My coworkers are brushing me off, is there anything I can do?
October 18, 2013 8:43 PM   Subscribe

Two months ago I started teaching at a small community college, a 90 minute drive away from home, two afternoons a week. There are two other teachers who live in the same neighborhood as me who also work at the same college. Actually, it was one of them who alerted me about an opening position there and told me it would be a good opportunity for me. Only one of the three of us owns a car and the three of us carpooled a few times when I started work there. Then, one day I stopped receiving texts saying "We'll pick you up at X".

We continued meeting at work regularly, chatting during breaks, and everything seemed normal. I assumed their using public transportation as the cause of their not inviting me to join them.

Last week, as I arrived at work, I casually asked one of my ex carpoolers "Did you catch the early train? I didn´t see you at the station" (It´s a very small one and we used to bump into each other there). He answered "Actually, I came with (car owner). We forgot to ask you if you wanted to join us!". I didn´t make much of it. Then this week, I learned that they again "forgot to ask me if I wanted to join them" one more time, which indicates that it's not probably forgetfulness the cause of their not inviting me.

I am moderately pissed off by their behavior, especially considering that they virtually talked me into accepting the job, and still act (insincerely?) friendly with me at work. What do you think is a mature, professional and graceful way of expressing my feeling their attitude is not ok? Is there a way?
posted by Basque13 to Human Relations (33 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I may be over-simplifying it, but it just might be that they don't want to carpools and it's really a lot tO expect that they do, especially since you can't reciprocate. I work with a lot of lovely coworkers who are great at their jobs but with whom I wouldn't want to drive three hours twice a week. Are you chatty? Do you pay for gas? One of the perks I found when I was commuting long distances was being able to listen to my podcasts and not talk for an hour-the days I carpooled wore me out.
posted by purenitrous at 8:53 PM on October 18, 2013 [19 favorites]

You had no standing agreement with these individuals regarding transportation to your place of employment. They have no responsibility to provide you with transportation. Their encouraging you to explore the possibility of employment did not obligate them to provide you with transportation.

Determine if the job is worth the commute independent of their cooperation and/or assistance and make a decision as to your continued employment based on that and then make arrangements for transportation based on your decision.

There is not an "attitude" issue.
posted by HuronBob at 8:55 PM on October 18, 2013 [20 favorites]

s l o w d o w n, friend!

Firstly, yeah, it's entirely possible that these folks forgot to ask you to carpool with them a couple times. They may not know your teaching schedule (it sounds from your question like you don't teach every day, and don't have a regular 9-5 type of commute). They may have a lot on their respective plates. They may not always come in at the same time as you. There might be other concerns that need to be factored into their commutes to work which don't involve you.

The fact that they are still friendly with you outside of carpool contexts implies to me that it's probably nothing personal. Even if they have made a conscious decision not to invite you to carpool with them anymore (something I don't think is necessarily the case, per above), I doubt it's anything to do with disliking you or deliberately wanting to brush you off.

I'll just throw this out there: I HATE carpooling or otherwise sharing my commute with other people. I really value that private time to mentally prepare for my long work day and then to come back down and become myself again at the end of it. If I had close coworkers who were also neighbors (or on my route, or who didn't have cars, or something) I would probably come up with a million excuses and "forget" to invite them until hopefully they just let the matter drop. Because I prefer to be alone during that part of the day.

So, seriously: do not take it personally. At all. For your own sanity and the preservation of your collegial relationships with these people.

I certainly would back off of thoughts like "they made me apply for this job..." and the like. Because seriously I doubt they suggested that you apply because they were dying to give you rides to work.
posted by Sara C. at 8:57 PM on October 18, 2013 [50 favorites]

I think it's entirely possible that it's nothing personal. I have had great co-workers in the past, but that doesn't necessarily mean that I would want to commute with them, too. Sometimes it's nice to ease into the day with a travel mug full of coffee and a podcast without the need to assume the "professional" roll just yet. And if the other two are riding in together, that's not personal, either. Just something that happens. If they are friendly otherwise, I wouldn't worry about it. They aren't under an obligation to provide you transportation, they probably have other things keeping them busy and just haven't made your inclusion a huge priority.

You could certainly talk to them about it but I would probably let it slide.
posted by Ostara at 9:02 PM on October 18, 2013 [1 favorite]

It may not be anything you did, but just to cover all the bases, how were you as a carpooler?

I once stopped carpooling with someone because they were always making me wait for them or making me late. A friend of mine dumped her carpool partner because that person drove her crazy with their flavor of conversation. Did you offer to chip in for gas? 3 hours a day in commuting is no small chunk of change.
posted by cecic at 9:16 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

My husband's in a daily carpool and at least one day a week they manage to get their wires crossed on timing or who's in and out. With an irregular, non-formalized carpool, I'm not surprised they'd forget. The only mature way to handle this is to ask the car owner if he or she would like to formalize the carpool, and offer to pay gas. Being pissy about this informal, irregular carpool fading out is moderately insane.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:19 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

Well, there's a whole lot of reasons why someone might deliberately exclude another from a carpool, to list the issues I've encountered with carpool passengers over the years: always running a bit late, body odor, incessant chatterer/bloviator, backseat driver, office gossiper, wipes greasy fingers off on car's upholstery, eats tuna sandwiches for breakfast (wtf), butterfingered coffee drinker, invisible brake stamper, never offers to chip in for gas even though s/he doesn't take a turn driving, wants to go home much earlier or later than I want to go, wants to 'run a few errands on the way'...I could go on. Even the most innocuous passenger can be difficult to face first thing in the morning and coordinating schedules across three people is more difficult than sharing it with one or going alone. Maybe having someone in the back is annoying because that third head is in the way of the rear view mirror.

Perhaps it's none of these things and jumping into the car is an ad-hoc thing that happens on the spur of the moment and since you're the new guy, they just forget to include you. Dude, it happens and getting pissed off without learning the reason why you are being excluded is just you making yourself mad.

Ask why nicely.
posted by jamaro at 9:27 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think it's clear the car-owner does not want to give you a ride.

Now that they know you know that, however, you are in a position of power as long as you make no further reference to the matter and continue to be as friendly as you have been, because the owner will anticipate some confrontation about it, will feel guilty about his boorish selfishness as contrasted with your aplomb and gracious behavior, and is likely to feel just a little on edge whenever he sees you.

I wouldn't be able to resist giving him an especially big smile whenever we met, though.
posted by jamjam at 9:27 PM on October 18, 2013 [10 favorites]

I doubt your colleagues are insincere in their friendliness to you at work - it's probably some passenger behavior you have that just isn't clicking with the driver:

they just don't want the slightly longer commute (your stop adds a noticeable amount of time)
time elapsed in their arriving at your place and your actually getting in the car (you make them wait for you when they're doing you the favor)
feeling slightly claustrophobic in the car with too many people
less pleasant conversation flow or silence dynamic
gas money
you requesting additional stops for coffee/bathroom/etc
your eating in the car and introducing sounds/smells/crumbs
your backseat driving
your not thanking them for the favor of driving them and/or assuming future rides without asking
your taking the preferred seat of a closer friend to the driver
your choice of music type/volume

I could - and do, sometimes - think any one or multiple of these things about carless friends while still considering them my friend. I just don't want to be their chauffeur.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:55 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

For whatever reason they don't want to ride with you. That's fine, you are not owed a ride or an explanation. I'd just leave it alone and move on and continue being friendly and civil. If you push the issue, you may not like the answer you get. As many people have pointed out, carpools can be tricky. Spending 3 hours in a car with someone can be difficult if it's not a perfect match.

Your reaction seems out of scale to the situation. You are not entitled to carpool with them. Also, your neighbor having gone out of their way to let you know about a job that would be a good fit for you is a very nice thing to do. You were not forced by anyone to take the job. Reframing it as them having pressured you to take a job and therefore you being owed additional consideration is a strange way to view the situation.
posted by quince at 10:00 PM on October 18, 2013 [14 favorites]

It may not be personal, and there could be all sorts of explanations, but I think it makes sense that you are upset and feel offended. You just need to find out if you really should be (granted that, as others have nicely pointed out, they are not OBLIGATED to drive you). I also think with three people it does not seem likely that they got "their wires crossed on timing or who's in and out". They seemed friendly and supportive while you got this position, and being kind enough to car pool with you (you live in the same place, work at the same place, and it's 90 minutes away from work, makes a lot of sense), and then they take that away seemingly with no reason, I would wonder too. To make someone take public transportation, 90 minutes away, who is a supposed friend and co-worker, and lives close by, just because it slipped their mind, and "they are not obligated", seems mean. I would want to know what's going on too, and if they had a good reason for this, I don't think that means at all that you're trying to hold them to an "obligation". Hopefully you'll find out they are decent after all and not snubbing you and being inconsiderate, and they have a perfectly good explanation for this sudden change. And you are not remotely insane. People on here are being one sided and ridiculous.
posted by Blitz at 10:04 PM on October 18, 2013 [2 favorites]

The perfectly good explanation might be something as simple as, "Bob doesn't want to." Just keep that in mind.
posted by spunweb at 10:08 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

I am moderately pissed off by their behavior

Sorry dude, but you don't really have a right to be pissed off that someone didn't want to spend three hours in their car with you. That's a huge amount of time. Were you helping to pay for fuel? I hope so cause that is a lot of fuel.

But yeah, I would have spending 3 hours in the car with anyone, hate it. It's just the kind of person I am, travel time is quiet time for me.
posted by smoke at 10:18 PM on October 18, 2013 [3 favorites]

I find it very, very telling that you haven't considered that it is your fault that your coworkers no longer wish to offer carpool services to you. Given that you have a (posting) history of not understanding certain social cues and that you seem to place blame on others before you look at yourself and your own behavior, have you considered taking a different tack with this issue? Namely asking your coworkers politely, "Hey! Could I join the carpool again? I feel like that's sort of lapsed and I'd appreciate being a part of it if it's still going on," rather than treating these people as the latest antagonists in your life story? Then see what they say and go from there rather than assuming they've been plotting behind your back to disinclude you.

And you're not owed their support, either. Don't approach this like you are.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:48 PM on October 18, 2013 [25 favorites]

I know it was only a few sentences, but based solely on what you wrote, I wouldn't want to carpool with you either. It sounds like you have a large sense of entitlement and are perhaps a bit selfish. They "virtually talked you into accepting the job?" Around here, jobs are pretty scarce. Do you act like you did them a favor by taking the job? Because they probably think they did you one by telling you about the opening. How much did you pay the driver for gas? Note that I'm not asking if you offered to pay, but specifically how much you paid (or other compensation such as gift cards, baked goods, etc.) if they wouldn't take money. I'm imagining the scenario as "hey, what do I owe you for gas?" followed by a "nah, don't worry about it," and that was the end of it. It doesn't matter if you offered and they refused, and it doesn't matter that they were going to be driving anyway, if you weren't paying 1/3 of the gas at an absolute, bare minimum, or compensating some other way, it's easy to see why you'd be "forgotten." Take a long, hard, honest look at how you've acted around them recently, both in previously-mentioned carpool behavior, and also any lack of gratitude you've expressed at their help in getting you the job. It also seems that, in addition to expecting someone to do the work of driving you around, you expected them to arrange to pick you up. Unless you were very specific about your new work schedule ("every Tuesday and Thursday, 8 to 5!") it's asking a lot for them to remember when you work and consider whether or not you need a ride. Did you ever ASK for a ride, or did you just sit back, wait, then get pissy when they stopped offering? Maybe give it one last shot - "hey Driver! here's a muffin basket of appreciation for the rides. are you going in Wednesday morning? think I could catch a lift?" If you get blown off again, let it go, both in what you say to them, and also internally, and do your best to just maintain the friendship.
posted by storminator7 at 11:06 PM on October 18, 2013 [5 favorites]

People are right that it may not be personal, but it may be deliberate. It could be as simple as they were annoyed that you never offered to take a turn or you never offered to chip in for gas money. I know of people who started out with a friendly car pool, but when person B never offered to drive and only chipped in for gas money after person A specifically asked, person A just decided to stop offering to drive. If you never made it up to them in anyway, they may have decided you were mooching.

Maybe you can try to figure out if they take turns driving, if they pitch in gas money, buy each other lunch or return the favor in some way. That would be my guess. I'm sure they still like you fine as a person, so don't sweat it! In these situations, person A never decided they didn't like person B anymore -- they just stopped offering to do favors for them. It is interesting though that you didn't offer any sort of self-assessment of your own behavior in the post.

I mean, a three-hour commute is a big deal. Whoever is driver deserves to be repaid. If you haven't repaid them, you have absolutely no right to be angry or hurt. And you can't make someone give you rides, even let's say if the person doesn't like you -- oh well. Them pointing out a job to you doesn't mean they have an obligation to meet all your needs at this new job.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:20 PM on October 18, 2013

We used to own a spare pick up truck. Every time someone wanted to move or buy furniture they expected us help them because hey, we had a truck. You know what? It was my truck. I paid for the gas, the tires, the maintenance, the insurance, the registration. No one was entitled to my truck or my time.

The point here is that having a car doesn't mean other people are entitled to a ride. Maybe the 2 of them wanted to grab breakfast. Maybe they just didn't think of you. Maybe they're listening to a lecture series or a book on the drive. You can still all be friends.

Your premise is that their behavior is not okay. Their behavior is fine.
posted by 26.2 at 11:42 PM on October 18, 2013 [15 favorites]

Yeah I like driving to the point that I will be the sole driver on 12+ hour road trips and wave off offers to buy gas because I REALLY like driving and even then you wouldn't have a guaranteed no-questions-asked ride from me because we happened to be friends and lived in the same area. Heck I used to work with people that lived in the same apartment complex and I'd always ask for a ride home rather than just assuming it was there. And sometimes I wound up walking because giving me a ride is a favor on their part.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 11:52 PM on October 18, 2013

Are they sleeping together?

Do they maybe want to be work friends with you but not friends-out-side-of-work with you?

As others have said, they don't have to carpool with you. How you all behave at work is really the most important thing here. Don't create drama where there is none.
posted by heyjude at 12:12 AM on October 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

It could well be that they never intended to car pool with you permanently, but just offered you a lift the first few times in order to make sure that you got to the place and knew how to navigate your way in, etc.. If I encouraged someone to take a job at my workplace, that is something I might do as a welcoming gesture. I would certainly not feel responsible for getting another adult to work on a regular basis, especially if it meant me remembering their schedule and chasing them down.

If you want a permanent transportation arrangement, the thing to do would be to approach the driver and say something along the lines of "hey, the train is getting me down, I was wondering if we could make a deal for a ride in? I need a ride at XX times, and I will pay YY--or whatever you want." Also offer to go to the pickup point of his or her choosing, and make sure they are never waiting for you.

Be aware, though, that as others have pointed out, there are many reasons the driver might refuse such a request. Personally, while I am very willing to offer lifts to people much of the time, the bottom line is that I see it as an optional favour, since I have taken on the expense of a car primarily for my own flexibility and convenience. Non-drivers might not realize how annoying that extra ten minutes in each direction to drop off another passenger, or that obligation to leave at a certain time, can be. Odds are it is nothing personal, but it is entirely possible that having you in the car changes something for the driver in a way that is inconvenient for them to commit to on a regular basis.
posted by rpfields at 1:59 AM on October 19, 2013 [10 favorites]

The biggest problem with carpooling is, do the members' schedules mesh? Not everybody works 9-5 Monday-Friday: different people start at different times or work on different days. Perhaps their two schedules are close enough that neither one has to sit around waiting *too* long for the other one, but YOUR schedule is enough different from both of THEIRS that they end up waiting around a while.

For example: you said you work two afternoons a week..... just for the sake of discussion, I'm going to call it 1-5pm Monday and Thursday. If one of them works 8am-4pm and the other 9:30am-4:30pm, then they're waiting an hour and half an hour respectively for you, and that just might have been the dealbreaker.

Alternatively, do you smoke but not them, or vice versa? How does the car's owner feel about eating/drinking in their car? Were you frequently late when they came to pick you up, or did they have to go out of their way to come get you or drop you off, on either end of the trip? Was your financial contribution truly a 'fair share' of the trip?

Honestly, there are all kinds of reasons why car pooling doesn't work out: just let it go, and accept their friendship.
posted by easily confused at 2:13 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I'd be hurt too, but sometimes an extra person to pick up makes carpooling a total drag for the person with the car. Sometimes I want that extra 5 minute sleep in.
posted by mooza at 2:38 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is there a way?

Well, yes. Something along the lines of "I'm upset and confused that you're not offering me rides to work any more - why aren't you doing that?". You're entitled to feel how you feel about any given situation where any given thing happens.

However, as the responses in this thread prove, you're going to come up against what some people will see as an attitude of entitlement. Pretty much everybody on the planet has "rules" in their head about how other people should behave. A lot of people have the rule that if Person A does something nice for Person B, Person B should at the least be grateful for that and to varying degrees, show that gratitude, either by saying thank you or giving Person A something in return, such as money or gifts or support or whatever. Person B thinking that they're entitled to something from Person A, outside of a specifically stated contract that both parties have signed and agreed to (such as in a business setting) is likely to be off-putting to most people.

If your carpool driver didn't actually agree to give you a lift to work every day that you needed one, at the time you needed it, then you're not entitled to it. You acting like you are, in the manner that you're doing in this post, is going to ruffle feathers. You actually acting on those feelings and saying something to the driver is going to do a lot of damage to your social capital with primarily the driver, but also anyone else who hears about it.

Consider how much a taxi to work would cost you. I have no idea what the rates are, and there will be a profit margin built into that rate. Even assuming a 100% profit margin, which is extremely unlikely, half of what you're paying is how much it costs to keep a car on the road. That includes things like fuel, tax, insurance and other assorted costs. How much were you paying the driver of the car?

Your co-worker was "probably going that way anyway". To look at that from another POV, you could pay for a taxi to work, get the driver to pick up your co-workers and pay for everything, without your co-workers chipping in at all. Wouldn't that royally piss you off? Imagine if you helped out with a taxi ride a couple of times and then your co-worker got huffy with you and demanded to know why they weren't picked up.

Presumably you're an adult. It's your responsibility to decide whether or not a job is for you, based on pay, job role, location, etc. Someone else telling you it's a good fit does not make it their fault that you can't perform the job role. It's on you to make sure you can do the job. It's on you to make sure that it's not so far away from home that you're going to have difficulty getting there. It's on you to make contingency plans for when the bus doesn't turn up or the train isn't running. As you're very quickly learning, you can't rely on other people to do stuff for you, unless you have the aforementioned contract obligating them to. I'm quite likely to take my neighbour to the hospital when she's fallen over and broken her leg. I'm far less likely to take her to hospital at a set time every week to an appointment that she knows is coming up. There's a difference between something new and surprising happening, and knowing that a thing is coming up and not making plans for it.

Society works because humans cooperate and do things for one another. That means that both parties do things for the other person, not just one party doing things for the other. What have you done for these people? It sounds like you're blaming them for things that aren't at all their fault, after they helped you.

You are absolutely entitled to say something. However, so are your co-workers. They are entitled to set boundaries as to who they want in their car. They are entitled to say that they're taking Pat to work, but not Sam. They're entitled to drive past you as you stand in the rain, and wave as they do so.

You can feel how you want to feel about this situation. Your co-workers are also entitled to feel how they want to feel about how you feel and your actions. Acting out about this will not win you any friends.
posted by Solomon at 3:41 AM on October 19, 2013 [8 favorites]

Nthing that they may be work-friendly with but that doesn't mean you are social friends. Perhaps the two of them are close social friends who have discovered they value their commuting time together.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:33 AM on October 19, 2013 [3 favorites]

How you're going to travel to work surely was something you considered before accepting a job 90 mins away from your home. If you solution was to carpool with these guys without reaching an explicit agreement with them that that was an option any lifts you can get from them are a bonus. Even if they agreed to carpool, they are entitled to change their mind.

I love my alone time in the car and would never voluntarily carpool because I resent the extra however many minutes it adds to my trips, I resent loosing the space to think in peace and I resent the colleague who thinks it's acceptable to drop his chewed gum on the floor if my car..

So by all means feel however you feel but embrace your train journey.
posted by koahiatamadl at 4:44 AM on October 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

I would reframe the issue away from emotional concerns to strictly financial/practical concerns. Can you do some calculations and see if there is a clear financial savings to the other two people for you to share a carpool? If it's less than $20/wk, then I'd let it go.

Depending on where you live, the magic number for the HOV lane is usually two people. But in some areas, the HOV lane requires three people at certain times of the day and your mere presence could provide that benefit.

If there is a real benefit to them (not just to you), then I'd go to the driver and ask to formalize a carpool arrangement. If I had a sensible car, I would offer to drive my vehicle one-third of the time. If the driver has the best/only car, then I'd offer to pay one-half of their expenses. Or, you could offer half of the cost of you taking public transportation by yourself if it is a higher amount.

Also, think back over the rides you shared. If there were any quibbles over things like where to stop, or what radio station to listen to, affirm that it is always the driver's choice since they are doing the extra work of watching the road.

You still might be rejected for unclear reasons, but there's nothing shameful about making a logical/reasonable proposal. Good luck!
posted by 99percentfake at 6:00 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you do decide to pursue getting rides from them, you should ask by e-mail. That way they can turn you down gracefully (if that's what they're going to do) without it being an awkward conversation or confrontation, and you can keep your work-friendship.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:36 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

To me, this isn't intended as a brush-off. They're happy you got the job (and probably think that you are appreciative for their help in getting the job because they brought it to your attention - I would certainly assume this and feel pleased with myself for helping you out) and invited you to ride along as a bit of a "welcome to the office" kind of thing. It is like the fruitbasket or cookies you bake for new neighbors. You've received the fruitbasket, now they're back to doing their normal thing, which is riding together to work.

If you want to be part of their normal thing, it will require doing something other than being passive (and definitely doing something other than being resentful) - just ask them if you can join the carpool. And please recall, it is not really a carpool, it is two folks riding together in one person's car. So if you ask, please be clear that you're asking a favor and make your offer of compensation explicit.

If you did something annoying while riding with them (talking on your cell, eating loudly/smelly/spilling coffee, insisting on listening to XXX station/music, whatever) this would be a good time to acknowledge that and tell them how this time would be different.

Please also remember when you make your offer that the costs of car use are not simply the gas. At a minimum, you and the other rider should be covering the gas - if I really wanted a ride, I would absolutely be offering something that also covered the wear/tear on the driver's car. Yes, s/he had to drive to work anyway, but really, you're asking to be part of an arrangement that involves depreciation on a pretty expensive commodity. I would personally be offering something that took that into account. Also, I would offer cash (and also to drive if desired), not any intangibles.
posted by arnicae at 9:10 AM on October 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

Something along the lines of "I'm upset and confused that you're not offering me rides to work any more - why aren't you doing that?". You're entitled to feel how you feel about any given situation where any given thing happens.

By the way, if you said this to me, I would feel guilty and annoyed with you for accosting me like this, and it would not only end any possibility of rides with me, but it would also likely make things as a co-worker/neighbor rather chilly.
posted by arnicae at 9:12 AM on October 19, 2013 [13 favorites]

How close are the other two as friends? Close friends feel free to talk about all kinds of shit when they're together, things they might not feel free to talk about when others are around. Being "friendly" with you is not the same thing as being that kind of close friend, and they might miss morning gossip time. It doesn't necessarily mean they don't like you or that you did anything wrong.
posted by ctmf at 11:16 AM on October 19, 2013 [6 favorites]

It sounds like you're expecting your co-workers to read your mind. If you want something, you need to ask. Be specific, including about the times/days you'd want to share a ride.

You also need to offer something reciprocal to what you're asking for -- in this case, you need to offer enough money to make it to their advantage for them to include you in a rideshare, just as it's to your advantage to be included. At four ninety minute rides, you travel somewhere between 300 and 400 miles a week? How much does that run the driver in terms of gas -- a full tank's worth? I'd round up to the next $10 and offer to chip in at least that much each week (with the mileage on my subcompact, that would mean offering about $50/wk). That "chip in" offer is also separate from the little friendly overtures that you might want to make since they're being friendly to you, though I think you should try making those, too, just as social lubrication -- things like doing a coffee/tea run for everyone, etc.

Also, you might want to try compartmentalizing transactional relationships from personal relationships -- it sounds like you think in order for your co-workers' personal relationship with you (friendliness at the office) to be "real" they need to also enter a transactional relationship with you (and go in together on work transportation). Those are different kinds of relationships with different rules and expectations, and even though you *might* have both kinds of relationships with the same person, that doesn't *have* to be true (and lots of people actually prefer, for good reason, not to mix them at all).
posted by rue72 at 11:18 AM on October 19, 2013 [5 favorites]

Something along the lines of "I'm upset and confused that you're not offering me rides to work any more - why aren't you doing that?".
Would earn you a "wtf" look from me.

Did you ever actually ask if you could carpool with them? Doesn't sound like you did.
posted by sm1tten at 3:42 PM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

I would approach the driver and, without assuming anything, say "Those times when you offered me a ride to work were really great for me. I was wondering if we could do it regularly? Maybe I could out by paying 1/2 the gas?"

The key to this approach:
Express appreciation for past favors without any sense of entitlement for future ones
Actually (and politely) asking for what you want while leaving room for them to say no
Making a clear offer to give something in return. (I suggest 1/2 gas because it is comes across as generous and if both riders do it, then the driver is just paying for maintence, depreciation and insurance which makes it about equal)

If they say anything less than yes then it is probably not going to work out and you need to back off if you want to maintain a pleasant relationship with people that you work with.
posted by metahawk at 6:41 PM on October 19, 2013 [4 favorites]

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