Pitching In Gas Money

by admin on March 7, 2012

Recently, several of us were invited to a mutual friend’s birthday party. The party location was approximately 60 miles away. I told my husband I would be happy to stay sober to safely drive him home. A couple days before the party, another couple contacted me and asked if we could ride together. I said that since I’m already the designated driver, I didn’t have a problem driving more people. My car only seats two, which they know. On the day of the party, I hadn’t heard from them whether or not I could use one of their larger cars (I realize I should have simply come out and asked), so I borrowed an unrelated friend’s larger car. We go to the party and have a good time. Before making the hour and 10 minute drive back home, I tell them I’ll have to find a gas station. This elicits a whole conversation from them about the high price of gas, and how the borrowed car gets horrible gas mileage. Yet no one pitched in a couple of dollars.

While at first I thought that I should simply have asked for the money, they were the ones who brought up the gas prices while I was filling up the car. Clearly, they knew that gas costs a lot right now, and saw me putting gas into the car that gets poor mileage. I am curious as to why a simple $5 wasn’t forthcoming, yet for me to ask about it felt as if I were being too blunt at that point. To me, it’s like when I am invited to a friend’s house on a hot day, and after waiting around for 20 minutes or so, I have to ask for something to drink. I feel uncomfortable indirectly pointing out what a person should be doing. But perhaps I’m the rude one, since it’s not like people are able to read my mind and magically know what I expect.

I welcome your opinions! 0305-12

 

{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth March 7, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Yes, it would have been polite of your passengers to offer gas money, given their awareness of current high gas prices. But, you offered to drive when the discussion of riding together arose and to me, this implies your car is being used or at the least, you’re providing the car. Perhaps it would have been more clear if you’d said “I’m happy to drive but my car won’t fit us all – perhaps I drive your car?”

And I’m unsure of your age or circumstances, or those of your passengers. Offering gas money was something we did in high school and college but now in our 40s, doesn’t seem entirely appropriate but then again, when we ride with others or have passengers, these are close family/friends, which makes it even less appropriate to offer or expect.

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Joley H. March 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm

I feel that they were probably making an overture about helping out but you didn’t respond to it so they didn’t offer. People can’t read your mind and if you had asked politely, I’m sure they would have offered.

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Ashley 2 March 7, 2012 at 12:24 pm

I think you answered it yourself in those last couple of sentences xD It would have been really kind if your passengers offered to chip in for gas and in my opinion they should have. However, you’re absolutely right that no one can read your mind so you should have spoken up.

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Calli Arcale March 7, 2012 at 12:31 pm

My two cents:

A considerate ride-along on a long drive like this chips in for gas money. However, since no agreements were made early on, they can’t be held to it. Take it as a learning experience, and next time ask them up front if they’re willing to chip in for gas money and/or lend their car.

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chicka. March 7, 2012 at 12:40 pm

Ugh, I can’t stand it when people don’t offer to pitch in for gas money— especially when they made no arrangements and you’re driving them home when they’re drunk/tipsy. If it’s for less than an hour distances, I usually don’t accept offers for gas money if I’m driving, but if it’s an hour or more, I expect the other person to at least offer SOMETHING, even in the form of food or saying they’ll drive next time. It was rude for them to comment about the car being a gas guzzler, especially when they were getting a free ride.

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DogMom March 7, 2012 at 12:56 pm

While it would’ve been *nice* for them to offer gas money to help out, you didn’t make “help pay for gas” clear up front. You offered to take them. End of story.
If you had said in the initial discussion, “Hey, I’m already driving, I’d be happy to take you as well if you help pay for gas” then sure, they should pay. Otherwise, you’re essentially “hosting” their ride, and they are your “guests”, and as such, shouldn’t feel expected to pay. Again, if they HAD offered, it would’ve been nice, but not required, since that wasn’t part of the initial deal.

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G. March 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm

If you offered to drive them, I would think it would be implied that you would be covering all the costs of said drive. I’m not entirely sure if there are any rules surrounding this, but that’s just me personally. I’d put forth a few quid any way, but I wouldn’t think of it as a standard of etiquette.

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June March 7, 2012 at 1:12 pm

Yes, they should have tossed you five bucks when they were talking about the price of gas. Maybe you could have jokingly asked them at the gas station as part of the conversation: “Now that you mention it, could you two chip in a little so I won’t have to take on a second mortgage to pay for this?”
I can’t tell if you’re good friends with this couple or just acquaintances. Either way, it’s probably easiest to just ask if they’d mind chipping in when they asked for a ride.

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Elle March 7, 2012 at 2:24 pm

Ask.
“Hey, my car only seats two. Does anyone have a larger car we can use?”
“This is a lot of driving, can I get everyone to pitch in five bucks?”
Heck you could even go with: “Alright guys, ***, gas, or grass. No one rides for free.” (okay, this one is tacky so know your audience.)
This goes double after your friends have had a few and aren’t able to make logical connections as well as they can when they are sober.

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Angela March 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm

There are a lot of people out there who don’t respond to hints or cues but are more than happy to respond to direct requests. They just don’t get indirect messages. They also tend to think people will tell them what they need (to drive the larger car, gas money) and in the absence of such requests, that everything is OK.
“I hadn’t heard from them whether or not I could use one of their larger cars (I realize I should have simply come out and asked” If you didn’t ask, why did you expect to hear from them about using the car?

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Enna March 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Chalk this down to expirence OP: next time check now many people are going and arrange for fuel money before the acutal journey. That way everything is agreed in advance. If they don’t give the money then don’t give them a lift next time.

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Lynne March 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm

In this case, you borrowed a car with poor gas mileage exclusively for the purpose of giving them a ride, so unlike most similar situations when people ask for gas money, I have some sympathy for your point of view.

You definitely should have asked them whether one of their cars could be used — while they know you have a small car, not everyone “connects the pieces” all at once, when wondering whether something is possible.

If you really needed and wanted their contributions, the best time to bring it up would have been when they initially asked: “Sure, but only if we’re able to drive one of your cars, as ours seats two.” And then, having not heard back from them: “Are you still interested in my driving you down in one of your cars?”

Since you did end up borrowing a car, you might have communicated this, before driving down together, and mentioned that you would appreciate splitting the gas together — mentioning it at the pump does seem a little awkward.

However, if it were your original vehicle, and you had agreed to give them a ride, there is absolutely no reason to expect them to contribute gas: you were already planning to drive that distance, and expend a comparable amount of gas.

Doing someone a favor without being monetarily compensated is in no way akin to being a guest in someone’s home without being given a glass of water. A favor is a favor, not a business transaction.

For me, directly asking for money in most cases would taint the situation with unpleasantness — not because of the directness, but because of the idea that that is what “should” be done.

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Jenn50 March 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm

I guess, when everyone started talking about the high price of fuel, I would have good-naturedly commented “Yes, this is an expensive fuel-up. Donations to the chauffeur will be gratefully accepted!” Either that, or when they asked about catching a ride, you could have said “Good idea! That way, you won’t have to worry about drinking and driving, and we can split the fuel costs.”

Unless these folks have a pattern of mooching, I would write this off as a temporary lapse of good manners on their part. As the designated driver, were your passengers perhaps under the influence of alcohol, affecting their judgement? You admit that $5 would have satisfied you, and that seems like a paltry sum to get too steamed up over.

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Rashea March 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm

If you wanted gas money, why not ask? If you would have rather use their car, why not ask? While I am of the school that I pitch in even if someone else wasn’t already going there, I’m not afraid to ask if they don’t volunteer. But square it before you leave, so there aren’t any disagreements on the road.

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Alli March 7, 2012 at 4:10 pm

Offering gas money would have been a nice gesture on their part but if you didn’t make it an expectation in advance, you are out of luck. Next time a simple, “I would be happy to drive you, would you chip in on gas,” would work fine.

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German Shepherd March 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm

The next time a friend or friends ask for a ride, tell them you’ll need help paying for gas. Telling them ahead of time saves for an uncomfortable situation. If they can’t pitch in, then they need to drive themselves, ask another friend, or stay at home. No free rides!

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sv March 7, 2012 at 4:33 pm

Unless these were exceptionally close friends, I would not have bluntly asked for money. However, you are right – it’s amazing to me that they didn’t offer, especially since they brought it up!

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Casey March 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm

They certainly should have offered. You wouldn’t have had to drive the gas-guzzler if it wasn’t for them.

But I’m like you, I would have felt uncomfortable asking.

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nk March 7, 2012 at 5:20 pm

In situations like this, I find it’s helpful to establish the “rules” of the agreement before you actually set out on the trip. When they first asked to carpool with you, you could have said something along the lines of “Sure, if you wouldn’t mind chipping in a little for gas.” Then they can choose to either accept those terms and carpool with you, or find another way to get to the party. That way you won’t be in the situation of already driving them when you find out they’re unwilling to chip in; in my opinion, once the “rules” have been established (as they were when you agreed to drive them), it’s poor ettiquette for you to ask to change them. On the other hand, they showed equally poor ettiquette when they didn’t offer. I guess what you learned from this situation is that your friends are cheap and that they can’t be depended on to be polite when money is on the line.

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sweetonsno March 7, 2012 at 5:25 pm

I think it was rude for your friends to tacitly criticize your choice of car. However, I don’t think it was necessarily rude of them to not chip in for gas, as you did not let them know up front that you wanted/expected it. It’s not inconceivable that they thought you were agreeing to drive them as a favor, especially because you were not going too far out of your way. If that is the case, then it probably would not occur to them that you expected to be compensated.

It wouldn’t have been out of line for you to politely request that they kick in for gas. Asking for something isn’t rude unless you’re using a snarky tone of voice or some sort of backhanded wording. (Of course, it’s best to do this before you agree to drive them, but sometimes, we forget.)

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Spike March 7, 2012 at 5:30 pm

I agree and I think it’s rude not to offer to pitch in for gas, depending on the situation/relationship. Some may justify it as “well we were going the same way anyway” but if someone is saving you gas or transportation money by driving you, not to mention being your DD, then I think some reciprocity is in order. Besides, with other people in the car you have less space for luggage and cannot have a private conversation.

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Aje March 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Oh, sure… I don´t mind if we ride together. But would you mind helping me with the gas for the trip? I think it would only be about five dollars.

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Justine March 7, 2012 at 6:17 pm

While it would be nice if they would think that way (“I got a free ride there and back, so giving her $5 would be the right thing to do since I did not have to use my own car”) with some people, like my in-laws, you have to spell it out for them. Next time you need to say, “I would be happy to drive if everyone pitches in for gas since the prices have gone sky high. Can you afford $5?”

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dizzy March 7, 2012 at 6:40 pm

I think as soon as they asked you about driving you should have said something. If they knew you had a small car then they should have offered theirs.

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JenaR March 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm

Well, hindsight’s 20/20, and I would hope that if this happens again — perhaps particularly when someone is asking you for a ride — that you will be upfront by saying, “sure, as long as you can pitch in for the gas.” Goodness, I’ve never heard of anyone NOT offering. One can speculate that two things could have been happening: 1) the freeloaders assumed that since you were heading that direction anyway, you’d be paying for the gas anyway, so why offer? 2) they had too much to drink and just plain weren’t thinking. Since they didn’t offer the use of their own vehicle, I’m inclined to believe they were intentionally freeloading.

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Agania March 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm

As far as I’m concerned scrounging a lift so you can get drunk and disorderly means immediate petrol money. Even if it’s only $5. I think it’s too late now to ask for it after the fact, but next time you act as designated driver clearly state that a contribution is required and tell them what that amount is. If that is met with criticism then recind your offer of driving them and they can fork out for a taxi.

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vanessaga March 7, 2012 at 7:56 pm

It would have been nice for them to offer. I had this issue with friends who had a habit of coming over around dinner time, staying and then eating whatever I cooked/ordered without offering to pitch in. My husband and I solved that by suggesting we go out. Then we just get separate checks. I see completely where youre coming from: you don’t want to be forward but you sure wish other people were courteous. You just have to do what you can to politely get your way.

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Cat March 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm

The problem began when you agreed to drive without pointing out that your car would seat only two people. “I would be happy to be the driver, but, as you know, my car will only seat two people.”

That puts the ball back in their court. Then they would either offer to let you drive their much larger car or they would have to say they would ask someone else for a ride.

You created this situation for yourself by borrowing a gas guzzler into which you would have to put fuel. If they did not respond when you mentioned that your car would not allow you to take them, there would have been an awkward silence in which you could bean dip your way into another topic.

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Cori March 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm

When they asked if they could ride with you, you should have taken the opportunity to say “yes that would be great, would you mind pitching in some money as gas prices are so high”? Or you could have called them and said “since my car doesn’t get seat all of us, I have to borrow a car that can accommodate all of us, would you mind pitching in a little money so I can make sure I return the borrowed car with a full tank?” Maybe this would have prompted the couple to offer one of their cars but at least it got the gas money part out there…

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Danielle March 7, 2012 at 10:18 pm

On this occasion, I lay the blame on you, Letter Writer. First, while the couple may have known what kind of car you drive, these things do slip the mind. You should have said immediately when asked, “Sure I’d be happy to drive, but we’ll have to take your car, since ours is a two-seater.” Don’t just assume things. Also, it would not have been rude of you to ask that everyone split the travel expenses while in the planning stages of the trip, and that is what you should have done. It would have certainly been nice of your friends to offer when the time came, but people cannot read your mind. Next time, get all these details hashed out in advance so no one gets their feelings hurt.

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Onlyme March 7, 2012 at 10:53 pm

I think you kind of answered your own questions. I don’t think you were rude, but I do think you should have mentioned that your car seats two and asked aboutbtheirs upfront and straightened out gas money before leaving. You are correct people aren’t mind readers.
On the other hand I do think they were rude to state the car up were using was a guzzlers. They got what they wanted which was not to pay.

I also have a two seater and when going anywhere my friends and I discuss gas etc… Normally I don’t ask for gas money but my friends pay for parking, so for me if works out.

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Alyssa March 7, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Personally, I think you were the rude one. When you said that you would drive more people, you should have clarified that you would need a larger car and asked if you could use theirs. You shouldn’t have just assumed that they would offer the use of their vehicle because yours only seats two. Secondly, if you wanted money for gas you should have asked. I have a policy of not asking people for gas money unless agreed to before we get in the car. For short distances, I would never dream of asking for money – its my car and if I can’t afford gas then I shouldn’t be driving – but if it was a longer trip I might ask for gas money BEFORE we make final arrangements to go together and most certainly BEFORE I arrived at the gas station. You’re getting all upset when really, you should have just spoken up. Your friends can’t be expected to read your mind.

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OP March 8, 2012 at 9:41 am

Good morning, and thanks for so many people trying to help.

I noticed there are two distinct camps: One group doesn’t think they needed to pitch in since I didn’t ask, and other other is amazed they didn’t pitch in for a 120 mile round trip. In the future, I will endeavor to ask, if for no other reason than to clarify my expectations.

Also, had they paid for dinner or for parking, certainly I wouldn’t have thought a thing about gas money. I have many friends with whom I have this arrangement. Speaking of friendly arrangements, a couple of people were wondering why I borrowed an unrelated friend’s car. I didn’t realize my history with that unrelated friend was germane, but I have done many professional and personal favors for this person, and this person allows me to use the larger car sometimes in return, or pays for a dinner for DH and I. I return it with gas.

Yes, they absolutely know that my car has two seats. It is a distinct car, and both have seen it on multiple occasions.

A few things about this couple: They are friendly, nice people overall. However, because they have two little girls at home, when they get to go out, they feel entitled to a good time (I’m not sure I can blame them). In the past three years, they have never been the sober driver for us. One time, DH finally called the husband of the couple out on it – “hey, we’ve driven you the past two times, tonight it will be your turn.” The husband then said he’d rather stay home. So for those posters who suggested a trade-off, I don’t see that happening.

I fully realize that I should have asked to use their car the instant they invited themselves along. This was my mistake, and I mentioned that in the original story.

One person mentioned that since I was driving, I was the “hostess” and therefore am responsible for all associated costs. Even if they invited themselves? I thought this was less hostessing, and more agreeing to perform a service for friends (and I want to reiterate that I did/do not mind that they asked to ride with us). Since everyone passed out on the way home, maybe I was a very dull hostess.

I also want to apologize for overuse of the word “simple.” I cringed when I read my submission yesterday. Thanks again for your time.

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kjr March 8, 2012 at 9:43 am

You could ask a friend to borrow their car, but not one of the people who were actually the reason you needed the car in the first place? *Confused*

If you had asked the people you were giving a ride to use their car to fit them (since you were so generously driving them), putting gas into THEIR car would most likely have sparked the initiative to offer gas money in my experience.

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Magicdomino March 8, 2012 at 10:08 am

I drive a pick-up truck — technically there are two back seats in the extended cab, but they are hideously uncomfortable. So, if there are going to be more than two people going, I always point out that someone else will have to drive. If it is an unusually long trip, I offer to pay for gas, but usually my friends and I can alternate driving (Just not more than one friend at a time. :-) )

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Lisa Marie March 8, 2012 at 10:49 am

Hold the phone. OP said that they asked for a ride. She did not offer. They should have offered
to pay for gas from the get go. and $5.00 for a ride is pretty cheap.

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wowwow March 8, 2012 at 11:03 am

Well, you certainly got a lot of responses, too many to read through actually, so if this has been said, by all means ignore it!

If you were already doing the driving there, a couple of people jumping int he back seat shouldn’t have made an difference as to what you were already spending. Where I come from, we never ask–or offer–money for gas if the person was already going there.

But if you had to purposely get a different car other than your own, and become a chauffeur, that’s when you definitely speak up and make arrangements for pick up times, gas money, drop times, etc.

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Ann March 8, 2012 at 11:09 am

There is increasing evidence that the growth of a backbone correlates exactly with the decline in placing one’s self in awkward social situations.

OP didn’t simply include the caveat that she’d be pleased to be DD for more people, but they’d have to volunteer their car.

OP went to the great length to borrow a third-party’s vehicle to drive these people to a party.

OP didn’t speak up and include gas money contributions in the deal to be the DD.

No, she wasn’t “rude” for not speaking up. She was a doormat.

OP, it is RIGHT and OKAY to speak up for yourself. It prevents many awkward situations, prevents self-questioning after the fact, and prevents resentment on your part. After all, don’t you have better things to think about?

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Niamh84 March 8, 2012 at 12:19 pm

I agree with all those saying that you should have just said that your car only seats two and that you’d be happy to drive their car if they want a lift. I don’t agree about point blank asking for petrol money though, I think I’d feel a little awkward about doing that. The fact is that whether intentions about splitting costs or whose car is being used were made clear from the start or not, offering money for petrol would have been the polite thing for the other couple to do.

I know it’s not etiquette approved but I hate the dance of offering money and people being polite so in these situations I usually put the money in their glovebox while they’re filling the car up and then I text them afterwards saying something along the lines of “thanks so much for the lift, petrol money in your glovebox”. It may not seem right but I know most of my friends would feel awkward about asking for money.

Actually, also when there’s a few of us and we go away somewhere for a weekend, we usually pool money while the driver is filling up and then one of us goes in and pays so the driver doesn’t pay anything at all, as a thank you for driving. Once again, avoiding the awkward offers of money as you’ve already paid.

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2browneyes4 March 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I had a maddening situation myself. Friends from my hometown were attending a funeral near “Metropolis.” I now live in a suburb outside of Metropolis. Friend B called to say ask if she took the bus to Metropolis, would I pick her up and let her spend the night one night with me until Friend C (her relative) arrived and they would both stay with Friend D (who was actually in the process of moving to another city) until the funeral which was three days later. I said sure. I picked her up and, since she had a long bus ride, stopped at a restaurant so we could eat dinner (actually, I stopped at 2 restaurants but she did not want to wait to be seated at the first restaurant). When the dinner check came, she asked what was the amount so that she could pay half. I told her I would cover the bill (after all, I was so happy to see her), and she thanked me.

The next day, I was supposed to take her to Friend D’s house after Friend D picked up Friend C. I told Friend B that I had brought work home to do over the weekend since I was behind and after I dropped her off, I’d be very busy for the rest of the weekend. Well, Friend C called from the airport to say that Friend D was held up and would be at least another hour before she could pick her up. I volunteered to pick up Friend C from the airport. Of course, after her flight, she was hungry too. We went to another restaurant and we each paid for our own meal. They never offered to treat me for the inconvenience. Friend C asked if I could take her to Walmart so she could get some toiletries. No problem. Then, they wanted me to take them to the grieving family’s house (in a different Metropolis suburb 45 minutes away) where they would finally meet up with Friend D. I stopped to get gas and was not offered a cent. We got to the family’s house around 3 p.m. and I sat down to greet some other arriving family members. It soon becomes clear that Friend D is probably not going to make it. So they ask if they can stay with me that night as well. No problem. However, time passes and it is soon after 11 p.m. and we are still at the grieving family’s house. I kept throwing hints like “Wow! It’s already after 11 o’clock! I had no idea it was so late!” And they looked and nodded their heads and said “it sure is.” Friend C went into another room to “say goodbye” and half an hour later she had not returned. I went to look for her, touched her on her arm and said “are you ready? It’s after 11:30.” She said “are you almost ready to go? Okay, I’m coming.” To summarize that portion, we didn’t get back to my house until 2 a.m. When we got to my house, I explained to them again that I had a lot of work to do and I asked them what time they would be getting up (I knew they were late sleepers) so I could take them back to the family’s house. They said “don’t wake us up before noon.”

Well, I got up the next day and did everything I needed to do so that when I did drop them off, I’d be prepared to work the rest of the night. They did not get their showers until 2 p.m. I overheard one of them talking to Friend D who was on her way to the family’s house. I told them repeatedly, “Tell D that since she has to pass through my suburb on her way to the family’s house, she may as well stop and pick you guys up.” It fell on deaf ears. I was starting to lose my patience, especially since if D had picked them up, that would have saved me an hour and a half of driving (45 mins. each way). In fact, while Friend B was getting showered, Friend C asked if I could take her to a convenience store and a fast food restaurant. She paid for my coffee at the convenience store.

So finally, at 4 p.m., we set out to the family’s home again. I pull up front and leave the motor running while I put their suitcases on the curb. Friend B said “you HAVE to come in and see Friend D!” I told her it was already late and I had a lot of work to do at home. “But you haven’t seen her in so long!” was the reply. I told her that I couldn’t. She shouted “you can come in for a minute to say hello!” I said “Fine” and ran in, hugged Friend D, waved at the rest of the family and ran out. It was 6 p.m. when I got home and I was up until 2:45 a.m. trying to get just enough work done to be able to finish my project later that week.

I picked them up from the bus station, picked them up from the airport, drove them to restaurants, and drove them twice to the family home, and they only saw fit to treat me to a cup of coffee for the inconvenience. In addition, I repeatedly mentioned how much work I had to do and they lingered in bed, etc., until I was not rid of them until 6 p.m. I was steaming!

A couple months later, Friend B called to “see how I was doing” and to ask how far was such and such hospital from me, since another friend of hers was there. I told her how far. I also mentioned (truthfully so) that since there were ongoing renovations on the level that my bedroom was on, I was sleeping in my guest room. I guess she got the hint that there would be no room for her.

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Xtina March 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

To point out to everyone–some have commented that the OP should have asked to use their car–she *did* ask, and they never got back to her about it/ignored her request. I think that smacks of “something’s up” right there; they must have not wanted to drive their cars, and wanted a free ride. It sounds like the OP was presuming that surely they’d agree to have her drive their car, which his probably why she told them “yes” without working out the car situation upfront and/or collecting gas money. They left her in a lurch to get another car AND provide the gas.

I bet next time, she works out all the logistics on the spot!

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Elizabeth March 9, 2012 at 9:19 am

Niamh84, I’m unsure if putting money in the glove box is somewhat passive aggressive but goodness, don’t go into my glove box – do you open cabinents in the bathroom when visiting friends, too? Either ask to contribute or do not – do not help yourself to personal areas of the vehicle.

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Rainey March 9, 2012 at 11:00 am

I’m a freshman in college, and I agree that they should have offered to chip in or do something in return. You still feel obligated to entertain them during the car ride despite that you were already going and having to pay gas. Specially because you have to pick them up/take them home etc. I actually had a situation where five of us were in a car to Florida, and the driver ( a girl) had her boyfriend call us beforehand and say that even though we were all chipping in, she shouldn’t have to pay anything because she’s driving (which he ended up driving for her while she sat in the passenger seat). So, I had to pay extra money for the girl who I was taking on my step dad’s fishing boat, a boat that costs $300 a person to rent.

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Another Laura March 9, 2012 at 1:24 pm

@Xtina, no, she *didn’t* ask.
“I hadn’t heard from them whether or not I could use one of their larger cars (I realize I should have simply come out and asked)”
She hoped they would offer.

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sallyann March 11, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I don’t generally have much patience for people who get upset about things without giving others the opportunity to fix it. People are not always thinking about the same things that you are, they can be busy or distracted, or make mistakes. If you have a problem, let people know.

I can see people not offering gas money if they thought that they’d be ‘paying you back’ by returning the favor at some point, and driving you somewhere, or perhaps they didn’t have cash on them. If gas money matters to you, ideally mention it before people get in your car.

I really don’t get the passive waiting for them to offer their car thing. What if it slipped their minds that your car was too small? Its obvious to you because its your car, but they might not have been thinking about it. Why didn’t you mention it when they asked to get a ride?

As far as the ‘drink on a hot day’ thing : of course in an ideal world your hostess should offer, but if they forget its much better to ask than suffer in silence!

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Mabel March 11, 2012 at 7:20 pm

I think it’s polite to make the offer to help pay for gas, always. That’s what I was taught. I offered it when people drove me to and from work, even though it was only a short drive, when my car was messed up. People always turned me down, but good grief, I know how expensive gas can be. If they’re going out of their way to drive me the least I can do is ask them if they need me to pitch in.

When I was in college and we went on road trips, it was expected that you would throw in gas money. I still offer when my boyfriend and I go places, and he does for me, although neither one of us lets the other do it.

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Katie March 12, 2012 at 5:33 am

I agree with Gramma Dishes.

If you don’t like to refuse outright, I’d just say ‘Would love to, but as you know, our car is only a 2-seater and we haven’t yet finalised our arrangements yet’. Then if they persist, I’d be evasive about times, etc (‘We have to fit in around X thing, and we really can’t say what time we’ll be able to leave’).

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Niamh84 March 13, 2012 at 4:25 am

@Elizabeth. Oh yeah I guess you’re right. I’d never really thought of the glovebox of a car as somewhere people would store personal things, I’ve never looked really, just tend to pop the money in but yeah point taken, I hadn’t thought about it like that and so I won’t do it again.

I don’t know how my actions could be interpreted as passive aggressive though? I’m only trying to be nice and help out while avoiding an awkward situation. Passive aggressive would imply that my intent is to be nasty.

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Merriweather March 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

I think the key is to remember that what seems obvious to one person may not be obvious to someone else.
It never hurts to simply state all information up front, even what to you seems obvious. My husband has a habit of giving a minimal amount of information- he feels if he’s ever told someone something, then there’s no need to repeat it, or that if he draws a conclusion from certain facts, everyone else will draw the same conclusion. I, on the other hand, tend to always state the obvious no matter what. It’s funny how anything of the least bit ambigous nature seems to go more smoothly when handled by me.
You state you only have a two-seater car, and that they know that – but perhaps they don’t recall what car each person they know has, or perhaps they assume your husband has a car you will use, as most couples tend to have two cars nowadays. A simple “Remember, I only have one car and it just seats two, I’d be happy to give you a lift if we could use your car, and I’ll chip in on gas” in the very beginning would have made things perfectly clear to everyone.

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Desiree April 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm

Anytime I’ve done ride-sharing, it’s assumed that we will be splitting the gas costs. Usually I will fill up on the way there, and they will fill up on the way home. I thought that was just common courtesy, or even common sense. Who expects to get a ride somewhere that far away for free?!

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