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My home is just about 3 km from my work. A few days back, I offered my colleague a ride home (that is about 21 km) because I was heading a place (Manly) near her home (maybe about 2-3 km before her home). The following exchange went like so:

Me: I am driving down to Manly. Would you like me to give you a ride?

Her: I am ok to come with you, but I have to take a bus from Manly. So I prefer to take the public transport from here.

I am trying to figure whether she was just trying to avoid the ride but being polite in rejecting it, or if that really was the only reason.

I mean I wouldn't mind driving a couple of extra kilometers to drop her home (I love to drive, plus I would love her company). Though, at that time I didn't tell her that, so that she doesn't think that I am forcing.

The next time I am headed that way, how could I offer again and explain that, without making her feel pressured if her response was just a polite way to say she wasn't interested?

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    Can you add in your wording on how you offered? It sounds like she thought you'd take her to your destination and then put her on the bus there, which sounds like a hassle. – Erik Oct 16 at 12:54
  • I said, I am driving down to Manly. Would you like me to give you a ride? – Anon Sydney Oct 16 at 13:00
  • @AnonSydney Sydney I added your wording to the question. – Lux Claridge Oct 16 at 14:22
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    This isn't your main question (so I feel OK mentioning this in a comment rather than writing an answer), but it's definitely plausible that the coworker might prefer public transit the whole way (for example, it's possible that driving her to Manly would not actually save her time if she has to wait for a bus that won't arrive until some particular time) – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica Oct 16 at 15:41
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I don't think there's any way we can tell what was on her mind.

My gut tells me she wasn't comfortable accepting a ride. All I have to go on is how I would feel if a co-worker who I didn't know all that well were to offer to drive me to a town near my home. I would be apprehensive. When you get into a car with a stranger, you risk a number of consequences. Even if he had the best of intentions, it could turn into an ordeal. The fact that you work with her does not take you out of "stranger" status, or, at least, it would not for me. And many people, myself included, do not like being in a situation where they feel obliged to talk to someone if they would rather be alone in their own thoughts.

What I would do is at some time in the future, when you are going to Manly again, that you mention, well in advance, that you are headed to Manly on this-date and you wouldn't mind dropping her off any place that she would like in her town. She had already indicated she didn't want to go to Manly, hence offer to take her somewhere more convenient. You shouldn't specifically offer to drop her off at her house...that would make me wonder "why does he want to know where I live?"...but someplace more neutral (Anywhere you want = anywhere you feel safe being dropped off).

If she says "you don't need to go to that trouble" then smile and shrug and say "I love driving, I have ever since I got my license, so I'll take any excuse." Then leave it at that. Any more pressure and she may begin to wonder at your motives.

If the the deadline comes and goes and she says nothing, I think it is a fairly clear indicator that she doesn't want a ride, for whatever reason, and you need to respect that.

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In my experience as a passenger, I think she was actually telling you that it was ok to offer. It may even have been a subtle hint in that direction, if she's someone who finds asking for a lift hard.

Next time, given that you've said you don't mind driving further, I would suggest a more general offer. Something simple like "do you want a lift anywhere" works, and gives them the option of choosing a place that suits them. It also avoids any preconceived notions they have about what is convenient for you - if they worry about that, you can tell them, as you have said here, that you enjoy driving and having company.

Below I'll explain a bit more about how I've felt as a passenger, and why this sort of thing worked for me (if you want more detail)

I used to catch public transport a lot growing up in Melbourne, and generally if you're taking a connecting service (like the bus from Manly), you don't gain much by speeding up the first leg of your journey. In combination with this, it's easy to feel like a burden, especially if you've know that you're out of the way for someone. Now that I drive, I understand how little extra effort it is, but before then my friends would have to be quite pushy with me (even when it wasn't far). Asking was hard for me, and I believe it is for many others.

So in this situation, they probably don't want to inconvenience you, especially if they know they'll still end up in the same bus home.

This is why I find it's better to ask where they need to go, before telling them where you're going. It lets you avoid feeling (or being) pushy, and if something is truly out of your way, it can still open up a conversation about what will help them without being inconvenient for you.

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