For two years, we have been renting out part of our house to a family who we were introduced to through church. Our family is no longer part of said church, but we are still on friendly terms due to them having no other place to go. Now their son in particular, is nothing short of rebellious. He has been smoking since the age of 11 (according to him), even smoking during exams, and regularly gets drunk with mutual friends despite the fact that he is still underage by law, and has recently been driving under the influence without a driver's license. (He turns 18 in November, which is the legal age for both driving and alcohol consumption in my country). He is not an abrasive person, in fact he is quite tolerant and laid-back, and has shown this personality around me all the time.

A bit of background about me: I am 24, and heavily introverted. I have generally gone through a rough childhood where my parents have sheltered me from most childhood activities, and have been very hard on me when it came to making my own choices, hence my introversion and inability to be firm about a decision. I still live with them so they would most likely severely punish me if they found out the truth about him, as he is very good at keeping it a secret from both of our families.

As a result, I have grown to appreciate solitude a lot more, and don't make friends easily, especially if they're the children of family friends, who are outside my age group. This is why I refer to him as an 'acquaintance'. I have regrettably lied to him before about having 'other commitments', and we do still spend time together when the activity is deemed 'moral' enough by both of our families, (e.g going to the movies).

I have just recently acquired my driver's license, so while I can legitimately get away now, it also opened the door for him to potentially use me as a free taxi service, which I obviously don't want. I also definitely do not want him to coerce me into breaking the law in my family's car. However, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings when making a decision, so I want to know how to decline his frequent invitations to go with his other friends to break the law by speeding excessively, and driving under the influence, without lying or offending his feelings, and also to let him know where I draw the line about his habits while abiding by the same principles outlined above.

1 Answer 1


I mean this in the nicest way possible - there are some superfluous details in your question. The fact you met him through a church you no longer attend, and your own introversion are not really anything to do with the fact you have a tenant who is breaking the law and you don't want to be part of it.

I mention this, not to criticise your question, but to point out to you that you seem to be feeling worse about this than you should. The fact you think these details have anything to do with the problem suggests to me that you may be blaming yourself in some way, or feeling guilt over wanting to refuse his requests. Really, you have no reason to feel bad about cutting him off. This is simply about you not wanting to break the law, and that's all.

If you don't want to hang out with him at all, you just need to respond to his offer with:

Thanks, but no.

It might be short, but it is truthful, firm, and doesn't "attack" his choices in any way. If he expects more detail you could say something like:

It just isn't my thing.

(Or whatever similar expression is most natural and inoffensive in your country/culture) Whatever you choose to say, the aim is to state that you don't want to go, not that you are judging him for it.

If on the other hand you feel comfortable associating with him but want to draw the line at certain things - for example if you don't mind taking him for a ride in your car but don't want him to drink in it, or you don't want to speed because he asks you to - then you need to be equally as assertive but make it clear it is your personal decision, not an attack on his own values.

For example you could say:

You can't drink in our car. If you want to drink that is your choice, but not in our car.

  • 1
    When I mentioned my introversion, it's more about him thinking that I reciprocate his advances of friendship towards me, when it clearly isn't the case. I should have maybe made myself more clear about that.
    – user90580
    Sep 24, 2018 at 10:49
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    @user90580 Making yourself clear is what this is all about. That is why I have separated the two issues in my answer. I hope it helps, and I still stand by my answer even though someone appears to have marked it down. If you find a more helpful answer then all the best with it. Please don't mark down an answer simply because it isn't what you wanted to hear because that defeats the object of asking for help.
    – Astralbee
    Sep 24, 2018 at 10:55
  • Just to be clear, I wasn't the person who marked you down. You did provide some simple but effective advice based on how I feel about the situation.
    – user90580
    Sep 24, 2018 at 12:47

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