Has someone just asked you for a ride? What’s worse is that they were even really polite about asking. Though, you might not be able to give them a lift!
That’s okay. You just need to know how to tell someone you can’t give a ride politely.
In this article, we will explore the best phrases to say no to giving someone a ride.
- I’m sorry, but I can’t give you a ride
- That doesn’t work for me tonight
- I’m not going that way tonight
- I’m afraid I’m not available to take you
- I can’t give you a lift tonight
- I’d love to help, but I can’t today
- Not today, I’m afraid!
- I hope someone else can help you, but I can’t
- I’m not going out tonight, so I can’t help you
Keep reading to learn more about the most polite phrases to reject a ride request from people in different situations.
1. I’m Sorry, but I Can’t Give You a Ride
As long as you’re polite about it, it’s quite easy to learn how to say no to someone asking for a ride. You can start with a simple apology in “I’m sorry.”
From there, you should say “I can’t give you a ride.” You don’t have to explain your reasoning to someone who’s asking for a lift. You can simply say that you’re not available to help them.
Most reasonable people will accept that and move on. If they ask you why or put up a fight, you can simply tell them that you don’t want to give them a lift because they’re being unreasonable.
Here are some examples to help you with it:
- Hey, I’m sorry, but I can’t give you a ride tonight. I’ve got a few things that I need to sort out.
- I’m sorry, but I can’t give you a ride later! You’ll have to find someone else to help you, I’m afraid.
2. That Doesn’t Work For Me Tonight
“That doesn’t work for me tonight” is one of the best casual excuses for not giving someone a lift. It simply implies that you have other plans and do not want to spend time helping someone out or giving them a lift.
Everyone has things to do at different times during the day. So, you shouldn’t have to give someone a lift if it doesn’t work for you. As long as you communicate that, you’ll be OK.
These examples will help you understand more:
- I’m afraid that doesn’t work for me tonight. I won’t be going that way, so there’s no point in me offering you a ride.
- That doesn’t work for me tonight. Maybe you should ask Mathew. I think he lives that way.
3. I’m Not Going That Way Tonight
Perhaps someone has become dependent on you giving them a lift because you often drive the same way home every night. Well, that’s where “I’m not going that way tonight” comes in handy.
It’s a great phrase when refusing to give someone a ride.
For instance, a coworker might rely on you to give them a lift home after work. However, if you aren’t heading straight home like usual, you might want to break it to them politely and let them know you can’t give them a lift.
These examples should help you understand it:
- I’m not going that way tonight, Jimmy. You might have to ask a different colleague to help you.
- I’m not going that way tonight. I’m very sorry, but I have some other plans that I need to see through.
4. I’m Afraid I’m Not Available to Take You
Friends who expect rides can be tricky to deal with. After all, if you are close to them, you should try to be as polite as possible, so you don’t ruin the friendship.
One polite phrase that works well with friends is “I’m afraid I’m not available to take you.” It’s an apologetic phrase that allows you to handle a friend who always asks for rides. After all, you’re not a taxi service. They shouldn’t expect you to help them all the time.
Check out the following examples to see how it works:
- I’m afraid I’m not available to take you tonight, Becky. I hope you can forgive me for that.
- No. I’m afraid I’m not available to take you that way. You’ll have to find someone else to get you there.
5. I Can’t Give You a Lift Tonight
You can always keep things simple when saying no to giving someone a ride. Something like “I can’t give you a lift tonight” shows you how to tell someone you can’t pick them up and drop them off.
It’s polite and friendly, so it works well in most casual situations. We recommend using it when you don’t feel like giving someone a lift (even if you don’t have a good reason or excuse to get out of it).
After all, a true friend will never ask you to explain yourself!
Here are some examples to help you:
- I can’t give you a lift tonight, Tony. After all, I have way too much going on, and I need to sort some things out.
- I can’t give you a lift tonight, but I’m sure someone else will be willing to help.
6. I’d Love to Help, but I Can’t Today
When a friend keeps asking for rides, it can be difficult to maintain your politeness when rejecting them. However, if you want to keep your friendships going strong, it’s worth trying your best to be sincere and polite.
Try “I’d love to help, but I can’t today.” That way, “I’d love to help” shows you are a good friend and would like to help out if you weren’t already busy with other plans. “I can’t today” is a simple rejection that explains you have other things to attend to.
You can also learn how it works from these examples:
- Look, I’d love to help, but I can’t today. I’m afraid there’s too much going on for me to give you a lift.
- I’d love to help, but I can’t today. I’m sure there will come another time when I’ll be able to help.
7. Not Today, I’m Afraid!
Let’s imagine a colleague has just asked to carpool with you. Maybe they rely on you to get to work, but you have other plans today! Try “not today, I’m afraid!”
It’s a clear and direct rejection. It shows you can’t help someone out, especially if they’ve come to expect a ride from you. So, it’s quite good when trying to figure out how to politely decline a carpool.
You should refer to these examples if you’re still stuck:
- You want a lift from me again? Not today, I’m afraid! I’ve got to go up to town, so I won’t be going that way.
- Not today, I’m afraid! I have some other matters to attend to, and I’d rather focus on them.
8. I Hope Someone Else Can Help You, but I Can’t
You’re never the only option. Someone might have come to you asking for a lift first, but that doesn’t mean you’re their only friend. You should demonstrate this with “I hope someone else can help you.”
Then, it shows that your friend has options. They should ask their other friends to help them to see if anyone can give them a lift.
It’s a polite rejection that reminds people to ask around before settling on you for a lift.
You can also refer to these examples to help:
- Look, I hope someone else can help you, but I can’t. I’m too busy to give you a lift.
- I hope someone else can help you, but I can’t today. You should ask Tia!
9. I’m Not Going Out Tonight, so I Can’t Help You
Do you want to stay indoors? There’s nothing wrong with that! It’s a valid excuse to reject someone’s request for a ride.
So, you should use “I’m not going out tonight, so I can’t help you” if you want to stay inside. It shows you will not offer anyone a lift, no matter where they’re going.
These examples will help you with it:
- I’m not going out tonight, so I can’t help you, I’m afraid! I know you were relying on me.
- I’m not going out tonight, so I can’t help you. I’m sure there are others more than willing to help!
Should I Give My Friend a Ride?
The answer to this question isn’t all that simple.
Yes, you should give your friend a ride if they ask nicely and offer to pay for gas money. It’s also nice to do a favor for your friend when they need you most.
However, if your friend has asked for a ride that’s out of your way, it’s OK to say no. You can’t be expected to drive your friends around everywhere they need to go.
Sometimes, it’s OK to put your foot down. If you can’t make the time to give your friend a ride somewhere, you should just say no.
Luckily, this article has provided you with plenty of polite says to handle a friend who asked for a ride.
Martin holds a Master’s degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives, and colleagues. Furthermore, he has teaching experience from Aarhus University. Martin has been featured as an expert in communication and teaching on Forbes and Shopify. Read more about Martin here.