Q: How do you turn down a friend or acquaintance asking for a ride in your car?


A: Many people will try to come up with reasons to get out of giving the ride — needing to run errands on the way, no gas, etc. We make up excuses for something we don’t want to do because saying no is difficult for most of us. The fear of being considered mean or rude paralyzes us and forces us into saying yes.

We need to learn to worry more about ourselves and less about what others think of us. A true friend will not hold this against you.

If someone is asking you for a ride — or any favor, for that matter — honesty is the best policy. Simply tell the person that you can’t. When you decline, they will continue looking elsewhere. They have moved on. You should move on, as well, and not let your decision drag you down.

JULES MARTINEZ HIRST, etiquette expert


A: Normally, I would come up with a list of excuses you could legitimately have if you didn’t want to share a ride with someone. But this isn’t about “want” anymore. In a time of social distancing, it’s best to look your friend in the eye via FaceTime/Zoom and say, “Nope.”

Your friends or acquaintances might not share your sense of boundaries, but that doesn’t matter. You have to make the boundary for yourself.

If the friend is disabled, immunocompromised or elderly and needs safe transportation for basic needs, ask if you can run the errand for them. Another alternative is to let your friend use your car. Just be sure to sanitize it when they return. Clean the steering wheel, door handles and even the keys.

CORRBETTE PASKO, Write Club host