Q: I recently traveled with a woman who has been one of my best friends for eight years. On the trip, we barely spoke because she hooked up with a guy on our tour the first day and spent the rest of the tour with him.
This wouldn't have bothered me so much if I hadn't left my serious boyfriend behind because she has expressed for years how uncomfortable she is around couples. I also spent a lot of money for a "girls' trip" with her.
I've spoken to her about it three times since, and her reaction has just made me feel worse. She has said several times that she "didn't even think about" how her actions could've made me feel. Her defense has been "Well, you were getting along with the other people on the tour, so it's not like you were alone with nobody to talk to." I was already feeling hurt and ignored, but her not even thinking about my feelings when I had taken active steps to be considerate of hers makes me feel that she's a bit selfish.
Is there anything you can suggest to help mend the fence?
Conflicted on Friendship
A: There are a few possible answers here — that her ditching you sans apology of course will affect your friendship; that her longtime romantic self-doubt gave her a forgivable blind spot; that if you value the eight years, you write off the one trip; I could go on.
But the answer I keep coming back to starts with a question: Why talk since the trip versus during? And why three times versus resolving this in one pass?
And thus my answer, that the main (aptly, unspoken) theme of your story is lousy communication. You apparently stayed mum on the trip, and later weren't clear about wanting her to acknowledge your feelings — and she, for her part, didn't ever ask, "Hey, do you mind?" on the tour, and since then has been only defensive.
So communicate now, and keep it simple: I'm your friend, I'm still upset, I'd just like that acknowledged. Dukes down.