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Dear Abby: I’m tired of being a chauffer for other lazy parents’ kids

Dear Abby counsels a woman who is fed up driving other people's children.
Dear Abby counsels a woman who is fed up driving other people's children.

DEAR ABBY: Am I obligated to give people a free ride just because I am going to the same place or in the same direction? Too often people who barely speak to us suddenly remember we exist when they want something, especially if they or their child needs a ride somewhere.

Sometimes, they give lame excuses like, “Oh. I’m almost out of gas.” Other times it’s that they have chosen to do something else — like go to a party — instead of picking up their child. I don’t mind helping occasionally, but it’s to the point where I feel these people know they can do whatever else they wish because they know I’ll pick up the slack. I’m tired of being the chauffeur. I don’t want to make waves, but how can I say no? — UNHAPPY DRIVER IN LOUISIANA

DEAR DRIVER: Here’s how. The next time you feel imposed upon, speak up and just say NO, that it isn’t convenient. Do not feel obligated to go into detail or lie about why not. If this makes waves, it means that your relationship with that person wasn’t friendship, but transactional.

DEAR ABBY: A relative is getting married, and the RSVP date has passed. It was announced many months ago and was to be a big, formal church wedding, with eight or nine groomsmen and bridesmaids, a flower girl and ring bearer, followed by a reception.

On the last day of the RSVP deadline, the couple sent out a postcard stating: “Change of plans! After much consideration, we have decided to have a private wedding ceremony. Meet at the reception as planned.”

I think it’s extremely rude and presumptuous to be expected to travel a great distance at a hefty expense only to find out that guests are now excluded from the actual wedding. I’m trying to make sense of this awkward situation. Any advice? — LEFT AT THE DOOR

DEAR LEFT: Yes, I do have a bit of advice for you. Because you are unhappy with the change of plans and find them to be “rude and presumptuous,” send a congratulatory card to the happy couple that reads: “Change of plans: Sorry, we will be unable to attend your reception, but we wish you all the best!” (Their plans changed; so can yours.)

DEAR READERS: Happy St. Patrick’s Day.

May you always have

A sunbeam to warm you

Good luck to charm you

And a sheltering angel

So nothing can harm you.

Laughter to cheer you

Faithful friends near you

And whenever you pray,

Heaven to hear you.

LOVE, ABBY

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at http://www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.