In the United Kingdom or Ireland, when is it appropriate to offer payment to a friend who has done you a favour?

For instance: a very close friend gives you a ride to a doctor's appointment.

How do you approach the issue of paying them for their petrol (gas) without:
1. insulting them by devaluing their good intentions and friendship
2. taking advantage of their generosity and friendship by not offering?


3 Answers 3


I generally deal with this ahead of time rather than after the fact or I do something for them they didn't ask for but know they will appreciate.

For example, if I need a ride somewhere and I need to ask a friend for some reason, I would say:

If you have time on Saturday, could you take me to the airport/doctor/etc? I'll cover your gas for you.

Saying this in advance gives the person the chance to say thanks but no thanks for the gas money.

If you're not comfortable with this (or if they decline the cash payment), the second method may work better for you - do something else for them. So, if they take you to the airport, buy them a treat when you're on your trip - something small that shows you were thinking of them - and tell them how much you appreciated the ride. Or, if they're helping you move or taking you to the doctor, perhaps offer to treat them to lunch or a movie or a drink since they're taking their time.

None of this is necessary but it's really great to offer it so that you don't seem like a help vampire.

All this said, if you've done this and they really respond negatively to your offers of payment, respect that and remember it and don't offer again. It's important not to make them feel uncomfortable, too!


As an alternative, you could ask them to stop on a gas station on your way to the destination. This is what we do in Indonesia to avoid offending the person.

While we're here, let me fill your tank for all the trouble.

Pay attention to the gas meter before you do this of course!

If it is a two-way ride, ask on the way back home.


You really should never have to pay your friends for favors. Typically they give you favors so that when they need a ride or something they can ask you for help.

One of the benefits of being a nice person and giving favors is that usually people return the favor if you need help.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.