DEAR HARRIETTE: I just recently got my driver's license and posted about it on Instagram. I’m one of the first in my grade to get it. Now, new people who I’ve never even talked to are reaching out for plans. I’ve always had trouble making friends, so it feels nice to be wanted. I just can’t help but think it has something to do with wanting a ride. How do I make sure the people reaching out aren’t just using me for my license? -- Feeling Used
DEAR FEELING USED: Your post served as an invitation to your peers -- at least to some of them. Sure, some may be looking at you opportunistically to get a ride. As long as you are clear about that, you may be able to use this moment to expand your friend group.
Look at the people who have reached out to you. Who among them is interesting to you? Who would you like to get to know better? Choose to respond privately to those who you find interesting and agree to do an activity together. See how it works. If the person is thoughtful and inclusive at whatever activity you two choose, repeat. If not, move on without getting your feelings hurt. Indeed, if the person dumps you at an event and really just used you to get there, let that person know that you are leaving at a particular time and they can find their own way home.
It may take some time before you figure out who is worth hanging out with, but you can approach it as an adventure. You have the car, so you can set the rules. For those who don’t want to follow your rules, you’ll see them in your rearview mirror.