Driving Miss Daisy


Dear Dharma,

One of my friends doesn’t have a car and I often drive her when she needs large things dumped or when she needs to go buy things that are not easy to carry.

The other day she asked if we could go to IKEA. I didn’t need anything but wanted to be a good friend. IKEA is not exactly around the corner, it’s at least a 30 minute drive.  When we were there, we had breakfast, which is super cheap and I was kinda miffed that she didn’t offer to cover mine. Oh well…

We then loaded up the big items she needed (I ended up doing all the heavy lifting) and decided to get some candy and chocolate on the way out. Mine came to $1.50 and still… no offer to pay mine as a thank you for driving.

All those trips have piled up now and I know as a friend I shouldn’t expect her to ‘pay’ me but seriously, I am paying for the gas and my time is valuable too. As a friend shouldn’t she at least offer to pay my coffee, candy, etc when I keep driving her? How can I address this without sounding pathetic?

Lost in IKEA

Dear IKEA,

Okay, I’ve just got to ask… do they serve those little meatballs at breakfast too, or is that just a lunch thing?  They should really serve them all the time.

Question One – should she make the offer, the gesture of appreciation for your time and chauffeuring services?  Yes.  Of course she should.  And wouldn’t it be great if things were just that simple?

Question Two – how can you address this without sounding pathetic?  Well, there are a few things you can do, but I have the feeling I am just going to end up offering you the Dharma special – that whole thing about not being able to change other people’s behavior, only your own.  But let’s see if we can come up with a few other possibilities first!

Let’s stick with the IKEA example… The next time she asks for a ride to the land of big yellow arrows and wordless instructions, would you feel comfortable saying, “Sure, no problem!  And I’d even let you buy me those little meatballs for breakfast!”

That way you are setting the standard and letting her know your expectations in a super lighthearted manner.  There are plenty of people in the world that simply don’t think to make the overture – it doesn’t mean they are terrible, it just means they think differently than you do.

If you are not comfortable with that option, you could always stop being her chauffeur.  If you can’t accept the probability that she isn’t going to do anything differently, then what else can you do without growing more and more resentful?

This isn’t about money, and it isn’t about time – it’s about being appreciated.  It’s about having a friend who acknowledges that you went out of your way with some small gesture.  And you are right to expect that.  Doesn’t mean you’re going to get it, but hey, knowing it is half the battle, right?

If you choose to continue driving Miss Daisy all over the place, and you choose not to change any of your own behaviours in the situation by lightly setting the expectation, then the only thing you can do is come to peace with the fact that she’s not going to do anything differently either.

And wait for it, wait for it…

The real truth in all of this is that you can’t change her behaviour, you can only change how you react to it.  You knew that was coming, I told you it was!  So either adjust your expectations, or stop putting yourself in a situation where she is going to continuously disappoint you.


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  • metoo says:

    Ugh… I have a friend like that and it really pi$$es me off to help her because I always feel taken advantage off 🙁 I will totally try that line and see if she picks up on it and does something nice for me.

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