• Keeping Friends

A friendship question from a reader hints at something else

Published: July 26, 2015 | By | 7 Replies Continue Reading
Sometimes little friendship problems need to be seen as hints of something bigger.


Dear Friendship Doctor,

Is there something wrong with a male friend giving his female friend a ride to where she needs to go or be?

Signed, Nikki


Hi Nikki,

Surely you didn’t think I would fall prey to answering this question without any context.

The answer could be YES or NO depending on the relationship between you and your friend, and the circumstances surrounding the request.

For example:

  • If you’re just friends who always help each other out, the answer might be YES.
  • If you are lovers and he is married to someone else, the answer might be NO.
  • If you’re asking your friend to drive you across the country, or you’re asking him to leave work to take you to an appointment, the answer might be MAYBE.

The range of answers is infinite. So my advice is this: Think about what you are asking of him and why the favor might or might not be a stretch—even for a friend.

But your question does raise an important issue. Miscommunications, disappointments or other misfires in friendships frequently occur over little things but reflect more fundamental problems with the relationship. To strengthen the friendship, we need to take them as hints and figure out what’s wrong more systemically.

Hope this helps.

Best, Irene

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Comments (7)

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  1. Denise says:

    Giving us more details would have made all the difference. Write back.

  2. Maddie says:

    Since you are asking in such a general, non-specific, almost shady way, I’m going to jump out and say, yes, there’s something wrong with it. And I imagine someone in your life does not like it.

  3. Caitlyn says:

    If he is a “friend”, you are lucky to have someone like that in your life! Living in New York City that’s an oddity today! Everyone here is pretty much out for themself!

  4. Amy F says:

    There is nothing wrong with a woman giving a man or a man giving a woman a ride.

    To me the key word is trust.

    If I’m the passenger, do I trust driver not to do anything other than give me a ride?

    If I am the driver, do I trust the passenger to maintain appropriate boundaries?

    If I am the partner of a driver or passenger, why am I in a relationship with someone I don’t trust to take a ride with a member of the opposite sex?

    If I am the driver it passenger and my partner doesn’t trust the situation, why am I in a relationship with someone who doesn’t trust me to maintain appropriate boundaries.

  5. Mrs. Chen says:

    > If you are lovers and he is married to someone else, the answer might be NO.

    Why? If they are lovers and he is married, giving a ride to “the other woman” is the least of his offense!!

  6. Ben says:

    One of the saddest parts of the question being asked and the answer given is it assumes things based on our society today. Having grown up in the 60’s and 70’s the world is a different place today. With all the horrendous news about crimes and debauchery one has to “think about it.” Even the answer is caged in a lawyerly way to cover the bases. “Let your conscience be your guide.” Unfortunately there are some without a conscience and some with a tortured conscience and some with a conflicted conscience. If your conscience is in tact with good boundaries one can do many things that others couldn’t. Then there are things that we can do but it is better that we don’t. To use an old quote, “avoid the appearance of evil.” “Ahh, there’s the rub….”

  7. jacqueline says:

    Excellent response, Irene. There is not enough information here to give a proper answer.

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