. I am glad you decided not to let that spoil your trip. You will probably never lay eyes on them again either. I have never been in this type of situation while traveling because I go with people I know and want to be around. Not sure how talking crap was making their trip better. Ridiculous! I am upset by this! I have however traveled with a group of friends were one was just going left while everyone was going right, but we just played jokes on him.

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Roni March 18, 2015 - 12:54 pm

I may see them again briefly but there will be no reason for me to be mean. I will smile and keep it moving. Hanging on to negative energy causes wrinkles 🙂

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Kasi March 18, 2015 - 2:21 pm

Oh wow! Sorry you had to be in that situation, but I think you handled it very well! You gave great advice for other people who may be in that situation in the future. If that ever happened to me, I probably wouldn’t say anything either, but I would give people that look, like ‘I know what you said”, lol. I definitely would have needed prayer when they were going around the table on the last day as well.

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Roni March 18, 2015 - 2:24 pm

Girl I was biting my lip and praying at the same time! I had to make sure I didn’t roll my eyes.

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Kim March 18, 2015 - 2:58 pm

These are such great tips to consider before traveling with others.

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Roni March 18, 2015 - 2:59 pm

Thank you!

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nadeen March 18, 2015 - 7:46 pm

Good for you for taking the high road. I know it must not have been easy and I am sure hurtful to have that happen. But you are right-if these were not your close friends that you may never see again what would that accomplish? Enjoying a once in a lifetime experience is way more important!

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Roni March 18, 2015 - 9:43 pm

Not hurtful at all. I only give the power to hurt to those who have opinions that matter in my life and these people were strangers to me. So I was absolutely not hurt but I was completely surprised especially after the deep conversations we had just had. Thanks for commenting!

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MJ March 18, 2015 - 8:46 pm

That’s a horrible situation to be in. Honestly I would have knocked, entered and opened up the discussion. That’s such a shame you had to deal with that but I commend you on your reaction.

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Roni March 18, 2015 - 9:44 pm

There are so many ways that situation could have been played out! Thank you, not saying anything came from years of bible training and Holy Spirit!

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Cassandra March 19, 2015 - 7:42 am

Lol MJ! Ha! Girl, me too I might not have taken the complete low road but I definitely would have taken the road that would have been clear to anyone who talking trash. But Roni did the right thing. Whew, I just can’t stand when people do things like that.

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LaShon March 18, 2015 - 11:00 pm

HOw crazy. I can’t imagine how I would have handled it but I definitely would have been ticked off.

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Patrice M Foster March 19, 2015 - 1:37 am

Yes, you did handle this situation well. I don’t let people get to me. I laugh at them and ignore politely of course. Great blog post. Thank you.

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Cassandra March 19, 2015 - 7:39 am

Whoa! People can be so weird. I’ve definoyely had uncomfortable travel experiences with groups. I’m always amazed at the group dynamics and groupthink that sometimes occurs. Thanks for sharing your advice Roni. I just imagined myself taking the middle road lol, I probably would have giving them the business BUT as you said, no need in wasting precious energy or show immaturity in a situation like that.

However, I do feel that in some cases things should be addressed so that people are reminded of how their actions can be inappropriate or potentially hurtful to others.

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Jaye March 19, 2015 - 12:54 pm

Bravo to you because WOW I can not with fake and cattiness. But since I travel solo for the most part I have not experienced this.

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Roni March 19, 2015 - 1:33 pm

It was a first for me! Definitely shocking. Thanks for commenting!

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Mellenny March 26, 2015 - 10:10 am

I think that what you’ve done speaks highly of you as a woman and what your morals really are. Said a prayer! Awesome.!!! Most people forget their spirituality and dig where it hurts. May blessings be upon you, the BIGGER WOMAN!

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Mellenny March 26, 2015 - 10:10 am

I think that what you’ve done speaks highly of you as a woman and what your morals really are. Said a prayer! Awesome.!!! Most people forget their spirituality and dig where it hurts. May blessings be upon you, the BIGGER WOMAN!

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