A letter writer ends up driving every time she sees her friend.

Don’t be afraid to say no, says our elder.

Dear EWC

I have this friend who I hang out with from time to time. She’s 25 and I’m 28. She doesn’t drive and I do. I’m open to suggestions of places to go. But she often suggests places far away knowing I have to get her first. I try to find places we both like. She doesn’t like bars or clubs. I do, but there’s other stuff to do. Sometimes, I get her to try new things, but she’s picky. My whole thing is with my anxiety and patience, I don’t see leaving my house, going to get her, then drop her back off every single time. All my other friends drive and we meet up or take turns being the designated driver. We went out this past weekend and today she still has an attitude. Should I be more flexible or should she? I told her I’d be more open to further places and she doesn’t believe it.

KayKay replies

I can tell that this arrangement is not working out for you and you may be starting to resent this friend. This situation is not a matter of right or wrong.   In my opinion, you are doing her a favor by picking her up and taking her someplace, so it seems that the destination should be your choice. She might make a suggestion, but it is strictly up to you if you want to go there or take her. You are free to come and go as you please, without checking with her. Let go of trying to please her or of taking any responsibility for her. 

My suggestion is that you ignore any of her requests for transportation unless you happen to be going there anyway, and if she is on the way. You don’t seem to be enjoying her company, at least with her “attitude”, so why should you have to spend time driving her around where you don’t want to go? If you want to go somewhere, such as a bar or club that she’s not interested in, then go without her. You seem to have other friends to go with. You are in charge and do not owe her an explanation of where you go and what you do. Treat her like a guest in your car, who has no say-so.

Why do you care if she doesn’t “believe you”?  What does her opinion matter, when you are the one driving? We teach people how to treat us, so don’t let yourself be a victim. She needs you more than you need her.  Tell her what you will do and if you feel like it, invite her to go. If not, don’t even give her an explanation. The least you could expect from her, if not gratitude, would be appreciation and kindness. 

You don’t need to have anxiety or stress over this. You are not a taxi service but she’s treating you like one. That is not friendship; that is manipulation. Don’t feel guilty for saying, “No.” Practice it a while and it will get easier.  Be happy. 

Letter #: 426856
Category: Friendship

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