DEAR AMY: I have a carpool dilemma with two 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 and to practice. For the past two years in a row, 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, etc. I have been thinking about this for more than 10 months now and have decided that I do not want to be in the carpool any longer. I have already told my one friend, and she understood. I have not told the other friend yet because I do not want to start a fight or drama. Is there a way to end a carpool without starting a fight? I want to stay true to my gut feeling that ending this arrangement is the best thing for me and my family.
-- Wishing for Summer Peace
DEAR WISHING: This person's combative and dramatic nature is what is causing the problem in the first place, and 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're doing the right thing.
DEAR AMY: I just read your very wise answer to "Older, but not Wiser," the woman who is feeling guilty now that her sister is helping out with their ill mom. I had a very similar situation: I also formed a tighter bond to my sister (to whom I had never felt very close) after she "stepped up" when our mom was ill and dying. She helped out tremendously. We now appreciate each other so much more and are in touch more than we ever were, despite living on opposite coasts.
-- Grateful Daughter and Sister
DEAR GRATEFUL: Beautiful!