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Commuter Trying to Be Nice Is Taken Advantage of By Co-Workers

DEAR ABBY: I have a problem saying no. I live 45 minutes from work, and because I'm a friendly person, people constantly ask me to give them rides. Today, two co-workers who live nowhere near me asked for rides home. (I already gave one a lift to work.) Another asked me to take him to the grocery store. I like being helpful, but this happens all the time and it's too much. Tonight I'll be more than an hour late getting home.

I was raised with a strong sense of moral obligation and good manners, but I'm tired and just want to go home. I feel guilty for even thinking this. What do I do? -- YES-GIRL IN THE EAST

DEAR YES-GIRL: You should not feel guilty for taking care of yourself. Saying no does not make you a bad person.

There are ways to get the message across without seeming heartless. One would be to tell the truth -- that you are too tired, you have something else planned or you don't want to be an hour late getting home. While it may seem uncomfortable in the beginning, with practice you will find it empowering.

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