How to tell a carless friend I don't want to give him a ride
June 2, 2014 2:19 PM Subscribe
Friend sold his car. He now wants me to play chauffeur when we hang out. I don't want to. Is there a gentle way to tell him this?
posted by Laura Macbeth to Human Relations (73 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I live in a city with so-so public transportation. Living without a car is doable, but not as doable as, say, NYC or San Francisco. Recently, a good friend has decided to sell his car and rely on bus/rail/bike to save money on car insurance. I salute him and think moving away from cars is great. However:
I still have my car and plan to keep it. Whenever I make plans with this friend, there's now the expectation that I will pick him up and take him home at the end of the evening. The planning goes like this: one of us will say, "Hey, would you like to hang out this evening?" We agree on a plan. Then the friend will say, "Great, pick me up in 30 minutes." When the evening is over, he'll walk to my car with me and wait for me to unlock the door. This is very recent (the last two weeks), so this has only happened twice.
I'm a nervous driver. I can barely drive myself without being a shitshow, and driving with another person in the car exacerbates this. I also have some social anxiety that is relieved only if I know I can escape at any time (as in, not have to be responsible for another person). I also don't live particularly close to this person, so picking them up/dropping them off isn't convenient. I'm also just low-level peeved that my friend has decided to get rid of his car to ostensibly save money, but is automatically expecting me to cover the burden.
I don't want to be a jerk. It obviously isn't a problem for me to give him a ride, and doesn't matter in the scheme of things. But this has put on a damper on the relationship because I don't want to hang out with him knowing that I'm the chauffeur every time. My friend knows about my driving anxieties - we've talked about this extensively in the past.
Of course I wouldn't mind giving him a ride here and there - but it's the expectation of every single time we hang out that's getting to me.
The first step is to talk to him about this, which I haven't done yet. How do I approach this with him? Is there a smooth, non-awkward way to say, "I love hanging out with you, but I can't drive you around?" And am I being a jerk for feeling this way? We're great friends, but he's a bit sensitive on these issues. He's been known to get his feelings deeply hurt when a friend brings up constructive criticism, so I want to approach this gently and fairly in a way that will sustain our friendship, but not ruin it.
Thanks for any advice you have.