Author Topic: How long am I on the hook for something I offered? Update #34  (Read 6824 times)

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CrazyDaffodilLady

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How long am I on the hook for something I offered? Update #34
« on: September 16, 2013, 10:18:02 PM »
My acquaintance Hazel doesnít have a car.  Her grandchildren are in foster care in a town 90 minutes away (donít get me started on that).  There is some relative there who works in our city and could drop the kids off at Hazelís, but they are not willing to do so. 

A month ago, I stupidly made a spur-of-the moment offer to drive Hazel down to pick up the grandkids and bring them back for a weekend.  I assumed it would happen either that weekend or the next.  For one reason or another, it hasnít happened, and Hazel assumes that Iíll do it whenever itís convenient for her and the kids.

Iím tired of having this hanging over my head, and I donít want to do it anymore.  It feels like I have to leave room in my schedule every week, although I told Hazel that I would need advance notice.  To her, that probably means two days.

I am now dreading the trip, which I expect to be a disaster for me.  I fully expect it to turn into a full day of me running them around to pick up things, or getting drug into long family drama conversations that delay the drive back to our city.  (The plan is that someone else will pick up the kids here and drive them back home.)

Would it be rude to withdraw my offer?  What would be acceptable reasons for me to announce that Iíve changed my mind?
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 02:19:05 PM by CrazyDaffodilLady »
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CharlieBraun

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2013, 10:24:31 PM »
Your good heart led you astray.  Happens to all of us.

I do think you need to bring this up again - might I suggest an email?

"Hazel - I haven't heard back from you about traveling to Other Town to see your grandchildren.  I have a lot of weekend obligations that will be taking my time in the coming months, so I wanted to let you know that my availability is limited now.  If the occasion arises in the future for you to have your grandchildren, please send me a note early in the week (or by Wed or by whatever deadline suites you, CDL) so I can see if my schedule is clear enough to be able to help.

Best to you,

CDL"
"We ate the pies."

TootsNYC

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2013, 10:25:23 PM »
Offers are not permanently open-ended.

I would say, bring this up to Hazel, and define the parameters under which you might be willing to do this big favor for her. Or, rescind it.

"We never did that trip with your grandkids back when we hoped to. I would have had time, that month. I'm sorry to say, I can't offer to do it anymore--my weekends are just to uncertain lately, so I'm going to have to bow out."

or, "I'd still be willing to do it, but my weekends fill up a lot now, and you will need to ask me at least a week in advance if you want any hope of catching me before I lock in my plans."


Raintree

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2013, 10:35:14 PM »
You're certainly not obligated to leave room in your schedule, nor interrupt a weekend of planning to relax and do nothing. I like the above suggestions, or just say you would have been able to do it had it been the weekend you offered, but "I'm afraid it won't be possible" now as your weekends are filling up.

Promise

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2013, 10:37:56 PM »
What a nice thing to offer! I was a foster parent and children in foster care suffer many different types of grief and stress. Being able to see their Grandmother is a wonderful thing.

If you only feel able to do one trip, give her two choices. "Hazel, I'm only going to be able to pick up and take back your grandchildren one time since each trip will be a minimum of 3 hours roundtrip. I have two choices of weekends and times and I'd like you to pick one. I can do it either xx/xx or I can do it xx/xx. Which would you prefer?"  I know it was spur of the moment and it certainly is time and gas from you. However, I know it will be meaningful to the children as well as Hazel.

gramma dishes

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2013, 10:42:23 PM »


I'd permanently rescind, explaining that you had a few weekends relatively free at the time you offered and had erroneously assumed it would take place during that time period, but since it hasn't your weekend calendar is just too full for you to be able to commit to doing it now or in the future.

I think most of us have been there.  We do something spontaneously out of the goodness of our hearts and people interpret it to mean "forever".  It takes lots of practice to remember to say, "Well, I could do it this weekend or maybe next, but after that it just won't be possible."

*inviteseller

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2013, 10:49:38 PM »
If Hazel is approved for visitation, she can talk to the kids social worker and see about arranging transportation for them.  When my DD was in a group home/school for kids with mental health issues there were numerous kids in the foster system there.  Their workers arranged transportation for their weekend visits with family.  And also, because she hasn't made concrete plans with you or brought it up, go ahead with your life and if she says anything, just tell her that because she didn't take you up when you offered it, you figured she had made other arrangements so you also made other plans.  Are you sure she is approved to take/have these kids for visitation?  Usually, they try to place kids with a family member so there may be reasons she can't have them that also preclude her from taking them for weekends.

Winterlight

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2013, 09:38:08 AM »
Offers are not permanently open-ended.

I would say, bring this up to Hazel, and define the parameters under which you might be willing to do this big favor for her. Or, rescind it.

"We never did that trip with your grandkids back when we hoped to. I would have had time, that month. I'm sorry to say, I can't offer to do it anymore--my weekends are just to uncertain lately, so I'm going to have to bow out."

or, "I'd still be willing to do it, but my weekends fill up a lot now, and you will need to ask me at least a week in advance if you want any hope of catching me before I lock in my plans."

Agreed. It was kind of you to make the offer, but you are not required to put your life on hold. Feel free to set limits on what you're willing to do!

Also, when someone does you a favor, I think it's incumbent on you to work with their schedule. If she wants the lift, she needs to work out how to do it with minimal inconvenience to you.

« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 09:44:05 AM by Winterlight »
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gen xer

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2013, 10:07:21 AM »
 I don't think you even need to formally rescind it....nobody can expect you to keep all of your weekends open on the chance she may need you.  If she happens to ask on a weekend where you can then great....but if she asks and you can't / don't want to and she is upset about it you can always have that baffled response ready :

"Well I can't keep all my weekends free"  Anyone with any sense would know that.

This is not something I see a need for a pre-emptive strike for.  I would just let it ride and deal with it if it came up.  If you can't give her a ride then it at least has the benefit of making her aware that people don't live to do others favours.

m2kbug

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2013, 10:17:33 AM »
You made this agreement a month ago.  You did not agree to put your life on hold indefinitely.  Go ahead and make your plans.  You will have to tell Hazel that you have other obligations and you are no longer available to make this trip.  If you are still willing to do this, you need to nail down a specific time and something that works for you.  You probably need to specifically put the date down and she will have to make arrangements around the date you specified.  "I can be available on the 20th."  I wonder if you need to speak directly to the social worker.  In any case, you do not need to put your life on hold for this, and it's okay you are no longer able to make this trip. 

esposita

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2013, 10:27:56 AM »
Your good heart led you astray.  Happens to all of us.

I do think you need to bring this up again - might I suggest an email?

"Hazel - I haven't heard back from you about traveling to Other Town to see your grandchildren.  I have a lot of weekend obligations that will be taking my time in the coming months, so I wanted to let you know that my availability is limited now.  If the occasion arises in the future for you to have your grandchildren, please send me a note early in the week (or by Wed or by whatever deadline suites you, CDL) so I can see if my schedule is clear enough to be able to help.

Best to you,

CDL"

I really like this response. If you feel that she thinks its an open-ended offer, I think a pre-emptive email is an excellent idea.

Miss Tickle

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2013, 10:46:19 AM »
What has caused all the panic?  Now you are dreading a disaster, did something happen? From your post it sounds like you didn't say this weekend or next, so how was Hazel to know? You seem to be freaking out because your assumptions weren't met. That's not really fair to your friend.  If you asked her when she wanted to go and she blew you off, you were free at that time to say this wasn't at her whim, and she needed to let you know asap.   

You think you should pick a weekend a few weeks out, so you have plenty of time to mentally prepare yourself and tell Hazel you will do the visit then. You have time to go, get them and drop them off with her, then return and drive them back, and that's all you will be able to do. If that doesn't work for her, then you are free to regret the impossibility of completing the favour as promised.

FoxPaws

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2013, 11:13:25 AM »
I agree with gen xer. I would let this go unless Hazel brings it up and then let her know the statute of limitations on this particular favor has expired:

"Oh Hazel, I'm so sorry. When I offered that back in August, I assumed you'd get back to me in a couple of weeks. When I hadn't heard anything from you in over a month, I figured you no longer needed help and made other plans. Maybe you could speak with the children's social worker about arranging transportation for you or them. Good luck."

It might be that she HAS made other arrangements, which is why she hasn't called on you. Whatever the case, 30 days seems like a reasonable deadline for a casual offer. Consider your obligation null and void.
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JenJay

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2013, 11:36:27 AM »
I would neither rescind the offer nor keep my schedule open to accommodate it. What I would do is carry on with life as usual, making plans where I want/need to, and not worry about it. If Hazel happens to call one day to see if you can take her to pick up the kids you can either say yes (if you want to and feel up to the trip) or "I'm sorry but I'm afraid I'm not available this weekend." as necessary.
« Last Edit: September 17, 2013, 12:53:12 PM by JenJay »

gramma dishes

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Re: How long am I on the hook for something I offered?
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2013, 11:48:05 AM »
I would neither rescind the offer nor keep my schedule open to accommodate it. What I would do is carry on with life as usual, making plans where I want/need to, and not worry about it. If Hazel happens to call one day to see if you can take her to pick up the kids you can either say (if you want to and feel up to the trip) or "I'm sorry but I'm afraid I'm not available this weekend." as necessary.

Makes sense!!   :)