DEAR AMY: I am 18 years old. Sometimes I drive family members and their friends to and from the clubs and other places to keep drunken drivers off the road — and also to make some extra cash.
My aunt and uncle have been good about paying me when I drop them off.
Sometimes I'll also drive them when they have friends with them. If the friends don't pay me, I'm fine with that — as long as someone in the party pays.
Recently I drove my aunt and uncle. They had brought another couple along. The second couple decided to give me money as they were getting out of the car. I originally declined, but they insisted.
As my aunt and uncle were leaving, they promised to pay me the next day.
The second couple paid me plenty, but I'm 18 and don't have time for a full-time job, so any money I can get my hands on makes everything easier on me and my parents.
It's been a week, and I still haven't heard from my aunt and uncle about money. Would it be wrong to ask? Or should I just wait and hope they keep their promise?
— The DD
DEAR DD: I'm going to assume that you aren't running some sort of illegal "gypsy cab" service but are offering occasional rides to family members in exchange for gas money and some compensation for your time.
You need to establish a fee structure, make sure everyone knows what it is and adhere to it.
You say in your letter that the second couple paid and that normally you are fine accepting money from one member of a carload.
Because of this precedent, you might assume that your aunt and uncle felt their trip had been paid for. Ask them about it.
I read an article recently saying that taxicabs in New York City are going to start accepting multiple parties in one carload. There is a set per-person fee for going from one part of Manhattan to another. This is an idea you could emulate.
DEAR AMY: I am 55, and the woman I was engaged to is 50.
We have known each other for many years, but our lives kept us from connecting until recently. We made plans for our future together. I gave her an engagement ring.
She was living with another man, but according to her that relationship had no future. She recently had surgery and went to her mother's to recover.
After 30 days she went back to her old boyfriend's and is sleeping in his bed but assures me that nothing is going on and that I have nothing to be upset about.
She recently sent me an e-mail telling me that it was for the best that we end our relationship and that it's my fault!
DEAR DECEIVED: I agree with your ex that it's over between you two. I also agree with her that ending this relationship is for the best.
I agree with you that you were deceived — but disagree with the source of your deception.
You ignored every obvious road sign and deceived yourself.
Now it's time to stop soliciting other opinions and get on with your life.
DEAR AMY: I think you missed the boat with your answer to "Confused in Minnesota," whose 16-year-old daughter has grown distant after her parents' divorce.
As the father of five daughters, let me assure "Confused" that that's the way all 16-year-old daughters behave, divorce or not.
Even in the best families, 16-year-old daughters are generally a pain in the neck. The good news for "Confused" is that, unless he does something really stupid to permanently break the relationship, his daughter will almost certainly warm back up in a few years — generally around the time she wants him to help pay for college.
My advice? Go out of your way to be visible in her life. Be there for all her events — concerts, plays, athletics, whatever she's involved in.
The occasional daddy-daughter date won't hurt, either. Make a date in advance. She'll resist at first, maybe even blow off a scheduled date — but eventually she'll come around.
And the effort is worth it.
— Been There, Done That
DEAR BTDT: Thank you for offering the wisdom of your experience.
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