Author Topic: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car. Update #41  (Read 8451 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Adelaide

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 938
I've recently made friends in my student apartment complex and they've all discovered that I have a car. Because of this, I've found myself giving more rides to people than I'm used to. My room mate has asked for rides a few times and I've always said yes, but I'm becoming more aware of the fact that I'm expending my time, energy, and gas money to get her to places like work and grocery shopping. (This has happened about 5 times total). I don't want to be taken advantage of, but at the same time I have mentalities that lean toward selfish and I'm trying not to look through the prism of my own "me me me" tendencies.

Today, she texted me and asked me to pick her up from work because she was going to get off 10 minutes after the last bus ran. She works about 5 miles away from where I work. I am supposed to be on duty tonight, which means that I have a pager with me and am not supposed to leave the building. My room mate asked me to leave the on-call pager with a coworker and pick her up, because there were no buses running when she got off. I told her that I wouldn't feel comfortable pushing off my work on a coworker (though it doesn't matter who has the pager as long as someone in the building does). My room mate said that she would ask to get off 10 minutes earlier to make the bus. The real reason is that I don't feel like acting as a taxi service, and I'm trying to curb the instinct of "I don't have a ride so I'll just ask Adelaide".

My room mate said that she would get off 10 minutes earlier from work. I believe that I am technically in the right: She should have planned her schedule around the bus route, but I am afraid that by turning her down I seem petty. What does e-hell think? What are some phrases I can use (that aren't as stiff and formal as "I'm afraid that won't be possible") to say "no" when people ask me for rides? Most of the time it's just because it's inconvenient for me: I'm tired, its raining, or I don't feel like driving. In my mind, it would be *kind* to give people a ride, but not *impolite* to refuse to.

Another problem is asking for gas money. If I continue to drive people places, I would feel the need to ask for it, but at the same time I feel like if I do, they'll start expecting rides out of me. Like "I paid you X dollars, so I feel okay asking you for rides at all hours/days of the week. Has anyone had similar experiences? Does it make me look petty when I turn people down? (I apologize if this topic has been hashed out before.)
« Last Edit: June 21, 2013, 11:39:49 PM by Adelaide »

PastryGoddess

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4656
    • My Image Portfolio and Store
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 04:16:31 PM »
You need to start saying no.  The reason you are feeling used, it because you are being used.  If you didn't have a car, your friends would have to find another way to get what they want.  And remember, they will find another way if they have to.

You absolutely need to start asking for gas money upfront.  Asking for gas money does not give your friends the right to treat you as their chauffer.

For the situation with your roommate, it's your car, and you have the right to decide what you want to do with it.  if you don't want to give someone a ride, you don't have to.  Stop JADEing.  It gives people the idea that they have the right to tell you what to do.

You don't enforce your boundaries by telling people about them, you simply live your boundaries and people will have to deal

kckgirl

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2897
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 04:25:00 PM »
You don't have to give rides just because you have a car. Asking you to leave your job to accommodate her is asking way too much. It is not petty to say no because you have to work. Don't say you're not comfortable, say you cannot.

You bought your car for your convenience. It is NOT petty to use it for your convenience. If you are going somewhere and roommate asks to go along to run an errand that is on your way, it's your choice to say yes or no. I actually hate the phrase "I'm afraid that won't be possible" and would choose something softer like "not this time" if there will be a time you don't mind doing it. You don't have to explain why, you just can't do it this time.

Everybody knows that the gasoline you put in your car is expensive. Figure out the cost per mile (IRS rate for private vehicles 56.5 cents, don't forget this covers maintenance, and wear and tear), and start charging like a taxi if and when you feel like being used like a taxi.
Maryland

TheaterDiva1

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1443
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 04:34:09 PM »
First of all, I can't believe your roommate expected you to ditch your job because of her failure to planned ahead!

Second, I'd start giving rides at my own convenience.  Friends wants to go grocery shopping?  Instead of going out of my way, I'd wait until I was planning to do my own shopping anyway and and let her come: "I'm going to ABC Store at 2 - want to come?"  Do not change the time or destination for her.  You're already doing her a favor - if she doesn't like it, she doesn't have to come.

NyaChan

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4107
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 04:36:07 PM »
I had this problem in college - so irritating!  Here's what I did:

-With people I was just friends with, I'd act as if they were asking to tag along with me, i.e.
"Can you give me a ride to the grocery store?"
"Sorry, I'm not going to the grocery store this week." 

If I did not mind taking them at a later point, I'd add on "Want me to call you the next time I go?"

If you want to give the ride, but want help with the gas:
"I'm happy to drive if you will help out with the gas money."

-My roommate had a car as well so I didn't need to clear things up with her, but I had friends who had to work it out and I advised that friend to have a frank conversation about it like:
"Roomie, I can't commit to giving you regular rides.  I am happy to take you along with me to the grocery store occasionally, for fun outings, or if you are in a real pinch and I'm available, but we would have to split gas money."

sweetonsno

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1376
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 04:36:52 PM »
I am a bit agog that someone would ask you to risk your job to give her a ride home. eHell to the no!

I think you need to get better at saying "no" (you don't need to be as blunt) without offering excuses. Just tell her that you aren't able to give her a ride at that time. You can do that for any of these situations. "Sorry, I can't give you a ride right now/then." If you offer reasons/excuses, they'll just try to find a workaround.

Another way to potentially pre-empt some of the ride-begging is to offer rides when you go somewhere. You're planning a trip to the mall where your roommate works tomorrow? "Hey, roomie-o, I'm going to go to the mall tomorrow afternoon. Do you need a lift over there?" On your way to the grocery store? "Hey, bud, I'm doing my shopping this evening. Do you want to come?" Doing so may help them shift their thinking from "rides from A are on my terms" to "rides from A are on her terms."

gramma dishes

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8058
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 04:37:29 PM »
  ...   The reason you are feeling used, it because you are being used.  ...   

That sums it up quite succinctly. 


...    If you didn't have a car, your friends would have to find another way to get what they want.  And remember, they will find another way if they have to.   ...

This is also true.   How did they get around before you and your car arrived on the scene?

It's not just the annoyance and inconvenience of everyone seeming to feel you are (or at least should be) at their beck and call.  It's the gas, the maintenance, the time wasted, the insurance costs and the liability should any of your riders happen to have anything happen to them while in your car. 

It's one thing when most people have a car and take turns giving others rides, but this set up is ridiculous. 

I'd just tell them "No more rides unless you just happen by chance to want to go exactly where I'm going anyway, and even then I expect you to chip in for gas and parking.  Otherwise, please don't ask."

Outdoor Girl

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 13665
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 04:42:48 PM »
The only issue with offering a ride to someone to a destination where you are already going is that they may be late at one end of the trip or the other.  So be firm from the get go:  The 'bus' is leaving for the grocery store at 2:00 tomorrow.  If you want to go, too, be here before that.  I will leave without you, if you aren't.'  And leave at 2:01, whether they are there or not.  And at the other end, 'I'll be heading back, leaving here at 4:00.  Meet me outside the main doors (or at the car or wherever you decide) before then.  If you aren't there, I'll leave without you.'  I'd give them 5 minutes grace at this end but no more.

I would also impose a 24 or 48 hour notice rule.  I HATE when people ask me to do things last minute.  I'm a planner and it drives me crazy.  I used to rearrange my own plans; now I just say, 'No, I have plans.'  If roomie had asked you Monday, 'My shift lets out 10 minutes past the last bus on Friday.  Any chance you could pick me up or should I try to arrange to leave early enough to catch the last bus?', you probably wouldn't be nearly as bothered.
I have CDO.  It is like OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order, as they should be.
Ontario

onikenbai

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1149
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2013, 04:59:49 PM »
I am supposed to be on duty tonight, which means that I have a pager with me and am not supposed to leave the building.

So basically she has asked you to risk your job for her convenience?  I am not seeing why a big no is a problem here.  She is being a snowflake.  Her transportation woes are not your problem.  Tell her to get a bicycle.

The Wild One, Forever

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1757
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2013, 05:21:30 PM »
No advice, but I will be watching the responses closely, seeing as I have a similar situation.  Two of my closest friends don't drive.  One is pretty good about offering gas money or other compensation, (and I usually turn it down because she doesn't have a lot and is on disability.)  The other, however, likes to run me hither and yon, and very seldom will offer gas money.  I love driving around when I have time and it's a nice day, and hanging out with them is fun, but money is kind of tight for me these days and gas is almost four dollars a gallon.
Soft silly music is meaningful, magical

delabela

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 588
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2013, 05:31:15 PM »
It's totally fine to say no - yeah, if you want to, you can let people tag along or give someone a ride once in a while, but it's on your roommate to make sure she can get where she needs to be.

If you are going to ask for gas money, I think you need to be careful and lay out expectations before money changes hands.  You may be thinking it's to reimburse you for all the rides that have happened already, and they may think it's to ensure you are available at their beck and call in the future. 

Basically, give freely what you want to, and say no to what you don't want to or can not do. 

Library Dragon

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1408
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2013, 05:53:02 PM »
I've noticed in these types of situations that the first time people recognize it as a favor, the second time you're nice, the third time its expected.

I too am astounded that you would be expected to leave work fr someone else's convenience.  Well, reminding myself of my above comment I'm not. 

A simple, "I'm sorry, that won't be possible now (tonight, this afternoon, etc.)" is in order.  It may be inconvenient, but you may want to leave on your own (don't explain where you are going) and go to the library, laundry, or somewhere else, a few times to signal that you have a life that doesn't include being a chauffeur.  You don't have to do this but once or twice, just enough to physically give the message.

            Created by MyFitnessPal.com - Free Calorie Counter

Adelaide

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 938
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2013, 06:41:09 PM »
While it doesn't add much to the situation, I'd like to stress again that it doesn't matter who has the pager-I'm not risking my job for anyone. This may be a factor in why she feels comfortable asking for rides.

camlan

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8533
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2013, 06:43:52 PM »
There's your roommate, and there's everyone else.

Because your roommate lives with you, it kind of makes sense to tell her, "Hey, I'm going to the grocery store tomorrow at 4. Want to come?" In other words, asking her if she wants to piggy-back on a trip you are already planning to make. But make it clear when you need to leave, as well. "I've got a paper to write tonight, so I'll need to leave the store by 5."

The idea of having her ask for any other ride 48 hours in advance is a good one. That way, if you say no, she has time to work out other arrangements. But make it clear that you are not a taxi service--just asking 48 hours in advance does not mean you'll be giving her a ride. It means that if you have no other plans and you don't mind driving to wherever she needs to go at that time, you'll give her a ride.

If you are giving Roomie rides on a regular basis, you could try just setting a per ride fee for the gas. Or, if you wanted, trading chores around the house for the rides, depending on which you want.

For everyone else, practice saying "no" a lot. Just because you have a car does not mean you are obligated to change your plans or spend your money giving people rides. As you say,

Quote
it would be *kind* to give people a ride, but not *impolite* to refuse to.

Working, studying, writing a paper, planning to paint your toenails are all perfectly good reasons not to give someone a ride. Simply wanting to stay home and watch TV is a perfectly good reason to stay home. Don't get into explanations; don't JADE. Just tell people, "Sorry, that doesn't work for me," and change the subject.

Sometimes I work a temp job in the evenings. There's a bus that runs by the office, but there aren't many trips at night, so when we all get out at 9:30, people taking the bus have the choice of waiting 45 minutes for a bus to the main bus station to get the bus they need to get home, or walking the mile and a half to the station--on busy, not very well lit roads with no sidewalks. So I've been known to offer rides to the bus station to people I know. The station is right on my way home, so it takes about a minute extra to pull in and let someone out.

Most people are just grateful to get a ride to the station. But I've been asked to drive people home--20 miles out of my way. Or one time I offered a woman a ride and she accepted, only to show up at the end of the shift with 3 other people I didn't know who also wanted rides. And my car only holds 4 people, max. That was a bit unpleasant, as they all got mad at me for not having a bigger car.

I'm more than happy to help out friends who have an emergency, or car trouble or the like. But I am not happy about being treated like a taxi service and taken for granted. Saying "no" is the only way to deal with this sort of thing.
Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, “I’m possible!” –Audrey Hepburn


demarco

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4152
Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2013, 06:47:15 PM »
If you are the only person in your group of friends with a car you have got to establish limits starting now.  If you don't you will be getting a lot more requests including outrageous, last minute requests like your roommate's latest one.  I agree totally with Library Dragon, rides quickly go from favors to entitlements and you do not want to live that way.  Also, gas money is fine but it doesn't go anywhere near making up for your time, inconvenience, and the inevitable aggravation of driving.