DEAR AMY: I have a carpool dilemma with friends who do not get along.
I have been participating in an athletic team's summer carpool for almost five years now.
I drive my friends' children to events in other towns. For the past two years, at the end of the season, there has been a blowup from one of my friends about how she can't stand the other friend.
I have been thinking about this for more than 10 months and have decided that I do not want to be in the carpool any longer.
I have told my one friend, and she understood. I have not told the other friend yet because I do not want to start a fight.
Is there a way to end a carpool without starting a fight?
Wishing for Peace
DEAR WISHING: This person's combative and dramatic nature is what is causing the problem, so you should expect her to behave as she usually does.
Declining to be involved in something that causes you stress is not starting a fight. It is simply making a choice that is very much your right to make.
So make your statement. You do not have to offer rationales. You only need to say that you don't want to carpool this year. If this causes a problem, then you have further justification that you are doing the right thing.
DEAR AMY: Some of my college friends have graduated and acquired entry-level jobs in our fields.
One friend has been a "spender," and the rest of us are concerned about her financial future.
She depleted her savings account while studying abroad in college, then took out student loans for an expensive graduate program in a liberal-arts discipline. She had a difficult time finding a job, but now that she is making a modest salary, she is still living paycheck to paycheck without putting any money away.
When we saw her last weekend, we saw her new purchases from the past few months, including an iPad, designer coat and clothing, accessories and appliances.
She and her fiance are planning a wedding on her parents' dime, yet she is convinced that her parents have "more money than they let on" and will eventually pay off her debt and spring for a down payment on a house -- so she's not saving anything for those either.
Should one or more of us speak with her about her poor habits? Her fiance is more of a spender than she is.
DEAR SAVER: Your friend is making choices. You don't approve of these choices (I don't, either), and if these choices have an effect on you, you can weigh in.
Otherwise, you'll have to wait for an opening. The next time she brags about a splurge, you can respond by asking, "Don't you ever worry about your financial future?" She will say no, and you can respond by saying, "Well, I do. I worry about it quite a bit."
Suze Orman has written the perfect book for you and your cohort: "The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke" (2007, Riverhead).
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