Several years ago, my mother’s husband passed away. This happened just months after her mother had passed as well, so it was an especially difficult time for her. “N”, a girl I was friends with, said that she would attend the funeral to show support for my family. N had always exhibited bizarre self-centered behavior at times over the years, and this funeral was no exception. After the funeral, everyone got in their cars to head to the cemetery which was 20 minutes away. N, who had driven to the church on her own, asked us if she could ride in our car to the site. We said OK because we didn’t want to cause a scene, but I was shocked that she would want to “bum a ride” with us as if we were all heading to a kegger. We were grieving, and should have had time alone together, but instead had to chat with her in the car and put on a good face. After the burial, she once again rode with us to the brunch reception my mother had organized at a restaurant another 20 minutes away. Only an hour into the brunch, N decided that she wanted to go back to her car to head home. So my brother had to leave my mother’s side to drive her all the way back to get her car, which ended up being over an hour round-trip. By the time he got back, everyone had gone and my mother and I had to sit there waiting for him to come back from shuttling her door-to-door. The best part though, is that before she left the restaurant, N went over to the buffet my mother had paid for and wrapped up food to bring home to her boyfriend.
It’s times like when it is appropriate to use the phrase, “I’m sorry. We cannot accommodate that request.”