“The holiday where my friendships fell apart”
“Being away from our real lives forced me to acknowledge things”
Tiny Greek islands were dotted between the waves like lost
fragments. As I sat back in my budgetairline plane seat, a sense of calm washed over me as I realised I’d finally made it. Three years of university had come to an end. Exams: done. Dissertation: submitted. Chapter: closed. I thought I’d made my friends for life, and the six of us were ready to celebrate our freedom together – complete with the odd bikini beach selfie.
We were a tight-knit
group, all with different personalities and from different backgrounds, but we fitted together perfectly, our group chat always the first port of call whenever anyone was in crisis.
Our friendship ran smoothly against the background of our busy lives in London, but crammed into a small villa, cracks began to show. Renting an Airbnb metres from the golden beaches of Chania, Crete’s second largest city, I wanted nothing more than to spend a week rolling out of bed straight onto the sand. But others had huffed at the choice of Chania’s sleepy old town over Malia’s wild nightlife. The tensions didn’t stop there. They ran into everything: who was sleeping where, which restaurant we’d eat at for dinner, who was leaving who out of a group photo.
Quickly, the differences in our personalities became too loud to ignore. Three of us wanted to go with the flow, sunbathing by day and browsing Chania’s Venetian harbour by night, while the others wanted to go gallivanting on day trips to the other side of the island. When we said we didn’t mind what we did, we’d get shouted at for not making a decision. Out on a boat trip, when we dithered about diving into the water, they felt like we weren’t joining in. When I asked simple questions about how much money we needed, I’d be met by responses calling me “dumb”. Of course there was fault on both sides – I definitely didn’t behave like my best self either. It all started to feel like a school trip that had gone wrong. In that moment, I realised this had happened in London, too. Being away from our real lives forced me to acknowledge something that should have been blatantly obvious: I didn’t like being put down, or the side these friendships had brought out in me.
Eventually, a would-be sophisticated dinner eating souvlaki by the Venetian harbour, waves crashing against the port, ended in two girls storming away from the table. I knew that things would never be the same after that.
Back home, after graduation, the two halves of our group were officially
severed. That trip had marked the end of one chapter, but I’d expected to bring all my friends into the next one. Now I’ve accepted that some friends are for a season or a reason. They don’t need to be for life, and that’s OK. No one is to blame. I’m now closer than ever to the girls I did stay friends with, and look forward to many more girls’ holidays in our future.