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Miss Manners by Judith Martin, Nicholas Ivor Martin and Jacobina Martin

Son Avoiding Friend's Ride Home May Have Reasons Of His Own

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My 15-year-old son wishes to participate in an after-school activity that lets out at 4:30 p.m. My husband and I cannot always get to the school by 4:30 p.m. because of work.

A friend of his who lives down the road is participating, and I told my son he should see if he can hitch a ride home with his friend and walk home from his house.

He feels this is rude, and I cannot convince him otherwise -- you are the final word. I offered to talk to the parents, but he thinks that, too, is rude.

Is it rude to ask your friend to ride home with him? Or for me to ask the parents this?

GENTLE READER: As long as you promise to avoid words like "hitch," Miss Manners finds nothing rude in asking for a ride. Presumably it would be the parents of the other boy driving, so it is best for you to ask them directly: "On days that we aren't able to get to the school on time, would it be all right if Harrison rode home with you and walked from there?"

Do not abuse the privilege and do offer to reciprocate, driving or doing other favors, wherever you can.

But Miss Manners urges you to check with your son if there are other reasons that he might not want to infringe on his friend. If it is truly good manners, Miss Manners is happy to reassure him. But if there is another reason -- or he just prefers to be left to his own devices -- that might be a conversation worth having, before you hear about it from an alternate source.

(Please send your questions to Miss Manners at her website, www.missmanners.com; to her email, dearmissmanners@gmail.com; or through postal mail to Miss Manners, Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Teens | Etiquette & Ethics | Friends & Neighbors | Work & School