DEAR AMY: I recently went on a weekend getaway/retreat with several co-workers (not officially a work event). I was driving one of the cars, and I brought along a co-worker and her boyfriend. The trip cost roughly $90 in gas. I would have expected each passenger (myself included) to contribute a third. But my co-worker offered only $45, saying, "There's our half." I try to avoid pettiness, and don't want to cause a rift with a co-worker over $15 -- after all, it's more about the principle than the money -- but I also want to be more aware of what the rules are when splitting costs with a couple.
Not Cheap, Just Curious
DEAR CURIOUS: Couples sometimes behave as a monolith -- but just because they behave that way doesn't mean they should also be treated as such.
If the three of you had taken a train, you would have each had to pay your own fare. If you had taken a cab, you would expect to split the fare three ways (presumably). If you three had shared a meal, you would have each paid your share.
The main cost advantage in being a couple is when it comes to sharing a bed -- not a ride. If you were renting an apartment and you took one room and the other couple shared a room, then you would split the cost 50/50.
The wisest way to handle any sort of expense sharing situation is to establish the parameters up front. You say, "Are you cool with splitting the cost of the trip three ways?" They might negotiate a slightly different percentage and -- depending on whether you needed the money and wanted the companionship, you could decide if this would work for you.
Don't try to collect this money now, however. This lesson only cost you $15, which is a pretty good deal.
DEAR AMY: I dated a guy on and off for eight years. After finally breaking things off with him, I have been single now for the last three years. I have not been on a date for the whole three years that I have been single. I am an attractive woman, but I can't seem to attract any man since I broke up with my last boyfriend. I also have trust issues I cannot seem to shake off. Please help me control my past.
DEAR WONDERING: I can't control your past -- you can't either. What you can do is use your experience to learn how to have a better relationship in the future.
My first suggestion is that you embrace your previous relationship. It is part of you. You have let your experience turn you into a fearful, suspicious person.
Ask friends to be honest with you about how you appear to others. They may describe a "keep your distance" body language that you aren't even aware of. You might bring up your negative experience too often in conversation. Do you compare men to your ex? Don't.
The basic thinking behind the "law of attraction" is that you are what you believe you are. If you attain and maintain a basically positive attitude about yourself, you will attract people who are also positive, kind and open to new experiences.
Internet matching is a great way to meet people. Choose a site that best matches your personality and goals. Meeting guys for coffee, a drink or walk in the park is a great way to practice your casual social and dating skills.
DEAR AMY: Your advice to "Deaf in Maryland" was atrocious. He complained that "Vivian," a woman in his and his wife's monthly dinner party group, had a loud, screeching voice. You advised him to "get over it," though secondary to that, you did suggest that he ask her to speak softer. Why should he get over this? If a child yakked in a loud, screeching voice among guests, you'd probably tell the parent to teach the child some manners. Why should "Vivian" be allowed to get away with rude, obnoxious behavior?
DEAR Z: Parents should correct children, but not necessarily other adults.