How Do You Politely Offer a Ride?

One of the few niceties that can quickly seem intrusive or strange is offering people a ride. That is because it involves the two of you sitting right next to each other for the duration of the ride, and this can become very awkward if you run out of things to talk about, for example.

The best way to offer a ride is to ask them in person. If that’s not possible, you can call or text them. If you’re offering a ride for someone you don’t know very well, like a coworker or classmate, be clear about who you are and why you’re asking.

How to Offer a Ride to Someone

If you’re offering a ride to someone you know, consider that they might have had a long day. Asking this question might be just the thing to help them out of a rut.

However, if they say no and mean it (if they’re not just trying to be polite), don’t insist on giving them a ride; it’s not cool to push someone into something when they’ve already said no.

There are many different ways to approach your friends by offering them a ride home from school. If you’re close with your friends, simply say:

“Do you want me to give you a ride?”

However, if you want to be more creative and funny, there are many different options for this as well:

“I think I may have told you this before, but my mom says I’m supposed to get at least one friend home safely each day.”

“Hey, man! You look like you could use some better transportation in your life!”

Think about your schedule

In today’s crazy world, we’re constantly busy and running around.

It’s normal to be stretched thin, but you should really mean it when you offer a ride. If you are running late or in a rush, don’t offer!

Your friend will sense that you are feeling anxious or stressed, and this will make them feel like they have to take care of you or the situation instead of being on the receiving end of a kind gesture.

Be in the right mindset

Much like with your schedule, if your mood is off for any reason (you’re feeling tired from a long day at work or frustrated from an argument with your spouse), consider whether this is the best time to offer a ride to someone else.

Do not offer rides when it feels more like an obligation than generosity!

Make sure you can meet their schedule

Weekly schedules can vary from person to person, so make sure that you ask any potential rider about their weekly schedule. If they have a lot of different commitments throughout the week, the chances are that they won’t be able to commit to your rides either.

Example phrases to use when offering a ride:

“I’d be glad to drop you off.”

“Can I take you home?”

“Feel free to hitch a ride with me.”

“Do you need a lift?”

If your passenger asks, “Are we making any stops on the way?” it’s best to reply with one of the following phrases so that they’re not surprised by a detour:

“Would you mind if we stopped at the grocery store?”

“We might have to make a quick stop at the pharmacy. Is that okay?”

If you’re running late, it’s important to let your passenger know. Try saying one of these phrases:

“I’m running late, but I’ll still take you where you need to go. Sorry about that!”

“Sorry for my delay, but I can still get you there on time. Do you mind waiting five minutes? No problem if not! We’ll do this another time.”

It’s always a good idea to offer people a ride if you believe they may have difficulty getting one.

Ask if they need you to stop anywhere on the way home

The last thing you want to do is make the person feel like they’re inconveniencing you.

“Are you in a hurry?” is a nice, low-key way to ask if your friend needs to stop anywhere on the way home.

If your friend doesn’t have any place they need to go and have time later in the evening, try something along these lines:

“I’m not in a hurry right now, but we can go straight home if that’s better for you.”

Once again, it’s okay to be direct and ask what they prefer.

It’s also important to remember that someone might not want a ride at all! You don’t have to get upset or offended; it happens! Try not to take things personally.

If you are sharing the ride, check to ensure the other passengers are okay with a detour. When you offer a ride to multiple people, remember that the detour might be more than just a few minutes. If you’re offering a ride home from work, an extra stop to get groceries could make you significantly late.

So before you add your friend to the loop, check in with the other passengers one by one. Make sure they’re okay with adding another stop and possibly arriving home later than expected.

If you can’t make the detour because of time or distance constraints, offer to take your friend home first before getting the other passengers. That way, you can both help each other out without hurting anyone else.

Let your friend know you’re willing to make a detour for them if necessary

If you’re willing to make a detour to help your friend, let them know. If you aren’t open to making detours on their behalf, be clear about how far out of your way you are willing to go.

Even though most people don’t want to inconvenience others with a long ride, sometimes it is safe and not too far out of the way for someone to detour through their friend or acquaintance’s neighborhood.

You can let your friends know if you are open to making these kinds of small detours for them in specific circumstances.

Be clear on where they need to be picked up and dropped off

Tell the person where they need to meet you when they should arrive, and whether they need to arrange for a ride back home.

When you pick someone up at their home

If you plan on picking up your friend at their house or apartment, it’s a good idea to give them a heads up.

Check in with them first to see when they’ll be ready so you can coordinate a pickup time.

Be sure to let your friend know what kind of vehicle you’re driving so that they can get outside and wait for you. Make sure you have their address and directions (map, GPS coordinates, etc.) sorted out before pickup so that there is no confusion as to where exactly the pickup will take place.

Be prepared for some traffic, and give yourself enough time in case something unexpected happens on the way over (traffic jam, missed exit).

Ask if they have allergies, such as allergies to pets or foods

If the person has an allergy that could impact your ability to give them a ride (for example, if you have a pet and they’re allergic), tell them that before offering the ride.

Determine whether or not the person needs a car seat or booster seat

If the person is elderly, disabled, or has an injury that makes it difficult for them to get into your vehicle unassisted (for example, if they use crutches), let them know beforehand so that you can make arrangements for their comfort and safety. [1]

You can arrange for them to pay for gas

This is probably the most important thing to remember when offering someone a ride. Asking for people to chip in for gas makes it easier for you to offer rides without worrying whether you’ll have enough money for gas yourself.

Do People Like Being Offered Rides?

Think about the last time you were too tired to drive home from work. Or perhaps you had an injury and were in pain. Or maybe there was such a bad snowstorm that your car got stuck on the side of the road for hours.

Driving under those conditions would have been dangerous and stressful, so most people prefer rides whenever possible.

Many people would likely welcome any ride offered as long as they know they won’t be late for their destination! [2]

When Is It Not Okay to Offer Someone a Ride?

There are times when you should not offer someone a ride. For example, if they already have plans to leave the party or event, you shouldn’t offer them a ride. Or if they have made other arrangements and are leaving at different times than you, then it’s also not appropriate to ask them for a ride.

If you’re going in one direction and the other person is going in another direction, don’t ask for a ride unless you’re willing to drive them to where they need to go.

It’s also not polite to ask someone for a ride when you’re too tired after the party or event because this will make it difficult for the driving person.


References:

[1]: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01329/full

[2]: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1369847817306630

Sophie

Sophie Hammond is a journalist, psychologist, and freelance speechwriter for people in politics and business. She lives on the edge of the Rocky Mountains with her dog and a lifetime supply of books. When she’s not writing, she can be found wandering through nature or journaling at a coffee shop.

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