I work with my best friend of over 20 years. Lately she has been asking me to drive her home from work every day. At first I didn’t mind, and accepted the gas money she gave me. Then she stopped giving me gas money and bought me lunches instead. Then she stopped doing that and bought me an occasional coffee. Then that stopped, too. My friend rides the bus into work in the morning and could do the same to get home, but I guess she prefers my door-to-door service. She will generally text, make or take phone calls while I’m driving her home, so I end up feeling like a chauffeur.
Her house isn’t that far out of my way. But I don’t like driving in her neighborhood any more than necessary because the streets are never plowed of snow (I have gotten stuck), the potholes will eat your tires (I have gotten flats) and the drivers are crazy (one accident so far).
I can tell my friend senses I don’t want to drive her anywhere. But she keeps asking me anyway, every day. And I do it because I feel like a jerk saying, “I know we’ve been friends for over 20 years but no, I will not go 10 minutes out of my way to drop you off at home.”
Said friend does NOT do well with confrontation. She has anxiety problems and has been known to burst out in tears from thinking about previous confrontations or perceived wrongdoings that took place decades, earlier. She has panic attacks over stuff like this and I suspect she’ll all but go off the deep end if I tell her how I feel. I tried making up excuses as to why I couldn’t drive her home but I am running out of stories. She catches me off-guard and tries to feel me out to see where I’m headed after work.
I feel like an immature, wishy-washy fool asking this question, but what would you do in my place? I am torn between refusing to be used and not wanting to skewer her incredibly oversensitive feelings.
I would suddenly have a standing appointment in the other direction every day. LOL. I think you just need to be as honest and non-confrontational as possible. Something like "you know I don't mind helping out a friend, but do you see this as a permanent situation?"
Honestly, I'd join a gym, or find yoga classes, or a book club, cooking classes, ymca, anything to give me a reason to go someplace else other than home after work. I wouldn't want to confront someone like that either, and from what you describe there is no easy way out.
You could also be incredibly annoying and run a million errands on your way home from work, before dropping her off, making her wait in the car while you do your shopping or pick up dry cleaning, make a doctors appointment, etc. Heck, go do something horsey. Anything, just make her hate going home with you.
Or you could be like me and drive like mario andretti with a death wish no one dares ask me for a ride.... mwhaa ha ha.
Proud owner of one Lunar acre! (Campanus Crater, The Moon)
Ask her to start kicking in for the gas since you're now car pooling. Or, sit down with her and tell her the truth and let her deal with her own emotional issues. Be as nice as you can, but don't lie and don't sugar coat your own feelings about the situation. You say she can already tell how you feel, now all you're doing is making sure you point out the elephant in the room.
Friends wouldn't be a burden to each other or take advantage. She's hoping you won't say anything.
I think you should say something. If you don't, she will continue this and it will eat away at your friendship. I agree with others about suggesting that you guys split the gas money if you're driving and that you'd be happy to do the same if she drove. Hopefully that will be enough of a hint. If she reacts negatively then I'd decrease the amount of times you drie her home. Maybe if you're driving 5x/week then 1x/week find something else to do after work. Then after a few weeks make it 3x/week.
Either she will get her husband to pick her up or she will start chipping in.
Be honest with her. "I didn't mind helping out on the occasional basis, but I can't be your regular ride. I need you to make other arrangements, starting (a reasonable date). I'm starting to feel like your chauffeur, and it's changing how I value our friendship."
What Stryder said. All that boohooing and BS is her problem, not yours.
If she starts in with 'I can't believe you'd say these terrible things to me, you know how terrible this makes me feel, you know how this embarrasses me, etc etc, let her finish , let her get it all out...and reply...' I understand where you are coming from. And what's good is that now you know how I feel, I feel like a chauffer rather than a friend. You might not mean to but I feel you are taking advantage of me. I'm glad we spoke plainly about this so that we might restore our friendship.'
It's not about getting emotional or sucked in. She's playing you like a fiddle b/c she knows she can turn on the spigots of tears and rage. Too damn bad. When you aren't emotional in replying, she won't know what to do. But she'll know how to get on the darn bus
Personally, I wouldnt be honest with her. I think its a losing proposition. I would just start making excuses why you cant. Once she actually has to start taking the bus home, it will be much easier for her to just do that. Until you stop the cycle, she wont stop asking. Do as others have said, tell her you have to go a different direction, whether you do or not.
Friends would not treat you the way she is treating you.
If you really don't want to take the time/go to her neighborhood, etc., I would just come out and say so.
If you are willing to do it with $$ for the gas, just say that as well. I suggest that because you sounded like her doing that in the beginning made it tolerable. And, TELL her how much $$ it will be, do not ASK her. Your car, your rules.
Have you ever thought that she uses her anxiety issue as a weapon? Maybe she needs a pair of big girl panties-or a $500 clunker just for work transportation!
Just remember-Wow, great deal for her, and nothing in it for me...Wear and tear on your car, time and gas wasted, AND no compensation at all!!
If you go the gas money route, make sure each trip costs exactly the same, if not slightly more, than a single bus fare (no discounts for a monthly pass ).
If her motivation is being cheap and saving money then this should take the fun out of it. Plus you have some good reasoning - why shouldn't it cost the same as a bus ride? You are paying gas, insurance, upkeep and wear and tear on your vehicle plus she gets door to door service and privacy and comfort that she doesn't get on the bus. In my neck of the woods it would cost upwards of $3.00 per ride.
Do you want to stop, or do you want reimbursement? If the latter, sit her down and explain that you can't do this for free and the odd cup of coffee every three weeks is not sufficient.
If the latter, explain to her you really can't keep doing this and she'll have to make other arrangements. If she bursts into tears and tells you you're evil, ask her if she's three because really, that's not adult behavior.
I have a friend who has a similar reaction to bad news, and finally, I just stopped taking her phone calls and stopped replying to her tweets, emails, and FB messages. I just ignored her. She went away. I have of course lost her as a friend, but now, I wonder if she ever really was my friend. Guess not.