Looking for some perspective on expectations from friends
August 18, 2018 11:54 AM   Subscribe

I'm feeling annoyed that my friend isn't willing to give me a ride to an event we were thinking about attending together. Am I being too entitled?

I visit the U.S. about once a year (I live in South Korea ATM) and I don't have a car when I come back. I have a friend, from middle school, who I'll usually see at least one time when I'm back. We actually already saw each other once since I've been back. Since I missed her birthday, I paid for her lunch and gave her a few gifts (just a few Korean skincare products, nothing big or expensive). I had also asked beforehand if she could give me a ride back home from lunch and she agreed; it's a 15 minute drive from the restaurant.

A few weeks later, she asked if I wanted to hang out again before I went back to Korea. I suggested an event and she was into it. I recently asked her if she could pick me up after she's done work and then drop me off after the event.

LOGISTICS (if you care):
If she just drove from her work to the events venue, that would be a 20 minute drive because she could take the highway. My parents' house is in the same direction as the events venue, but because she would have to take backroads (obv. slower than the highway), it would take 17 minutes to get to my house and then an additional 15 minute drive to get to the events venue. Dropping me back home would be 15 minutes. Her home is a 35-minute drive from my house. The event ends pretty early so she would not be getting back home late

So, I didn't talk logistics or anything with her. But she would know the time/distance between my house and the events venue and her work etc. because she's very familiar with this area.

Anyway, after I asked if she'd be willing to pick me up or drop me off (I tried to phrase it apologetically and not aggressively or in any kind of entitled manner whatsoever) she took a while to respond (a bit out of character) and asked if I could take an uber instead.

I'm really annoyed. I think I would be less annoyed if she had at least tried to make some excuse as to why she doesn't want to give me a lift. To preempt comments about her car/gas money, there is nothing wrong with her car and her financial situation is perfectly fine (and I would be totally willing to pay her gas money or pay for her food again).

When I think about whether or not me being annoyed is justified, it's kind of a weird feeling. I know I was asking her for a favor, which tends to put me on edge because I always got the feeling she's rather stingy (perhaps more so over time). I also know we've grown apart over the years. I also know I'm kind of projecting because with most of my friends, I would never feel weird about asking them for a ride...I'm used to relationships that are pretty giving and I'm the same way, like if a friend wanted a ride and it wasn't that far I would totally do it if I had a car. Otherwise, I try to make it up by paying for meals, etc.

But I'm so annoyed with her now that I don't really want to go to the event with her anymore. I actually just want to distance myself from her from now on. To be honest, we don't have that much in common anymore either. Am I overreacting?
posted by bluelight to Human Relations (65 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think you're overreacting. Uber is convenient, so unless you don't have the money, why not use it.
posted by feste at 11:57 AM on August 18, 2018 [17 favorites]

Another vote for overreacting. If you had a car, you'd drive yourself, wouldn't you? Uber is the equivalent of driving yourself.

You see this friend so rarely. Go to the event and have a nice time.
posted by mochapickle at 11:59 AM on August 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

On the surface of it: no idea if she has anything else going on logistically or schedule-wise. She also may just not wish to. I would get a taxi or Uber and also know I would have the power to leave whenever I wanted to, which may be a bonus.
posted by hijinx at 12:01 PM on August 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

It sounds like her reaction here is spotlighting how things have shifted for you both, and that may be fueling your strong response.

Honestly, as someone else who doesn't drive much, yes, you are overreacting. You don't know what other complicating factors might be present in her going to or from the event, and she's not obligated to explain them to you. Go if you want, take an Uber, and think about why you've reacted so strongly someone politely declining to give you a ride.

I've had acquaintances in the past get shirty with my wife for not continuing to give them a ride home after she did so a few times out of the kindness of her heart when the weather was crappy (and they were catching a bus). We'll just say this went over very poorly.
posted by canine epigram at 12:01 PM on August 18, 2018 [13 favorites]

A round-trip uber ride costs $30, so I wouldn't really equate it with driving myself. I have the money but that's also how much the event ticket costs. I just feel like I'd rather use that money to pay for a friend's meal instead of the uber.
posted by bluelight at 12:02 PM on August 18, 2018

You suggested the event. If I were your friend, I might kind of feel like you were using me as an way to get to this event that you wanted to go to, and not like you actually wanted to go with me personally. Or at least that thought may cross my mind. It is possible, for whatever reason, that your friend feels like your friendship with her is more transactional than she would like.

I would probably just take an Uber if I were you. And I would do some kind of social smoothing in my email back, like I would say: "Of course! Didn't even think of it :-) Can't wait to see you there."
posted by sockermom at 12:08 PM on August 18, 2018 [70 favorites]

Going to an event after work might feel like stretching herself a bit thin already. She will be tired. Adding to this 1 hour of driving on your behalf is really a lot. Are you sure she doesn't have some difficult stuff going on at home as well as at work? Since she hesitated to answer with her refusal, she probably struggled with that decision, but then still felt like this is too taxing, and she deserves to enjoy the evening too, not feel wiped out and resentful afterwards.

You say that you don't have that much in common anymore. Maybe this is due to distance, and also completely normal for childhood friends. But if she is generally a good friend, I'd recommend cooling off a bit before making decisions about distancing yourself from her from now on.
posted by LakeDream at 12:08 PM on August 18, 2018 [15 favorites]

I am a person who tends to read things in to stuff like this that probably weren't intended and I'm very sensitive to perceived slights.

I think asking "am I overreacting?" is maybe not helpful. The fact is you are annoyed. It's legal to be annoyed. In fact, litigating to yourself whether you "should be" annoyed and if so how much will probably just make you more annoyed if you're anything like me. I know it pisses me off when I read answers to questions that don't really answer the question but here I go anyway: whether or not you're annoyed, are you going to feel bad/sad/etc if you don't get to hang out before you go back to Korea? I tend to regret being not doing things with people because I was pissed off at them for stuff like this, but I don't know you. If you do go to the event, maybe you could leave yourself a reminder to bring up your feelings about this and the friendship in general after you go? Sometimes doing that gives me a chance to consider if I am overreacting, and if not, how I want to phrase what I want to say in a way that's respectful of my friend but also respectful of my feelings.

Good luck, I hope you feel better about things no matter what you decide.
posted by threementholsandafuneral at 12:09 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

It sounds like treating your friend (buying her dinner) makes you feel good and generous. Spending $30 on yourself (an uber) feels wasteful. Maybe re-frame as spending money so that your friend doesn't need to drive is the generous and friendly option?
posted by (Over) Thinking at 12:09 PM on August 18, 2018 [78 favorites]

If she is giving you a ride, that means she can't leave early if she's uncomfortable, or stay later/go further if she's having fun. I would hesitate too-- nothing to do with you, but I would want those options if I was going out.
posted by The otter lady at 12:12 PM on August 18, 2018 [21 favorites]

In these situations, I try to remind myself that people often have valid reasons. Like, maybe she's struggling with depression, or migraines, or had some kind of near miss on the highway and is freaked out about driving, etc etc etc. It's true that sometimes people are just thoughtless and/or selfish, but I've found that the majority of the time they have reasons that are at least reasonable.

Also, do you think that your anxiety about asking is sort of rebounding? Like, I always feel very anxious about asking for favors and I'm all, "Oh it's no biggie say no if you want" and then I feel very guilty or upset if people do say no, because I feel like it's a reflection on me and I should have known not to ask. Is it possible that you're feeling weird about asking and getting told no, and that feeling is driving the extremely strong reaction you're having?

If this were me, I'd just put it aside - don't ruminate, sleep on it and your feelings will probably subside. This seems like one of those "my strong feelings are kind of about me, so I will just let myself feel them and let it go" situations.
posted by Frowner at 12:12 PM on August 18, 2018 [19 favorites]

Your estimation of the time it takes to get to the venue to where you are (15 mins there and back) doesn't line up with a $30 Uber ride, in my experience. Are you sure you're not underestimating the amount of time and driving it takes, and therefore underestimating the burden of giving you a ride?
posted by phunniemee at 12:14 PM on August 18, 2018 [10 favorites]

It sounds like treating your friend (buying her dinner) makes you feel good and generous. Spending $30 on yourself (an uber) feels wasteful. Maybe re-frame as spending money so that your friend doesn't need to drive is the generous and friendly option?

Yes, this! In this case, being generous means spending that $30 doing what's best for your friend, not what's best for you. It's awesome when what's best for both of you aligns -- offering to buy a meal is really a nice thing to do -- but it's just not the case this time.
posted by mochapickle at 12:16 PM on August 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

Sorry to threadsit, but I already looked up the time/distance and cost for an Uber ride. If it sounds high to you that's probably because there aren't many ubers/lyfts available in this area (low supply, higher price). I'm not in a city.

Edit: our roads are very well lit, no potholes, no creepiness. She has reasons why she doesn't want to drive me (I don't know what they are and some answers here have given me food for thought) but it's definitely not a location is creepy or bad factor.
posted by bluelight at 12:16 PM on August 18, 2018

Also, there's plenty of reasons to prefer a highway drive over back roads at night: long, lonely lights at intersections where you feel creeped out, poorly lit roads, danger of hitting wildlife, potholes and other road hazards, having to drive past an ex's house, getting stopped by a passing train, etc.
posted by phunniemee at 12:18 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm a nervous driver. I can drive my friends places occasionally if it's daylight and I know exactly where I'm going. If it's night or I don't know the way so well it's just too scary for me. I'm still nervous driving alone but less so than of there's someone there who might distract me. Maybe your friend is like me? It's embarrassing to admit so I don't usually tell people I'm a nervous driver, I just make excuses not to give lifts.
posted by hazyjane at 12:23 PM on August 18, 2018 [7 favorites]

Hi, so I have two friends who, like you, don't drive or have access to a car when they visit. Back in the day before Uber/Lyft, they always needed a ride. While this was OK, it was not ideal for me. It usually added 40-60 minutes onto whatever we were doing because of traffic and distance, plus the stress of driving. So, at that time, usually I provided one way only rides and they'd have to figure out the other stuff.

Now they take care of their own rides to and from events because it's convenient and cheap, and also, they have realized as we've gotten older that it's kind of presumptuous to always assume someone will take care of rides for you. We're all adults now, that dynamic has gone by the wayside.

I do think you're overreacting because from the opposite side of things, I did eventually feel used/annoyed to always be the one to drive and provide rides.

Just take an Uber/Lyft this time, next time budget for it, and let it go.
posted by Temeraria at 12:24 PM on August 18, 2018 [20 favorites]

This could be a cultural thing. As an Asian but not Korean, I know we tend to prioritize looking out for our social circle. US culture prioritizes the individual and larger society. It might be jarring because you're only here once a year (code-switching abruptly).
posted by kinoeye at 12:24 PM on August 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

This would bother me too, but I think that’s because I’m the kind of person who would of course give my friend with no car a ride unless there was something really weird going on. I have had friends who don’t drive, and I just assume I should pick them up.. In fact, when I haven’t been able to, I’ve had people reassure me that it’s ok. So it seems strange to me when other people don’t feel that way. (I’ve also had a person I’d given many, many rides to not willing to reciprocate, and people like that just suck.)

But I think there’s just a vast difference in how people regard this. If you want to reconsider the friendship, I’d suggest waiting to see if you feel better about it later. It’s possible that this friendship is shifting and isn’t going to be that close. That happens. It’s also possible your friend has a reason you don’t know about.

So I don’t think you’re overreacting in feeling this way, but in the long run, it might be better to let it go.
posted by FencingGal at 12:29 PM on August 18, 2018 [8 favorites]

An round-trip uber ride costs $30, so I wouldn't really equate it with driving myself. I have the money but that's also how much the event ticket costs. I just feel like I'd rather use that money to pay for a friend's meal instead of the uber.
Yeah, that's what a car costs, especially when you don't own a car. Just take the Lyft and enjoy the outing. Were you spending $30 paying for your friend's meal?

This reminds me of the line you cross into adulthood when you hire professionals to move, rather than lean on your friends that own trucks. The sooner you do so the better. You have an unexpected emergency? I'm there for you. Invite me to an event and then ask me for a ride to it? And we aren't even that close any more? Thanks no thanks.
posted by cjdavis at 12:30 PM on August 18, 2018 [46 favorites]

I've had friendships where the give felt one-way, and I think maybe that's what you are feeling here. It isn't a nice feeling.

Still, I'm still close with those (less reciprocating?) friends, and I wouldn't have it any other way. That's who they are; I love them despite their flaws, just as they manage to love me.

I've realized that not everyone views friendship exactly as I view it. Of course, I think that my way is "better," but fortunately I don't have Hermione's wand to magic them into copies of me.
posted by Chasuk at 12:32 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm Asian and have friends who offer me this all the time because we are helpful and a community, and this includes non-Asian friends. I make a gigantic ass deal everytime I ask for a favor or they offer me one because that's how those types of relationships are supported, and do my best to offer as much everytime. You two aren't close enough to have an adult conversation about why this isn't working out, that's the larger problem. If she feels it's imposing, then you two need to talk directly about why this isn't working.

When I had an ex friend who I thought imposed and mooched off of me, it's because they never immediately offered a way of compensating the favor immediately, so I felt used. Did you do that? There were several other points to their behavior that came off as entitled, and it is because they didn't express how much consideration and appreciation and affirmation for what it would take and expected me to say yes. Look up ask vs guess culture and see if you are being affirming enough of the labor provided.
posted by yueliang at 12:32 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

No more threadsitting, but I want to defend myself on this point:

"Invite me to an event and then ask me for a ride to it? And we aren't even that close any more? Thanks no thanks."

@cjdavis: I think that's a very unfair characterization. She asked me to hang out to again, so I found a thing we could do together. I wrote that in my original post.

I didn't make this clear in the post, but I don't really care about the event that much. She's expressed interest in it previously because she's never seen it before. So when I saw that it was happening in our area I thought it would be a great suggestion.

I don't actually care about the event that much because I've seen the performance before (she knows this) but she hasn't.

@yueliang: I try and compensate as much as possible with gifts or food or otherwise I try not to rely on people as much as possible. But it's possible I'm still not doing enough.
posted by bluelight at 12:42 PM on August 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

A couple thoughts — just because you’d rather use that Uber money to pay for a meal doesn’t mean that she would. She could have any number of reasons to not want to spend another hour (estimating, the actual time doesn’t matter) playing chauffeur when there’s a legitimate alternative, and she’s under no obligation to explain. Is the fact that she’s chosen not to share these reasons with you really what’s bothering you?
posted by cgg at 12:42 PM on August 18, 2018 [20 favorites]

You are in control of this narrative because you don't really know what she's thinking. You could choose to view it in the best possible light (she has valid reasons for not wanting to drive but would like to go to this event) or you can view it in a negative way. The only choice you really have in front of you is: do you want to take an Uber and have a night out with this friend or not?

I suppose you could offer the halfway option: take an Uber (or a bus) and meet her at her work and then go to the event together. That removes the logistics hustle from her plate and makes it a little easier on everyone. It means she doesn't have to alter her work schedule to either leave earlier or whatever. That end of day/dinner time/commute can be a time of anxiety and conflicting logistics! Maybe that's what's behind her hesitation to add a pickup.

If you do offer the halfway option, ask about getting a ride home and you'll spring for drinks or dinner.
posted by amanda at 12:51 PM on August 18, 2018 [7 favorites]

Am I being too entitled?

If you're asking for a favor which you do not feel entitled to, it would stand to reason that you will reasonably accept that the other party has the option and right to decline without significant negative consequence.

If you are feeling entitled to something you are asking for, then it stands to reason the other party does not have the option or right to decline, but is required to do something for you, or there will be negative consequences.

So the question of whether you are feeling too entitled depends on the actual situation: does your friend have the option or right to make a choice about giving you a ride without resulting in negative consequences, or not?

The other details (whether the response varies based on cultural factors, whether the friend can afford, in either time, money, or energy, to provide a ride, or if you've offered to pay for a meal in exchange for services, are just that: details. They don't change the fundamental question for you to answer: does your friend have the agency and option to do as she pleases, or is she somehow required to do your bidding, therefore justifying your feelings of being betrayed or otherwise letdown?
posted by Goblin Barbarian at 12:58 PM on August 18, 2018 [16 favorites]

I'd also be upset. You flew all the way from Korea, and she can't be bothered to drive an extra half hour to hang out? I don't think you're the one being inconsiderate here. Seeing a friend from out of country does take extra work, but it's worth it. I'd just cancel and spend your limited time home with someone who will appreciate it more.
posted by valoius at 12:58 PM on August 18, 2018 [11 favorites]

@cjdavis: I think that's a very unfair characterization. She asked me to hang out to again, so I found a thing we could do together.
Fair enough, on reread I'm a little too blunt there, and I think it's colored by a couple of relationships I've had over the years where I realized I only heard from them when they wanted something from me.

Thinking a bit more, I've used ride services numerous times as have my friends, and I've said something like, "Ok, great I'll grab a Lyft and see you there." If they then offer to pick me up or drop me off after, awesome, and I owe them asap. This makes it something they can freely give if they wish, not something I'm asking of them.
posted by cjdavis at 1:04 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

Maybe she has something to do before or after, and she doesn't want to discuss it for whatever reason (e.g., a date, an AA meeting, etc.).
posted by unknowncommand at 1:04 PM on August 18, 2018 [13 favorites]

Thanks for clarifying - I would personally then lean in the best direction possible and try to secure your own way to the event. I think it is strange for a friend to not tell you why, but unless you are willing to get into the whole "hey have I done anything to bother you or can I support with something right now" it's probably best to just assume the best. I don't think it's strange for you to think it's weird - I currently don't have my car right now so my best friend that's flying home, I have to tell them that I'll need them to drive over here to hang out for those reasons. Communicating needs is important. Do you have "acts of service" as a love language? That could influence how you see this too, possibly.
posted by yueliang at 1:25 PM on August 18, 2018

I do a lot of favors for my friends but I think you are a bit unfair to your friend here.

If she is coming to this event right after work she might be tired and as mentioned above she might be a nervous driver. You just cannot know. Also, sometimes leaving just fifteen minutes later can mean a much worse traffic. But whatever reasons she has, the most important thing here is that you are asking for a favor. Asking for a favor is not entitled if you are prepared that the answer might be "no" AND if you are willing to accept this answer *graciously*.

Right now you are not being very gracious towards your friend. You are annoyed that you might be forced to spend 30 dollars and that you'd prefer to spend that on a meal for this friend.
That may well be but she might just not care about a meal.

I think by asking you if Uber is an option she is feeling you out - she is not saying "no" directly. But she is signalling pretty clearly that she is not super eager to do that.

Maybe the reason you feel so annoyed is that it's hard to be reliant on someone else when abroad. It's a vulnerable feeling and I have been there myself.

Personally, I think it would be really sad to cut off a friend over this. Friendship is a precious thing, even if it's no longer very close.
posted by M. at 1:44 PM on August 18, 2018 [19 favorites]

You feel what you feel, but I think you're getting a fairly strong consensus here that your friend is well within her rights and that you should find your own transportation and not worry too much about it.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:47 PM on August 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

As others have noted, there are a lot of reasons she may not want to provide transportation for you and she’s under no obligation to do so. I can understand being frustrated, even annoyed about it. But to want to cancel plans and distance yourself from her over it is a complete overreaction on your part.
posted by _Mona_ at 1:48 PM on August 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

From your question: "there is nothing wrong with her car and her financial situation"

None of us knows what goes on behind closed doors - she might be in debt and that extra mileage would be a burden or maybe the car isn't as reliable as you believe and she doesn't want to rely on it with a passenger. Or maybe she's a secret smoker and doesn't want to drive without a nicotine fix.

It's so kind of you to organize this event, try and go that one step further and set your annoyance to one side - as others have said, good friends are hard to find, it would be a shame to lose a friendship over this.
posted by humph at 1:49 PM on August 18, 2018 [2 favorites]

"If I take an Uber to your office so we can drive out again, can you give me a lift home?"

< No >

"Aww. Well thanks anyway but I can't really make it work. I'm disappointed I won't get to hang out with again this trip!"

And then let it go.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:06 PM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm someone who doesn't drive and also has ethical issues with Uber/Lyft (and for fun, lives in a city where taxis are unreliable and public transport sometimes not available very late), so I really do sympathize. It makes my life so much easier when a friend offers to take me to/from places, and I'm very grateful and happy to chip in gas money or buy dinner or whatever. But I would rarely actually ask, and if I did, I wouldn't feel that they owed me an explanation if they declined.

Which isn't to say that my social standards are the "right" ones and yours are wrong, necessarily, only to say that reasonable people can disagree here and your friend has not done something that everyone would agree is unambiguously wrong or rude. I think you should try to set the annoyance aside and just look at whether there is another way for you to get to/from the event reasonably. If not, then maybe you should just cancel. If your annoyance has faded by your next visit, you can try again to get together. If not, then maybe your friendship has reached a natural ending point and you can just let it fade out.
posted by Stacey at 2:40 PM on August 18, 2018 [8 favorites]

I think M. and Stacey have it and have communicated it better than I did ❤️
posted by yueliang at 3:03 PM on August 18, 2018

I don't think that it's reasonable to expect someone else to chauffeur you when you are an adult: your transportation is your responsibility. You asked, she said no, both of those things are fine. No one owes you a favor.
posted by medusa at 3:10 PM on August 18, 2018 [13 favorites]

Thanks all. I'm going to mark this question as resolved.

I'll take a lyft (I don't want to ask for another ride even if I meet her at the office) but writing this out has helped a lot. I'm confident it's not her car or finances (she actually brought up how great both of them were when we last met esp. since her mom gifted the car to her earlier this year) or secret AA meetings or anything like that, but it is very likely that she'll be tired after work and just doesn't want to drive more than she needs to, which is entirely reasonable.

And, one of the answers here made me realize why I was annoyed. It's not about the rides or money. I was really hurt by the bluntness of her response. And I know people here say well, she's not obligated to explain, and I'd 100% feel the same way if she were an acquaintance...

But maybe it's a cultural difference or it's the friends I've surrounded myself with now but it just seemed like a really cold response from someone I consider a friend. And I know this hasn't been the first time I've felt like this with her, and I don't feel that way with my other female friends who feel like sisters and I feel like they can ask me anything and vice versa and there's no awkwardness or weird feelings if the answer is no. So, I get it, it's my fault that I feel weird and I probably have friendship/communication expectations because we go way back to 7th grade.

But now I realize we're just never going to be close because we're too different and there is this distance I feel and I don't feel comfortable broaching this topic with her. Honestly, she feels more like an acquaintance than a friend now. And I don't think it's worth trying to get closer since I don't think she would do the same for me. I'm not cutting her out from my life, just changing my expectations.

// diary
posted by bluelight at 3:39 PM on August 18, 2018 [9 favorites]

I've had friends in the past who would ask for rides (in these cases people who could've driven themselves but didn't want to, back before the Uber era) and say, “We can leave whenever you want!” but actually decide they want to leave earlier than the people they've traveled with and fuss about leaving. Maybe something similar happened to your friend once or twice since the last time you've seen them and that's made them apprehensive about all the potential fallout of giving people rides.
posted by XMLicious at 3:52 PM on August 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

Let me say that I don’t think you’re out of line.

My personal feeling is that ‘get an uber’ is an infuriating response to a request to share a ride with a ‘friend’.

I can explain my reasons via meMail if you’re interested.
posted by SaltySalticid at 3:55 PM on August 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don’t drive and have always relied on rides from friends (fwiw Uber has helped me be way more independent). The older people get, the more driving becomes a huge chore. I have very old and dear friends who are FAMOUS for being weird about giving people a lift. Think of it as a boundary that you just have to accept with some people. Keeping friendships going is a lot easier when you accept boundaries.
posted by cakelite at 4:23 PM on August 18, 2018 [10 favorites]

I would agree with most of the answers if she were a colleague or acquaintance and you were asking for a favor. But she’s a friend and you’re asking for a ride to the event you’re attending together! And you’re in town visiting from far away and she can’t be bothered to put herself out just a little for a friend? I find this rude. If you lived in the area and had no car and were always asking for rides, that would be one thing. But that’s not the situation you’re in.

If I liked this friend a lot outside of this aspect of things, I’d try to accept that she just isn’t willing to inconvenience herself at all for a friend. No friend is perfect, after all. But if I felt that I’d spend the event feeling resentful over this, I’d just cancel, cut my losses, and spend the limited time in town with people grateful enough to see me that they’d be willing to drive an extra few minutes for me. I mean, sheesh.
posted by sunflower16 at 5:02 PM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

I hang out quite frequently with a friend who lives very close to me, and whenever we all go out with our friend group she always finds a way to get there herself (makes sense, since she and I have our individual schedules). However, at the end of the night, she ALWAYS prepares to call a Lyft/uber to get home, even though I have said on numerous occasions that I don’t mind giving her a ride. I really do appreciate that she never assumes that she can get a ride and is prepared with a way to go get home herself, so she never feels like she has to “bug” people. Of course, I don’t think it’s an imposition at all and would gladly driver her home every time, but I think the fact that she is prepared for the answer to be no really makes it less of a thing. Because sometimes that’s just what the answer is, for whatever reason.

I don’t think it matters trying to figure out -why- she said no (frankly the whole thing about her being financially fine and the road not being scary, etc is irrelevant), it’s within her right to do so. I know sometimes I’m extra tired or want to have the freedom to come/go when I please and this affects the ride situation. I think it’s just easier when asking for favors to have a plan b and accept that you might have to take care of things yourself, I try to do this too to relieve anxiety over the weird territory friendship favors can wander into.
posted by sprezzy at 5:21 PM on August 18, 2018 [5 favorites]

You asked her to go out of her way to do you a favor.

For whatever reason (and it doesn’t matter),
she did not want to do that.
She suggested an easy alternative.
(I mean how else were you planning on getting to the event if not asking someone be your un-paid taxi cab?)
This person is not your personal car service nor your mom relied upon to take you to soccer practice, but that’s the entitled impression that’s coming across.

It’s only thirty dollars.

Let it go, because if you hold onto this like a grudge, it’s only going to make you look really really small to your friend—like “Next time you visit, don’t bother calling me.”-small.
posted by blueberry at 5:27 PM on August 18, 2018 [14 favorites]

It sounds like it would take about an extra hour of driving for her to drive you to and from and event? That to me is a big ask on a work day and depending on my enthusiasm for the event would seem like too much effort to me if I wasn't super into the whole deal.

Maybe your friendship is faltering anyway but I think her hesitation to respond and then suggestion of an uber is a sign that she's feeling conflicted, not that she's trying to be blunt and rude. She might be working on assertiveness and had to consciously edit her response to be less explainy and defensive, or maybe she's just busy.

I live a couple hours away from my best friends and sometimes I have been hurt when I feel like they're not putting themselves in my shoes as the visitor when I go to see them but aren't we all pretty busy and stressed in our daily lives to begin with? If this friend doesn't reciprocate the gestures you make to her in any way then yes you should feel hurt but I wouldn't put it all on this one thing. When I make asks of my friends (who are wonderful lifelong friends) I put it like "I'd love to see you, can we ______? If not no worries I can take an uber/get an airbnb/meet you after".

I see later on that you've said you feel a distance with her, I would do your best not to take it personally and if you don't enjoy spending time with her to let it go, but if you do try to watch your judgments it might not be about you.
posted by lafemma at 5:34 PM on August 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

This reminds me of the line you cross into adulthood when you hire professionals to move, rather than lean on your friends that own trucks.

So I actually think this money-for-time switch is actually at the crux of your disagreement. Because there is a point in life - definitely when you’re young and a young adult, but often later - where you have far more time than money, such that things like driving an extra hour to avoid spending 30$ makes a lot of sense and wouldn’t be weird. And there’s also a point in life when you have more money than free time, such that it’s way more normal to rent your own uhaul than ask a friend with a truck, for example.

And those lines used to be determined by adulthood - such that once you were working a 40-hour-a-week job, you were in the category that you should be renting a uhaul and paying for your own transportation somewhere or renting your own car or getting your own rides from the airport.

But the economy crashed, and so 30$ is right at the edge where for some people it’s nothing money and for some people that’s four hours of a paycheck, and those equations just don’t work well anymore, and very few people are talking about these things. Like - you say your friend doesn’t need the money, but do you? You treated for lunch, often the sign of someone for whom money is not an issue, but then you don’t want to spend the equivalent amount on an Uber. My suspicion is that 30$ isn’t nothing money to you, but you don’t want to tell your friend that, and so your friend is making the decision without adequate information - and for her it looks weird and shifty and like you are being penny pinching and don’t value her time or energy.

Because this stuff is super hard. I never begrudge a ride to someone I know needs it even if it’s an hour out of my way, but I do begrudge it if someone I know can easily afford an Uber does, because my time and exhaustion are real and that’s one more hour of sleep I could be getting and we all work so hard and have such long commutes these days.
posted by corb at 6:47 PM on August 18, 2018 [18 favorites]

I hate driving. Hate it. Every day that passes I hate it more. It contributes in a very real way to my stress load. You bet I'm going to resent being asked to drive an extra hour just because someone else would rather spend their money on something else. I'd rather spend my time and energy on something else too! And after a day of work? On unfamiliar roads? Nope. I'm going to say no, and be annoyed at having been put in the situation of having to say no to a friend.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:30 PM on August 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

I think your reflection on the fact that you're just not that close compared to your other friends will help you feel less hurt about. I don't think you're overreacting. My close friends and I like to drive to places together if it makes sense. When I would visit friends who lived in a different city, they'd pick me up from the train station and drive me around the whole time. We never even discussed my paying for a ride. I don't even think I offered to pay for gas or anything extra! It was just an unsaid thing that we did for each other as friends. When they visited me, I'd reciprocate. So I think that your friendship with her is just different from your friendship with your friends who follow a different friendship "code." Don't worry that you got upset. I would have too. But, also, like you said later on, it'll also help if you just let it go.
posted by jj's.mama at 11:45 PM on August 18, 2018 [3 favorites]

I want to correct something because it's kind of driving me nuts.

It's not an extra hour of driving folks. It'd be 30 minutes out of her way. My house is closer to her house than her workplace.

Yes, that detail is important to me because I would not ask someone to go out of their way for an hour for me, but would ask someone who I consider a close friend if it were 30 minutes.

Yes, she has every right to refuse. Yes, I understand a lot of you people answering/reading here hate driving or have been asked for rides and have resented that.

Yes, I think my initial response was an overreaction. I later realized (thanks to this thread) my annoyance was not because she refused but it was the way she refused; it wasn't a response I'd expect from a friend, which is not a term I use lightly, because I had thought we were close enough for her to tell me why she felt uncomfortable or didn't want to do something.

No, I will never ask this person for a ride or a favor ever again.
posted by bluelight at 4:14 AM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

I don't think you're overreacting. I have been in similar situations on both sides and my friends and I help each other out by giving each other rides. It's not a big deal and it's extra time to spend with a friend who you don't see often--some of our best conversations have happened in the car.
posted by Polychrome at 4:37 AM on August 19, 2018

[OP, Ask Metafilter isn't for back and forth discussion or debating your points; some answers will feel useful, some will not, which is just how this whole thing works, so please relax and focus on whatever seems helpful. Your feelings are your feelings, and this is simply a way to get various perspectives. You don't need to justify yourself.]
posted by taz (staff) at 6:06 AM on August 19, 2018 [6 favorites]

My very best friend in the whole world is the same way as your friend. I recognize that there's an imbalance between the little favors we do for one another, but I accept it. I get a little miffed, but the fact is, everyone has different values and expectations. You can't expect someone to conform to your values, and you have to decide whether you can accept friends who are willing to go to different lengths.

At the end of the day, I love and value my best friend, so it would be 200% worth it to me to spend the extra money to Lyft in this situation.

I'd expect even less from someone I only saw once a year.

Lastly, as a general life rule, it's often worth a small expense not to have to be indebted to others.
posted by aquamvidam at 7:34 AM on August 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

OP, the way you've been kind of defensive about how far out of the way it is (down to offering exact time limits on the friend's detour) reveal that have framed this whole thing in terms of transactions (beginning with the backstory about what you've done for this friend, how you'd paid for lunch,etc) rather than friendly, no-strings favors. Again: you can't know everything in the time frame (maps, for example, might not reveal a hideous intersection that your friend doesn't want to deal with, or other traffic minutiae that people who live there year round will recognize). Let it go, take the Lyft/taxi, and focus on enjoying the event rather than resenting your friend.
posted by TwoStride at 8:01 AM on August 19, 2018 [21 favorites]

Maybe I missed it somewhere, but did you give her gas money when she gave you a ride the first time? If not, that might be the reason why she doesn't want to this time.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 11:48 AM on August 19, 2018 [1 favorite]

You should break up.

Your friend and you have drifted apart and here you are with 8 paragraphs and 3 lengthy additional details trying to convince strangers that a $30 ride is an imposition.
posted by Kwadeng at 10:50 PM on August 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

I entirely agree with the above re: you're allowed to be annoyed about anything you want, it's fine to feel feelings. But regarding specifically these two comments:

I think I would be less annoyed if she had at least tried to make some excuse as to why she doesn't want to give me a lift. To preempt comments about her car/gas money, there is nothing wrong with her car and her financial situation is perfectly fine

a) I don't give "excuses" when I am asked to do something I feel I can't do at that time and in that place (even if normally I'd be happy to do it), because many people (maybe not you!) see that as an invitation to help me problem-solve so I can give them what they need, when what I am actually trying to communicate is that I already know I cannot give them what they need, so they should focus their excellent problem-solving skills on finding a non-me solution to their problem*; and
b) You absolutely do not know her financial situation. You just don't. You know what she's been willing to share, but you don't know what she hasn't been willing to share, and you don't know what the balance is between those two things.

I say all this as someone who would often give the requested ride, but sometimes I won't or can't, and I expect my friends to work with that situation without it being a Thing or requiring detailed information about why I can't or won't. So my vote is feel your feelings, it's great that you're aware of them, but don't put the onus on your friend to solve your feelings in place of solving your ride, that's not a great look.

*and maybe you're feeling that frustration the other way around? Like, you were just asking her for a favor, not to help you find the right alternate solution if she couldn't do it.
posted by solotoro at 6:59 AM on August 20, 2018 [3 favorites]

Perhaps being hurt by the bluntness of her response comes from the feeling of rejection and assuming the worst of her reasons? If you are questioning ending your friendship, I would maybe first casually ask her why she wasn't available for carpooling, and would she have agreed if you paid for her gas, or if it was one way. I'm sure it's one of the reasons people listed here though.

As for me, 30 extra minutes of driving is a long distance to go out of the way for any friend. 15 minutes is my limit. I would even
rather pay for their Uber to not have to drive further. It would also depend on the driving conditions (day vs night and highway vs back roads) and if I wanted to be able to leave the event any time or go somewhere after or before, and how tired I am.
posted by LovingMyself at 8:54 AM on August 20, 2018

I think I would be less annoyed if she had at least tried to make some excuse as to why she doesn't want to give me a lift.

Were you looking for something more like "I'm really sorry, but I can't. Would you be able to take an Uber?" I used to apologize for everything, even when it was not my fault and when I didn't have an obligation to do something. I've realized that saying sorry makes people change their expectations of me, because they started believing I had a reason to be sorry. Wanting a sympathetic apology or some kind of excuse that would explain why she couldn't do something implies that you think she's obligated to give you a ride, because you think that is something close friends should do.

it wasn't a response I'd expect from a friend, which is not a term I use lightly, because I had thought we were close enough for her to tell me why she felt uncomfortable or didn't want to do something.

No, I will never ask this person for a ride or a favor ever again.

Did you ask her though? Or did you expect her to read your mind to know that you wanted a reason? Like I mentioned, an excuse or reason of why she can't do something for you would imply she had an obligation. She isn't obligated, especially when she doesn't know how important it is to you. I think it's a bit much to never ask her for a ride or favor again based on this. She had gone 15 minutes out of the way for you before, so maybe she has the same limit as I do. Maybe you have something you wouldn't go out of the way for her, that she would go out of the way for you. Like I mentioned in the earlier post, I'd rather pay for a friend's Uber. If I were your friend and you explained you were low on cash or something, I would maybe suggest a one-way trip, find another friend to take you, or help chip in for the Uber - that way you get your ride, and I get my time back because I value time more than money. Consider your friend has different values and other things she would do for friends. It doesn't mean she thinks any less of you as a friend.
posted by LovingMyself at 9:38 AM on August 20, 2018 [6 favorites]

I think I would be less annoyed if she had at least tried to make some excuse as to why she doesn't want to give me a lift. .... I later realized (thanks to this thread) my annoyance was not because she refused but it was the way she refused.

This is so subjective, it almost seems like an ask-vs.-guess thing. If I asked a favor I'd just like the person to say yes or no so I could plan accordingly. If they made up an excuse, I would feel as though they couldn't be honest with me for some reason, and I would not feel close to them at all. So it makes sense that you were annoyed by "the way she refused" if you are more of a guess/save-face type and she is more of an ask/straightforward type. But understanding the two approaches may be beneficial even if it doesn't affect this event.

No, I will never ask this person for a ride or a favor ever again.

That's your prerogative, of course.
posted by headnsouth at 9:51 AM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

I suggested an event and she was into it. I recently asked her if she could pick me up after she's done work and then drop me off after the event.

It sounds like you made plans with your friend to attend the event, but did not bring up the idea of her picking you up during the initial planning.

Sometimes people get rides with others, or are already in the part of town where they will be going to an event, or are able to borrow a car for an evening. It's not your friends job to keep track of what your transportation plan is. If you wanted her picking you up to be part of what your plan was, you should have said something when you suggested the event so your friend could decide if that would work for her, instead of saying yes and being blindsided later that you have such a high assumption that she will give you a ride as for it to be a major deciding factor in your friendship.

I tried to phrase it apologetically and not aggressively or in any kind of entitled manner whatsoever

Perhaps your friend, instead of listening to the specific words, judged whether you were acting in an entitled manner based on your behavior.
posted by yohko at 6:34 PM on August 20, 2018 [1 favorite]

Anyway, after I asked if she'd be willing to pick me up or drop me off (I tried to phrase it apologetically and not aggressively or in any kind of entitled manner whatsoever)

This is another example of how apologizing indicates obligation. This is also an example of the "guess" in the "ask vs. guess" culture. You asked in a apologetic manner, insinuating to your friend that you are sorry for springing this question on her and giving her an obligation. On the other hand, in "ask" culture, the question would have not been asked in an apologetic manner because there are no expectations of how the other person should reply. In "ask" culture, you have no reason to sound apologetic for asking because your friend would know she's free to say yes or no without any guilt. Also, you later deciding to never ask her for anything again might imply "guess" culture of only asking if an affirmative answer is guaranteed. Personally, I think "ask" culture avoids lots of confusion and hurt because there are no implied expectations or mind-reading. "Guess" culture seems to work better with families who know each other well.
posted by LovingMyself at 6:52 AM on August 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

I'm responding, albeit after hours, because I feel bad that you may have felt misunderstood here. I think the reason you're probably so annoyed is the following: you're home once a year and obviously value maintaining friendships. You treated your friend to lunch and some nice gifts and aren't even overselling that (specifying with honesty that they weren't very expensive, just little tokens). But it was still showing generosity and was a nice thing to do. Your friend wanted to meet up again before you head back to Korea and so you suggested an event that you've already seen but knew she was interested in. This was thoughtful: you were prioritizing her interests and enjoyment. You don't have a car whilst visiting and are dependent either on public transport or friends for getting around whilst home. Asking for a lift in this case isn't an issue of stinginess, rather need, because you've made clear you'd have been quite happy to pay for gas or for another meal and would gladly give lifts to friends if the situation was reversed. You don't like asking for favours of this friend anyway - doing so leaves you on edge - and you seem scrupulous about not being presumptuous, which means you've taken into consideration that the distance isn't too much of an imposition (I've worked out that it would be an additional twelve minutes, not thirty, to pick you up on the way, versus just going there directly herself). Your friend bluntly asked if you couldn't take an Uber instead, which probably felt like a slap down, after which you became weirded out by resulting annoyance that seemed like a complete overreaction.

Many of the responses you've gotten here will probably drive you up the wall and into doing a Fred Astaire number on the ceiling because what translates for you as an anxious desire not to overstep - keeping track that you're being a good enough friend, outlining the circumstances you were aware of before you made your request - have, ironically, instead been interpreted as the relationship potentially being more transactional for your friend than she'd like, you being presumptuous about someone's finances, or you getting shirty because someone won't cede to your request. Is an individual obligated to give you a lift when you ask? No. Does an individual owe you an explanation when refusing? No. Is your problem related to this? No, I don't think so. I think you are simply likely feeling a lack of reciprocity in a friendship, are trying to identify why, and one teensy, tiny - inconsequential from others' perspectives - incident is highlighting a potential pattern or underlying issue that's been bothering you over a longer period.

As most have said and you very reasonably agreed once your initial hurt had blown over, your friend may have valid reasons for not wishing to give you a lift and equally valid ones for not wanting to outline them. But I'd evaluate how the friendship is leaving you feeling overall and reduce expectations (or even simply hopes) where necessary. In your ideal world, you'd behave as you've done to date and your friend would then appreciate that you were accompanying her to an event you've already seen, were making time to catch up with her when home, had brought her back tokens from Korea, and treated her for her birthday. Even if none of these things fit with the language of care that your friend uses in relationships herself, one can at least understand that these are the efforts another person might use to say "Our bond means something". The friend would then try to reciprocate in her own way, either by agreeing to a lift or else saying, "That doesn’t work for me. I know you don't have your own transport when you're home though. Are you okay for getting there and back? Should we find something closer that's a better fit for both of us?" In other words, she would at least care enough to notice such details. Sometimes that is literally all someone else needs. The end result might be the same - you get an Uber to the event - but you'd feel secure and 'felt' in the friendship. She doesn't have to apologise or offer a reason, but I think you'd just like to feel that she cared about and valued you, rather than worry she was judging you with blinders on, thinking, "Well, I already gave you a fifteen minute lift somewhere already this visit...".

I do think there's a cultural component to it as someone mentioned upthread. 'Life, Inc.' by Douglas Rushkoff examines how corporatism has managed to create societies in which individuals pay for the things that would once have been supported by social networks and bonds. Such societies certainly have appeal because, within the bounds of the law, nobody is obligated to anybody else, nobody has to explain themselves to friends if refusing a favour, the agency of the individual has primacy, everyone should be regarded as free to do "just as they please", anything else is just so many details, and nobody has to worry about working out what's a fair exchange. It is, admittedly, much more convenient and less hassle in the short run; it can also be far colder and lonelier long-term.
posted by Lilypod at 7:28 AM on August 21, 2018 [4 favorites]

You are visiting from overseas, you've given up precious luggage space for (thoughtful) gifts for her, you'd bought her lunch, you'd (thoughtfully) planned the date doing something she's been wanting to do. The least she could do is give you a short ride - and if not, be nice and thoughtful about it. I hate driving and I am still firmly Team You.
posted by rada at 11:02 AM on August 21, 2018

No, I will never ask this person for a ride or a favor ever again.

For the record, I feel like this is an overreaction.
posted by Tarumba at 1:35 PM on August 24, 2018 [3 favorites]

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