Author Topic: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car. Update #41  (Read 8527 times)

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Waterlight

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #30 on: June 17, 2013, 10:54:43 PM »
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.

No, you're not being petty, and yes, she should have planned her schedule around the bus route.  (I'm a nondriver myself, FWIW.)  One of my favorite mantras--to the point that I have a poster saying this in my office--is "Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

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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.

How about "Sorry, not this time," or "Sorry, I can't today"?  They don't need to know why you can't give them a ride, just that you can't give them a ride.

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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.)

Asking for gas money, especially if the trip is long and/or out of your way, is perfectly reasonable IMHO.  Turning down people who come to expect rides out of you because they've paid gas money is perfectly reasonable ;)  As PP's have said, it's also reasonable to offer rides when YOU want to, not when THEY want you to.
“The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine.”--Ralph Waldo Emerson

bopper

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2013, 11:15:35 AM »
"Roomie, after the situation yesterday I wanted to talk to you about when I am willing to drive you.
I don't want you to rely on me for rides to work.  That was way too complicated.  I am happy to have you go grocery with me when I go. I am happy to take you to the mall when I go. I will let you know the next time."

For other people, you can extend to them the same thing. "I am low on gas money so I am not going to the grocery store until Tuesday.  You can join us at 6:00pm sharp if you want to go."

something.new.every.day

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2013, 11:45:46 AM »
This thread reminds me a little of that one poster who had a friend who’d often ask her to come over and hang out and then, when the OP came over, would have all these places she wanted the OP to drive her.  OP then, one day, decided to come over riding her bicycle, and, I remember, she said she saw her “friend’s” face fall when the friend saw her show up on her bicycle.

This is great.  >:D

Hopefull

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2013, 12:32:05 PM »
This thread reminds me a little of that one poster who had a friend who’d often ask her to come over and hang out and then, when the OP came over, would have all these places she wanted the OP to drive her.  OP then, one day, decided to come over riding her bicycle, and, I remember, she said she saw her “friend’s” face fall when the friend saw her show up on her bicycle.

This is great.  >:D

Must find that thread!
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SoCalVal

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2013, 02:49:12 PM »
This thread reminds me a little of that one poster who had a friend who’d often ask her to come over and hang out and then, when the OP came over, would have all these places she wanted the OP to drive her.  OP then, one day, decided to come over riding her bicycle, and, I remember, she said she saw her “friend’s” face fall when the friend saw her show up on her bicycle.

This is great.  >:D

Must find that thread!

Sorry I don't remember whose thread it was, but I was very happy for the OP, I recall.  Anyone remember this thread?



gen xer

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #35 on: June 18, 2013, 04:04:49 PM »
 Give an inch and they'll take a mile.  Unfortunate but true in many cases.

OP I too was roped into being a taxi for a coworker who wanted an ongoing ride so I know what you're going through.  Really though.....what the other poster said is true - they ask because it's easy for them. 

Maybe you could just disrupt her comfort zone a little.  Some might call it PA....but honestly I don't see anything wrong with simply not being available.  Leave your cellphone at home or don't answer it.  Also she doesn't need to know that you "can" leave work as long as someone else has the pager.  Don't make it easy for her!   


goddessofpeep

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #36 on: June 18, 2013, 08:52:19 PM »
I really feel for the OP, and it hurts me to see this kind of behavior.  When I was in college, I was the person without a car.  It stunk.  Fortunately I had two friends with cars who were nice enough to take me places.  I always felt bad asking them for rides, so I made myself a few rules:

1) 90% of my rides were to get groceries, so I'd usually make one large trip to last me a month or two.  I planned ahead, so I wouldn't be calling them up last minute, or so frequently that it became a burden to the person with the car.  I also tended to switch off between my two friends to spread the driving even more.

2) I was on their schedule, not mine.  They had the car, and I always kept the fact they were doing me a favor firmly in my mind.

3) If the errand was for me(groceries, a trip to the craft store, etc)I paid for gas, usually by giving them $5-$10.  If it was more of a fun time outing(a movie we both wanted to see, etc), I'd usually pay some portion of the expense.  Sometimes I'd cover their ticket, sometimes I'd cover the snack expenses, that kind of thing.

4) I usually paid for a stop at a local fast food place on the way there or on the way home, just as an extra thank you for taking the time to drag my car-less butt around town.  We didn't eat at the Ritz or anything, but you'd be amazed at how happy college students are to drive someone around if the words "free dinner" are used:p  $5 for a combo at Arby's was a powerful motivator.  And of course the bonus was that I also got to eat at places that were usually off limits to me due to distance!


I did tend to be over generous when it came to my friends driving me around.  I did this for a couple of reasons.  First, I always felt so bad asking them to take me places.  I *really* didn't want to become that friend who only calls when they need something.  And second, I also didn't want my friend's good graces to dry up on me.  *All* the major super markets in the area were outside of walking distance, so unless I wanted to be eating overpriced expired food from the local liquor store, I needed access to a car!  I was doing this for a good 4 years which would have become very unpleasant, very quickly without some car access from somebody.

Having been on the receiving end of the kindness of friends with cars, I can say without a doubt that you're being taken advantage of, and the people who are asking you for rides have long since forgotten that what you're doing for them is a favor, not a requirement.  No, you're not being petty telling your roommate that you can't take off of work to drive her home.  Who does that?  It's not petty to ask for gas money either.  You're paying A LOT more than just gas money for your car.  Even if you don't have a car payment, you've got gas, insurance, registration, maintenance, and repairs to deal with.  Oil changes and new tires aren't free!  If they were paying for every drop of gas that went into your car, even for trips that they weren't involved in, they'd still be getting the bargain of a lifetime.

If they can't be bothered to treat you with respect and show the bare minimum of gratitude, maybe you shouldn't be bothered to drive them around.  The really sad thing is that you're probably going to end up being the "bad guy" if you start telling them you can't drive them around anymore, at least for a while.  If it was me, I'd be sorely tempted to get a copy of the automotive section of the local newspaper to give them next time they try to take advantage of you, or grumble about you being unwilling to drive them everywhere at a moment's notice.

TootsNYC

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2013, 10:07:13 AM »
My college-age DD and I were talking about how she'd get to a doctor's office in her school town, and she said, "I just found out one of my friends is getting a car somehow, and maybe....but she'd have to wait around." Then she said something about maybe borrowing it (my response, "well, loaning a car is a slightly bigger deal")

I may show her this thread and remind her that her school town has taxis. Since the doctor's office is not in any area that someone might go to for any other reason.

Margo

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2013, 10:20:44 AM »
Adding my POD to PPs. It is absolutely fine and not remotely 'petty' to expect peopel to chip in for gas if you are doing them the favour of giving them a lift.

It is very unreasonable of your Roomie to expect you to risk your job for her convenience.

Decide on your boundaries and stick to them.

If you're going to the grocery store, by all means offer your roomie / friends a lift there - but be clear on your expectations for gas money, when you'll leave and what happens if they are not back at the car at the agreed time (e.g. you leave without them)

If they don't like it, it says a lot about them. And if you don't set some boundaries, you are going to wind up really resenting them, which isn't good for the friendship either.

I've known a couple of people like this. One of them was someone I dated for a short while. It took him about 3 dates to start assuming that I would always be happy to drive everywhere. Including going waaay out of my way for his convenience.

The other is a friend of mine who doesn't have a car. She doesn't ask me for lifts, but it does irk me a little that she never offers to pay for parking, or to offer anything for gas.  It's not about the money - usually I'd be going any way, so the cost is no higher for her being there, but I know that by getting a lift with me she saves the £8-£12 return train fare, and it would be nice if there was some acknowledgment.  She's not a mooch in general, so it's not enough to make e back off from the friendship, but it's annoying, in a low level way.

Lynn2000

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #39 on: June 19, 2013, 11:32:01 AM »
As someone who doesn't drive, I'm really conscious of not becoming a mooch on my friends. I've turned down more offers of rides than I've accepted, just trying to err on the side of caution. If I ever started to become clueless about it, I would appreciate someone saying, in a matter-of-fact way, "Do you want this to be a regular thing? Okay, I will need $X for gas every week, and I need you to be ready to walk out the door by 8:50am."

You're not punishing people, or judging them; you're just telling them what you need for this particular relationship to continue. Which can include not giving them rides at all. "No, sorry, I'm not able to do that." I.e., there's nothing they can do to continue the ride-giving relationship. The shop is closed.
~Lynn2000

bloo

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #40 on: June 21, 2013, 05:06:37 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.

Yeah I'm still kinda stuck on this. I would have reacted in such a way that my friend would know she crossed a line.

I told this story on the Snowflake thread (I think it was that one) about my Bff's sister calling me up to purchase products from my boss' business. I asked, "Are you not able to get to the store? You need me to pick them up for you?"

Mooch friend: "No, but BFF told me you get a discount through your employment..."
Bloo: "What?! I can't believe BFF would tell you that! That would be like stealing! That discount is for myself and my family ONLY."
Mooch friend: "Oh...okay."

The request was over the top so my response matched it. She'll never ask me to do that again.

OP, it would've been best had you treated her OTT request as, in fact, Over The Top in the moment it occurred. But you can still say 'No. Nope. Can't. Naw.' or any of its other variations. Whenever you feel like it. The moment she has the audacity to ask 'why' your response can be 'No is a complete sentence,' said with a smile.

I can appreciate that your trying to work against perceived selfish tendencies but if you're getting a mooch vibe from your friend, I don't think your 'selfish' tendencies are in overdrive, I think your 'not-wanting-to-be-taken-advantage-of' tendencies are kicking in.

Adelaide

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #41 on: June 21, 2013, 11:39:31 PM »
UPDATE!

I have since turned down several people who have asked me for rides. The most common thing I've said is "No, I am not going to Wegmans/Wal-Mart/whatever today" and that seems to shut people down. So far, no one has pushed me on the issue, so it seems that this was a case of me being paranoid about people getting miffed or feeling entitled to a ride. :)

Thank you for all of your input and advice on what to say/do!

GSNW

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car. Update #41
« Reply #42 on: June 21, 2013, 11:57:54 PM »
I'm glad that has worked for you, Adelaide!  It's always nice to do favors for others but it ceases to be a favor when demands are made and when it's infringing on your time in the way you described.

This thread reminded me of a roommate I had my junior year of college.  I was between cars and my parents were letting me drive their F150, a total gas guzzler.  I was living with a pair of sisters and one of them did not have a car.  One week I agreed to drive Carless Sister to work every day, and assumed (wrongly!) that she would offer gas money.  Next week, when she asked, I told her, "I can't afford to drive you to work every day this week."  She replied, "But you just bought a new dress and purse, I saw them yesterday."

I just stared at her wordlessly until she mumbled something about finding another ride. 

aiki

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #43 on: June 22, 2013, 02:51:40 AM »
My college-age DD and I were talking about how she'd get to a doctor's office in her school town, and she said, "I just found out one of my friends is getting a car somehow, and maybe....but she'd have to wait around." Then she said something about maybe borrowing it (my response, "well, loaning a car is a slightly bigger deal")

I may show her this thread and remind her that her school town has taxis. Since the doctor's office is not in any area that someone might go to for any other reason.

Is there no medical centre on campus?
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LadyClaire

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Re: Growing a spine-when you're the only friend with a car.
« Reply #44 on: June 22, 2013, 10:07:30 AM »
My college-age DD and I were talking about how she'd get to a doctor's office in her school town, and she said, "I just found out one of my friends is getting a car somehow, and maybe....but she'd have to wait around." Then she said something about maybe borrowing it (my response, "well, loaning a car is a slightly bigger deal")

I may show her this thread and remind her that her school town has taxis. Since the doctor's office is not in any area that someone might go to for any other reason.

Is there no medical centre on campus?

Not all colleges have one. The university I work for doesn't. The best we have is an EMT who has a tiny office where he can bandage cuts or tend to small injuries. I can think of one university that has one here, and they are a medical school, and even with that not all students can easily access it because they have multiple campuses spread around the city.