Q. I have a carpool dilemma with two friends who do not get along.
I have been participating in an athletic team’s summer carpool for almost five years now.
I drive my friends’ children to events in other towns and to practice. For the past two years in a row, at the end of the season, there has been a blowup from one of my friends about how she can’t stand the other friend, etc.
I have been thinking about this for over 10 months now and have decided that I do not want to be in the carpool any longer.
I have already told my one friend, and she understood. I have not told the other friend yet because I do not want to start a fight or drama.
Is there a way to end a carpool without starting a fight? I want to stay true to my gut feeling that ending this arrangement is the best thing for me and my family.
A. This person’s combative and dramatic nature is what is causing the problem in the first place, and so you should expect her to behave as she usually does.
Declining to be involved in something that causes you stress is not starting a fight. It is simply making a choice that is very much your right to make.
So make your statement. You do not have to offer rationales. You only need to say that you don’t want to carpool this year. If this causes a problem, then you have further justification that you are doing the right thing.
Q. Some of my college friends have graduated and acquired entry-level jobs in our respective fields.
One friend has always been a “spender,” and the rest of us are concerned about her financial future.
She depleted her savings account while studying abroad in college, then took out student loans for an expensive graduate program in a liberal arts discipline. She had a very difficult time finding a job, but now that she is making a modest salary, she is still living paycheck to paycheck without putting any money away.
When we saw her last weekend, we noticed all of her new purchases from the past few months, including an iPad, designer coat and clothing, accessories, and appliances.
She and her fiance are planning a wedding on her parents’ dime, and yet she is convinced that her parents have “more money than they let on” and will eventually pay off her debt and spring for a down payment on a house — so she’s not saving anything for those either.
Should one or more of us speak with her about her poor habits? Her fiance is more of a spender than she is, and the rest of us are concerned that 10 years from now, we’ll be hearing they are filing for bankruptcy.
A. Your friend is making choices. You don’t approve of these choices (I don’t, either), and if these choices have an impact on you, you can weigh in.
Otherwise you’ll have to wait for an opening. The next time she brags about a splurge, you can respond by asking, “Don’t you ever worry about your financial future?” She will say no (worrying about the future would interrupt her current habits), and you can respond by saying, “Well, I do. I worry about it quite a bit.”
Financial guru Suze Orman has written the perfect book for you and your cohort: “The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke” (2007, Riverhead). This would be a good investment.Amy Dickinson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.