My girlfriend insists upon driving everywhere but she scares me when she’s behind the wheel. She’s a really bad driver. I have my own car which is pretty nice but she never wants me to take it. I don’t know why she is like this and it is really bugging me. How can I tell her my thoughts without hurting her feelings and how can I convince her to let me drive?
Dear She Drives me Crazy,
I’m surprised that you haven’t brought this up to her yet—even under your breath. My boyfriend makes no secret of the fact that he hates the way I drive and my feelings are unabashedly mutual. He’s too aggressive, I’m too cautious, and the dish ran away with the spoon. This has become a source of amusing mockery in our relationship. I hope the same comes true for you.
Have you ever wondered why your girlfriend doesn’t want you to drive? I think there’s a good chance that she doesn’t like the way you drive either. Instead of announcing that you fear for your life when she’s behind the wheel, I recommend asking for a 50/50 arrangement. Tell her that you would like to take your car half the time. If she can’t agree to this basic compromise, then your relationship problems go beyond bad driving.
If she asks why you want to drive more often, tell her the truth. It’s nice that you don’t want to hurt her feelings, but it’s not practical. At some point in all relationships (friendships, romance, etc.) we have to tell the people we love things that they don’t want to hear. Be as compassionate as possible when delivering the undesirable news, but deliver it nonetheless. Lying to a person—or reluctantly riding shotgun—in order to avoid hurting his or her feelings will make the relationship less steady over time. Fortunately, of all the insults you could give your significant other, “I don’t like the way you drive,” is pretty innocent. If she can’t handle that comment, enjoy life on eggshells.
You can ask Samara and Caroline questions for the Love & Life Advice Column here at firstname.lastname@example.org.
* The ideas and advice presented here are not a substitute for professional advice. Talk to your psychologist, counselor, physician or health care professional for situations that warrant further analysis.