Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Reader Won't Loan Car to Terrible Driver

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend, who is a horrible driver, has been asking me about borrowing my car. I pay for everything that goes into this vehicle, and I know she is a reckless driver. I explained to her that I do not loan out my car, and she assumes this is because I am busy using the car myself. I feel more and more compelled to spell out to her that even if I did loan out my car, I would never give her the keys because of her multiple accidents and speeding tickets. Is it time to hit her with the truth, or is this not my battle? -- My Wheels, Dallas

DEAR MY WHEELS: You are under no obligation to explain to this friend why she cannot drive your car. You should know that it is best not to let anybody drive your car, as a rule. If anything were to happen with another person driving your car, you would be liable.

If you are looking out for your friend, that’s the time to express your concerns. You can sit down with her and ask her if you can confide in her by telling her something that makes you feel uncomfortable. With her permission, tell her that you are concerned about the way she drives. Point out specific incidences of her being a reckless driver and the effects her behavior has had on her car and on others. Suggest that she become more conscientious when she gets behind the wheel. You can also re-emphasize -- if the moment calls for it -- that you will not be letting her drive your car.

DEAR HARRIETTE: One of my good friends has recently started spending a lot of time with my mother. They both live in the suburbs while I live in a city, so they are closer to each other geographically. Now, I believe they spend more time together than they do with me. Is this normal? I didn’t think they would have so much in common, but I guess they clicked. I just don’t know whether to express my confusion about this new friendship. -- Friends and Family, Secaucus, New Jersey

DEAR FRIENDS AND FAMILY: Sounds like you are a bit jealous, which is natural. Before saying anything, listen carefully. Does it sound like your friend is keeping your mother’s company in a healthy way? Could her overtures be supportive in ways that you hadn’t imagined? If you can see the value of the relationship, you should try to suck it up and just be happy for them that they have found each other.

What you can also do is to be more fully present for your mother and your friend. Spend more time calling and visiting your mother. Pay attention to her needs, and do your best to fulfill them. Work hard not to express your jealousy as this will only stir up unnecessary challenges among the three of you. Instead, be grateful for the attention your mother is getting. Stay alert in case anything about their relationship changes.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)