Dear Amy: Recently my daughter-in-law asked my wife to drive her and her two little kids to the airport (100 miles away) using our car.

Mind you, the daughter-in-law has a brand-new $50,000 SUV, but wanted my wife to drive OUR car to the airport. This would leave me without a car to drive in case I needed it.

The daughter-in-law didn’t offer to let me use her car while my wife was doing this favor for her.

So I took off in our car the morning of the trip to go shopping and do some errands.

I told my wife to drive the daughter-in-law’s car, as it is newer, safer, and with all the newest gadgets for safety for the kids, etc.

Now the daughter-in-law and my wife are mad at me because she had to use her car to get to the airport.

I feel she is selfish and taking advantage of my wife and our car. She says she didn’t want to drive her new SUV in city traffic.

Should I have to pay for wear and tear on my car so the daughter-in-law can keep her new expensive SUV without using it?

Nobody is listening to me, so I am looking for a third party to weigh in.

Amy says: Well, you might want to keep looking for another opinion, because, in my opinion, what you did was really obnoxious.

When was the last time you took two young children by yourself on a plane? (I’m guessing, never.) The morning of a trip is extremely stressful. Your passive-aggressive behavior really threw a spanner into the proceedings.

Your daughter-in-law and your wife had made an arrangement that you didn’t like, and so, rather than talk to them both about it and staking your (rightful) claim to your family’s car, you simply took it, leaving them scrambling the morning of the trip.

It seems disingenuous for you to pretend not to understand why they are mad at you now.

I am assuming that your daughter-in-law might have been nervous about your wife driving her new, powerful, unfamiliar vehicle alone on the way back from the airport. It’s not just that designer SUVs are expensive, but a BMW and a Buick are distinctly different vehicles to operate.

Regardless of your daughter-in-law’s reasoning, I do agree with you in a basic sense about the use of the cars.

I completely agree with them, however, about your behavior. Badly done.

Friendly fiction

Dear Amy: I have a friend who vastly overstates her life and professional qualifications. She isn’t applying for a job, so no harm done, but she talks all the time about this and that thing, which I know never happened.

I feel co-opted if I keep silent. However, I do not know how to respond without getting into futile arguments. She seems absolutely resolved to maintain these fictions. What should I do?

Amy says: If your friend’s constant dissembling makes you feel like a stooge, then tell her. You should absolutely correct the record if her story involves you, directly.

Understand, however, that some people exaggerate to the extent that they actually hold onto a different truth. They create a story in order to be more entertaining, memorable, and to feed a needy ego.

True friends are both tolerant and truthful regarding behavior that has a direct impact on them. During a reflective moment, you could tell her, “We often remember the same event very differently. I’d like to remind you that I think you are enough, just as you are.”

 

Send questions to Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com.