DEAR HARRIETTE: My co-worker and I recently learned that we live in the same neighborhood. She suggested we begin carpooling to work, and I agreed -- only to be polite. Now, she is attempting to create a schedule with me. I know I should carpool to reduce emissions, but I value my alone time in the morning, and I don't want to chatter about work before arriving and after leaving. How do I kindly reject my co-worker's offer? -- No HOV, Silver Spring, Maryland
DEAR NO HOV: What about a compromise? Suggest to your co-worker that you carpool two days a week and go separately on the other days. Set it up as a trial for a month so that you can see if you are comfortable with the ride, with each other’s cars, with your individual schedules and with the conversation. It is OK for you to be honest with her. Tell her how much you enjoy your solitude and your early-morning rituals, and you aren’t sure that you want to give that up. Offer to do this trial period with her where you both assess if you are comfortable with the journey to and from work. No matter how you feel at the end of the trial period, even if you love it, be sure to check in with each other. If you want to extend the agreement, do so with timelines included. In this way, each of you has an equal stake in this drive.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)