DEAR ABBY: My boss, who recently separated and divorced from her husband, has moved within walking distance of work. The problem is that she can’t drive and her daughter has to be taken to and from school. I offered to help her with her daughter, but now she asks me to take her wherever she needs to go.
I’ve been accommodating and have been doing this for a few months, but she’s never offered me money for the gas in my car, even though she’s always bragging about all the things she’s ordered on the internet. I never offered to be her chauffeur.
I work third shift, which is hard enough, and I have to look after my own child during the day. How can I tell her it needs to stop without hurting her feelings? I’m close to losing control and swearing at her. Everyone I know tells me to quit and she’s just using me. — USED IN THE MIDWEST
PREFERRED: Explain to your boss (politely) that you were happy to help her out “temporarily” by arranging for her child to have transportation to and from school, but you have duties outside of work that preclude her from continuing to be considered to act as your chauffeur.
Then tell her that if you want to continue driving her child, you will need to be reimbursed for the fuel you use to do it – something she seems to have forgotten. Speaking out loud is neither rude nor hurtful; it’s called assertiveness.
DEAR ABBY: Should I be upset that my grandchildren have a step-grandfather who has no children of his own and constantly gives my grandchildren money and other gifts? I bought my 18 year old grandson a used car with the agreement that he would pay me back in installments when he started working. He did just that, and then he had a fender bender, so I helped him partially fix it. I made the same deal with him as before. I paid for the repairs; He paid me back again in installments.
Well, one of the doors has a big dent and won’t open. Now he has convinced his step-grandfather to buy a new car! My grandson doesn’t want to fix the door because it’s easier to get his step-grandfather to buy him another car. Should I be upset about this? What should I say to his step-grandfather? — Frustrated grandfather
DEAR GRANDFATHER: I can understand why you should be concerned. You tried not only to help your grandson, but also to teach him responsibility. His well-meaning step-grandfather gets involved. Be sure to discuss things with him because step-grandpa is being manipulated. If he really wants to help your grandson, he should think about giving him driving lessons.
DEAR ABBY: Isn’t it considered bad manners to comment on how long someone spends on the toilet? Several times when I was out with people at a restaurant or bar, someone would tell me, “That was quick!” as I returned to the table. I want to tell you that the comment is inappropriate. We would welcome any suggestions for an appropriate response that isn’t too snarky. — PRIVATE LADY IN GEORGIA
Dear private lady: Try this: Smile at the person and say, “I didn’t know you were watching my action!” (It’s better than saying, “That’s because I didn’t take the time to move my hands to wash. Would you like me to give you the bread?”)
Dear Abby was written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and created by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or PO Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.