I take the bus to go to work and come back home, but there is no bus to catch when I finish my shift on Saturdays and Sundays. One of my colleagues offered me a ride back once on the weekend, and I happily accepted it. She did this few more times, but I think since then it became an obligation for her.

I am more than happy to get an Uber and do not feel guilty about taking advantage of the situation, but I also do not want to be rude or make her think she did something wrong. What should I tell her?

More details: Yesterday, she offered to give me a ride as it was raining. I thanked her and told her I do not want to bother her more than this. This morning I was sitting in the lunch room after punching out, she came in and told me to hurry up before the morning lock down, so I misunderstood this for an invitation for a ride. So, I hurried up and told her “I do not want to bother her if she is busy.” She was shocked and said, "do you mean you need a ride?". I was embarrassed. However, she was kind enough to give me a lift and told me it was an open invitation, and she forgot that there are no buses today.

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    Honestly the best thing you can do is just never mention the issue again, at all. Don't say anything like "I don't want you to feel obligated". Don't say anything like "I hope I didn't offend you" etc etc etc. Just say nothing. If they ask again, and you don't want a ride, simply say "No thanks, I'm all set today." and leave it at that. – Fattie Jun 3 '17 at 15:57
  • Please could you tell us why having a lift is a problem? – Ed Heal Jun 3 '17 at 17:04
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    @EdHeal I guess it is because having these lifts too often makes OP come across as a freeloader. Besides, as the question says, the co-worker now seems to think that she is obliged to offer these lifts and the OP doesn't want her to feel that way. – Masked Man Jun 5 '17 at 17:41

If you feel you are inconveniencing her, then you should be willing to talk to her. And you should also offer to pay for some of the gas - if you're willing to pay for a cab, be willing to help her with costs, even if she isn't going out of her way at all. So, say something like this:

Hey, any time that giving me a ride is inconvenient, just let me know. I'm sure sometimes you have errands or things you'd like to do on your way home, and in those cases, I can get a cab. And I'd like to help pay for your gas when you are giving me a ride, just as a thanks - making it cheaper for me and for you.

If you are willing to be open and talk to someone, they will usually be more willing to tell you when they are having problems.

On the other hand, if you really don't want to ride with her at all, just politely decline and say you have other transportation plans this day. If you don't want to ever ride with her, then thank her for the rides she's given you already, and tell her you've made other plans and won't need to ride with her any more. If there are reasons you don't want to ride with her other than thinking she's inconvenienced, do not be open about that - always be polite, and simply decline with no reason.

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Don't overthink this. Just decline the offer politely.

Thanks for your offer, but I am taking a cab today.

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It sounds like she's not bothered if you ride with her or not. But she might wonder why you don't ride with her at an extra cost to yourself.

The most inoffensive answer I can suggest is that you want some quiet time or 'me time' before and after work to give yourself headspace.

Or tell her your learning a language using audio tapes :)

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