36 answers

Am I Being a Horribly Insensitive, Selfish Jerk?

Ok, ladies. This question has been bothering me to no end this week. I hope you all can give me some perspective.
It concerns one of my oldest friends. I have known her forever, and our families have been close, but as time has gone by, the more frustrated I am becoming with many of her behaviors and feeling like I need to distance myself. The biggest issue I have is that she is a "moocher" and has been since I met her (in middle school). I am sure that it has a lot to do with how she was raised; her mother always expected the friend's parents to take care of any transportation, food costs, costs to do activities, etc. Now we are grown, and though I am sure she cares about me, I often feel like she mostly sees me as a giant dollar bill. She has made clear many times that her opinion is that friends help friends financially if they are able. The fact is, she is horrible with money. She is ALWAYS in a financial crisis. Now, her finances and how she spends her money is NONE of my business except that she drags it into our friendship. For instance: She has called me several times asking for a loan to get them over the hump. She is very outspoken about everything, so I am aware that other friends have loaned her lots of money and none of it has ever been paid back. I have declined because I do not think friends and money mix. It has gotten to the point where any communication with her ends with some sort of request for a hand-out. One time, she and her husband raided our freezer and asked if they could take a bunch of the venison we had in there. Another time, she texted me for a donation toward a recliner because her husband was laid up (I later found out they received a donated chair but then continued to accept donations toward the purchase of one). She has recently posted on Facebook several times about how they cannot pay their bills and wanting any help people can offer. I bought her child her school supplies this year and some of her neighbors bought the school clothes. Lat time she was here, she went through my garage looking through the stuff I was going to sell at a garage sale, and was like, "can I have this? What about this?" Yesterday she came by to drop something by my house but then was worried that she didnt have gas money and also asked me for food out of my pantry.
So, I am really irritated. They ARE going through a rough financial patch, no doubt. And part of it is crappy luck and part of it is bad money management. I feel SOOOO GUILTY anytime I communicate with her, because what is a few dollars? Couldn't they use it more than me? But then she will tell me, "we just got our student loan $ and I bought a new $800 camera" or "I am so broke! We had a yard sale to get out of the hole but half the money we made went to beer and pizza, so it didn't really help" and I start feeling really guarded about my money and thinking, "hell no! I am not enabling you!"
What do you ladies think? Do I need to be more understanding and empathetic to her situation? Am I being a jerk? At this point, I just want to offer her verbal encouragement is "Sorry things are hard right now! Hope they get better soon!" without continuing to donate things to her all the time. But I go back and forth, thinking I am a horridly selfish person to not help her out in her time of need...

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

You guys are wonderful. I have seriously been feeling like this scroogelike miser, begrudging a few dollars here and there, but just typing out my question, and having everyone pretty much respond the same way has helped me see that this friendship really is one-sided. Our budget can afford her nickle and diming but I don't think our friendship can handle it. I am gonna work on setting boundaries :)

Featured Answers

Not only is she not managing her money, she is horribly selfish!! Not you. How has she ever been a friend to you?
Don't let her manipulate you.

3 moms found this helpful

No. By continuing to give her $, food, or things you are extending the problem. Say no to everything, give her information for local food banks if she asks for food. They have got to learn to be more responsible and will not learn responsibility if they continue receiving hand outs.

2 moms found this helpful

Emotional support, yes; financial support, no. She's not in need, she needs to grow up and get more responsible.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Not only is she not managing her money, she is horribly selfish!! Not you. How has she ever been a friend to you?
Don't let her manipulate you.

3 moms found this helpful

Sounds like she's sucking the life out of everyone around her. Ask yourself, what are you getting out of the relationship with her? Relationships are a 2-way street. Does your friend have any redeeming qualities that makes her a worthwhile friend despite the negatives?

3 moms found this helpful

NO you are not a horridly selfish person. She is managing her money badly.

3 moms found this helpful

Some definite boundaries are needed! Wow...that takes a lot of nerve. I would be so embarassed to advertise my life's woes on FB and in public like that. Do not give her any money. Doesn't matter if you can afford to or not. She and her family need to stand on their own feet and be responsible. Because they keep getting help from other sources there is no incentive for them to stop this pattern. Don't become part of this.

3 moms found this helpful

You're not being selfish. You're helping her when you can, how you can. The thing is that people want to be able to be able to offer help and to offer in ways that they're capable, but your friend isn't giving you (or anyone else) the chance to do that. She's trying to control her out-of-control situation by defining the terms of how she's helped... and she's taking the phrase, "Don't be afraid to ask for help" to mean far more than it should.

Help comes in many ways. You could give her the name of a couple of really good, reputable financial planners and point her in the direction of a couple of great (free) finance programs.

If you're at the grocery store, stock up on $5 and $10 grocery gift cards so that when she's short on groceries you can hand her one. Just one. Or give her the address of the local food bank and the directions she would need for applying to get some groceries from them (some of them require proof of income for 3 pay checks).

Offer her a hug rather than cash. They may have hit a point where they believe that they're stuck where they are with no way out and what they're doing is "working" for them. So if that's the case, no amount of advice will help her.

When she complains about being broke...

"I'm sorry. Finances really suck sometimes. You know, it was so tough paying our mortgage this month that _____." This is a we're-in-this-together bit without giving her a thing.

"How frustrating. Things are tight here too, and it's so expensive to feed a family. Which reminds me... if we get pizza tonight, your share costs $12. I can't afford to cover you so what are we doing? Are you guys eating here or are you going home?" That should let her know that the free ride is over.

"I know how hard that is. We're in the same boat. I was actually going to ask you if I could borrow $50 for gas today because I have a couple of appointments tomorrow." If you can't beat them, join them. If she thinks you're as deep in the hole as she is, she may stop asking.

Those are the nice ways about it. The thing is, she's being very blunt. I'm not sure I see a problem with saying, "I'm sorry but we simply can't afford it. I'll help you out by ____, but I can't afford to loan you any money/send you home with bags of food/whatever." In other words, you have to set the boundaries and tell her what you're willing to do.

If she doesn't get the hint with you being just as direct with her as she is with you, then that's when you end the friendship.

3 moms found this helpful

I don't think your being horribly selfish. Your friend is. I would cut all ties because people like that aren't your friends, they only bring you down. I wouldn't give her food or clothes your going to sell. If you are going to borrow money from people then fine but for groceries and gas and electric but not an $800 camera. I think shes used to things being handed to her. My friends don't borrow money from eachother. sometimes if were out and one is short money then we all pitch in. eventually it happens to everyone so its even. I also agree that friends and money don't mix.

2 moms found this helpful

You are not a jerk. She isn't a friend to you. I would make some serious boundaries until there was no longer anymore communication.

I have a relative like this. We were unemployed at the time and struggling ourselves. My relative begged me for groceries and gas money, in which I gladly gave, though stressed as I was that we couldn't even afford our own groceries. The very next day, they went out to the movies and came home with a brand new trampoline. The next week they bought a Dyson. Then, I bought them groceries again! They then went out and bought a wii. They are always mooching for gas money, money to pay her bills... yet they went out and bought a brand new truck and car. People like that mooch, so they can afford to do things that we "the givers" can't.

Next time she asks, politely tell her, "No." Then say, "Have you ever thought about creating a budget, because you are not the only person having a rough time financially." Then, I would tell her to listen to Dave Ramsey.

And not only do I mean don't give her money, but don't give her your give sale items, food or anything else either. They need to figure it out.

2 moms found this helpful


Let me tell you--You are NOT being selfish or a jerk. You are being an incredibly SMART woman and she doesn't deserve any help financially from you. I would highly consider what SHE contributes to the friendship--Anything? If not--cut ties----she obviously has not learned her lesson. The best thing you can do for her is to NOT help her. She isn't interested in help, she wants a free handout. GL


2 moms found this helpful

No. By continuing to give her $, food, or things you are extending the problem. Say no to everything, give her information for local food banks if she asks for food. They have got to learn to be more responsible and will not learn responsibility if they continue receiving hand outs.

2 moms found this helpful

True friends don't treat each other as she is treating you and others. If SHE and her husband cannot manage their money, that is THEIR problem to figure out, not yours. I wouldn't feel one ounce of guilt, and I do believe it's time for you to sit her down and tell her calmly, that you cannot and will not bail her out anymore. By doing so each time, whether with cash or food out of your pantry, you are enabling her to repeat the actions with you and others. If she doesn't like what you say and gets mad, the friendship is probably over. But then again, she's causing you stress and anxiety, so why do you need her as a friend? She has crossed a line and someone needs to put a stop to her behavior. If she listens to you, and apologizes or acts ashamed, she might be worth keeping around. Otherwise, I'm afraid you'll have to cut the ties. Sorry you're in this situation. You are right though, that money and friends do not mix. Seen it happen with my inlaws over a loan they gave to friends to buy a farm. Not a good ending in that as well. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

You DO really know that you aren't a jerk, right? You just need to hear someone tell you that you arn't a jerk, right?

The reason I ask this is that I WANT to believe that in your heart of hearts, you know that it's wrong for people to sponge off of their friends. It really is. And it's wrong for her to sponge off of her friends, or to TRY to from you.

She will never quit because she doesn't have the same kind of moral compass you do. You can still be friends with her if you ignore this part of her and continue to say no to her demands. But it IS hard to continue a relationship with someone who continually pushes us to do anything that is against our belief system. It can be done, if you are strong and stay true to your beliefs. But G., you really don't have to. You can walk away.

I would not invite her to your home anymore. She comes with the intent of trying to shake you down. That's not really a friend. That's someone who is using you.

I hate being used. I haven't had to endure it much in my life, but the times I have realized it was happening, it was very upsetting. And I admit, I have walked away, grateful that it wasn't worse than it was.


1 mom found this helpful

She is a moocher, that's for sure!

She is lucky to gave you as a friend, that's four certain! Big Kudos to you for the helping w/school supplies for the kids.

Whatever you feel like doing is the 'right' thing for you to do.

~Me personally, I would continue to allow her to shop in my cupboards (if I can spare it) but would nix any and all financial assistance!

1 mom found this helpful

I know I'm probably repeating other answers, but maybe from a different perspective: We are going through a really rough time financially right now. My husband and I live with my parents because we cannot afford a place of our own. We owe thousands of dollars in student loan debt, and I am working at a minimum-wage job while my husband tries to start his own business. I am hoping to go to nursing school someday and have a real career, but until then we are literally broke...yet I would NEVER, EVER, EVER act the way your friend is acting. In fact, I would never ask a friend for a loan, never ask a friend to give me their stuff, and I try my best to not talk about money with friends because I don't want anyone to know how badly we are doing financially. It is one thing to accept help from others when a person is doing badly (going through a medical crisis, for example; or having problems with unemployment); but she is just trying to take advantage of the kindness of others for her own personal gain. Definitely stop giving in to her guilt trips and stop enabling her. It is not much of a friendship when she doesn't give anything in return. I know it's not easy to confront someone who is supposed to be a friend, but definitely in this case it is justified and sorely needed. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

There are people out there who are world-class moochers and, believe me, they know EXACTLY what they're doing.

I was very good friends with one of these in college. She never paid for anything and always expected everyone else to pay for her, though we were all short on money.

She would always "happen" to drop by our dorm when my 2 suitemates and I were making dinner, essentially inviting herself every night without ever contributing a dime. This would have been bad enough, but she was also a vegetarian (no slight to vegetarians - just her), so we would always have to end up making a special vegetarian course. And, oh, did I mention that she never helped with the cooking or cleaning up?

We felt bad for her because she was always pleading poverty, but one day I think it just clicked that she was taking huge advantage of us. When she showed up for dinner, we told her that we were changing the dinner routine and that, going forward, everyone had to contribute an equal monthly amount towards the overall groceries. It was maybe $60 or $80, can't remember.

Her response? "Well, I'm a vegetarian and what I eat doesn't cost that much." That was the last time she ever came over to dinner.

I like the idea someone posted below - offer to help her make a budget for her finances and direct her to some financial websites or books. Help her to help herself, but never give her $$ again.

1 mom found this helpful

No your not being Selfish!

I know it's hard since you have been "friends" for so long but this really isn't a friendship. My huisband and I have recently "cleansed" ourselves of some long time "friends" such as this. it is sad to no longer have that kinship but when i look back it was gone years ago and had become a strain and stress on us both....negativity and bad feeling we don't need in our lives or that of our children. It was actually a very liberating experience once the yucky part was done and over with.

Take a look at how she effects you, your life and your family.....make a decision from there.

1 mom found this helpful

The only thing I share with my friends would be hand me down clothes and toys. We do not borrow money from each other. Sure if we are going to the show one will buy the ticket and the other will buy snacks. We give each other little things. We will switch off watching each other's kids and buying pizza. We SWITCH off though.
My husband was a carpenter so I know what it is like to struggle financially. We never asked friends for money. We knew how to cut back and live within our means. I stopped going to the hair salon every 8 weeks and buying new clothes. Would I have bought an $800 camera, no.
If your friend is a true friend, she would not ask you for help financially.
Do both your friend and her husband work?
Good luck and you are not a jerk.

1 mom found this helpful

Selfish jerk...NO...However, you have allowed your friend to JERK you around for years and unless you can be honest with her and tell he no more handouts, then it is time to end this friendship. Since this couple has done the same things to other family and friends, no one should wonder WHY!


1 mom found this helpful

Emotional support, yes; financial support, no. She's not in need, she needs to grow up and get more responsible.

1 mom found this helpful

Um, no you are NOT being horribly selfish. Your friend sounds like she is very irresponsible with her money and has gotten away with things because someone is always there to "give" her something.

Of course, when a friend or family member truly need help because of hard times, I'm always happy to help however I can.....but, I have a hard time feeling sorry for people who bring their problems on themselves. Maybe that makes ME horrible but I just have a hard time mustering up that sympathy for people who make poor decisions and then whine and cry because those decisions have put them in a bad place.

It sounds like your friend has gotten quite used to people giving her whatever it is that she "needs" at the moment. If I were you, I'd do exactly what you suggested and give her verbal encouragement and support at this point, but not financial. If she is having trouble paying her bills to the point that she is asking for money on FB.....perhaps she should not have bought that $800 camera and used it to establish an emergency fund!

Sorry, maybe this post sounds harsh, but I have a similar situation in my family right now and it's driving me nuts!! LOL!

1 mom found this helpful

I would be tempted to make my own money issues up so she would stop asking.

I had a girlfriend like this once and she stopped wanting to hang out after I said no and explained to her that I would let her live with me if she became homeless but anything less than homeless and I would not help her.

1 mom found this helpful

You need to distance yourself here...this is just gonna continue to drive you crazy!

1 mom found this helpful

It is nice to help out people in need, but it is not nice to be taken advantage of. I think you are completely within your rights (and not being selfish) to stick with verbal encouragement from now on. If you want to invite her over for dinner, that is fine, but she shouldn't be allowed to grocery shop in your house when she needs food.

I imagine it is going to be very difficult to respond to all of her requests, so you might try to come up with some lines ahead of time. If she needs a new recliner say "I'd be happy to help you pick one out. Maybe we can find a nice one at a second hand store since I know money is tight for all of us. Maybe we could check out craigslist too." If she asks for some of your groceries, say "I have a specific budget for food each week, and the food in my pantry is accounted for in my meal plan. Maybe you could join us for dinner next (insert date). I can usually make a big batch so there should be enough for a few more."

If you want to continue helping out those who need "a few dollars" more than you, maybe you can donate to a local food pantry or shelter. =)

I wish you the best of luck in figuring out this situation. It is really tough when friendships become strained or awkward.

yuck. I would have anxiety any time she came around. You're not being selfish. Friends do get pleasure from helping friends, but it sounds like you've done your part. At some point you have to ask yourself, what am I getting from this friendship? Do you still enjoy being around her? Maybe she takes your food but at least babysits in a pinch?
Maybe you could try telling her (again) that you don't want to lend money to friends, you don't want it interfering with your friendship. And that you don't want her to ask for things anymore either- that you'll let her know if you have things for her. Maybe let her know how it makes you feel (used, unappreciated, stressed because you paid for it and want it yourself?) when she asks for things. But that you do want to help- by perhaps helping her budget so she can see where her money is going and how she can better find the things she really needs?? Or by paying her to help you out?

Oh my gosh, G.!!!! You've done enough for her!!! She is a complete moocher!!! You need to stop. The verbal encouragement you plan to use is perfect!

Never give a moocher anything. I learned that this year. No matter how much you do for her, it will never be enough. Frankly, when she has the money she doesn't use it right. Feel no guilt and let no one pressure you.

Jessica, that's so funny. I wish I could say "Oh, hey, I was going to ask you for x" LOL

I would be done donating to her cause! Certainly, if you have clothes going to Salvation Army or Good Will etc. you can ask if she would like to go thru,
but that is as far as I would go. Money and friends do not mix!. Help if she
needs assistance learning how to budget. Some people are not good at
budgeting and would welcome the help. That being said, she really does
sound quite nervy. Goes thru freezer, frig and pantry!!! WTH! Stick to your guns.

You're not being a jerk, you're being her doormat!
I have family like that. Always "broke" yet eating out 3-4 times a week, buying new pets, or other big purchases. I flat out tell them, they need to get their priorities straight. If you're telling me your electric is about to get shut off, then I shouldn't see you bringing in take out from 3 different resturaunts, and buying a new puppy!
We may have money, but it's because we are responsible, pay our bills first then play later! Cut her off!!!!

I had this kind of problem with one friend.

I solved the problem by asking him for money whenever he came around. If he borrowed $100 from me, I would ask to borrow $50 from him. Then I would ask to borrow $60 from him. Then I would ask to borrow $40 from him. That equalled $150. So the next time he came over to borrow money, I told him all I had was $50 and he was happy. AND we were even. However its tough to get even with a mooch.

Of course you could always offer to teach them how to manage their money.

Good luck to you and yours.

You are indeed enabling her, and good for you for finally saying enough is enough!! You need to set boundaries in ALL your relationships, and if said person doesn't respect your boundaries, then they aren't a true friend. As hard as it may be, it may come to a point where you need to put serious distance between you two and maybe even cut her out of your life. You need to look out for yourself, as well, and having someone come around and take advantage of your good nature and good finances isn't emotionally healthy. Especially if you're already feeling stressed about it.

I can also say with confidence that even at my lowest financial point, I NEVER asked for handouts, and I HATED accepting money from family even if it was a few bucks to cover my gas. To this day, I have issues taking money from people.

I remember when I totaled my car 7 years ago and ended up on the wrong end of the loan (didn't buy GAP coverage :P). I swallowed my pride and asked my aunt (who was loaded at the time) if I could borrow some money. I guess she didn't think I was going to pay it back, so she surprised and pleased when she received her first payment. I was then able to return the karma this past Christmas when I paid for a night of her hotel when she came to visit :) It made me feel so good.

I tell that story because there's NO RECIPROCATION with this friend of yours, and she's taking advantage of your friendship.

No you are not. I would not offer any more money at all. You and your husband work hard for the money you have. I believe your friend is a moocher and sees nothing wrong with it. I would def distance my self.

It would be a different story 'IF' she was great full for all the help people give her and her family. It seems to me she expects people to do things for them.
This lady needs a wake up call!

She sounds like a moocher and I had (key word HAD) one of those in my life... I remember the last straw for me was when she would send her son to walk ahead with us so that I could buy him food at the mall while she ordered somewhere else.. Cut her out of my life quick-- its casual acquaintance now.
Friend is a very strong word-- and its a mutual relationship, not one sided --- I use the word friend with caution because not everyone is a friend!

Next time she askes for something, turn it around and tell her you will help her and her husband tweek their resumes if she would like or ask her how the job hunt is going, etc. Keep up this pattern and she will never ask for another thing.

I think you are right about this, if you are going to continue in this friendship you must set out some rules, like no more going through your pantry or freezer and asking for food! (who does that?). and make it clear that you do not think money and friendships mix.

Good for you---work on those boundaries!! Here's a way to look at it. For years you have been giving your friend a piggy back ride. You back hurts, your arms are tired, and you just can't carry her anymore. When you set her down her legs are weak from depending on you for so long and she falls down in the mud. She then looks at you accusingly and asks, "Why did you drop me??" Your answer, "Because I couldn't carry you anymore." She's mad because she finds herself in the mud and has to find a way to walk all by herself. It's messy and yucky and she wants to take out her anger at herself on you. However, your back feels better and your arms get a chance to rest and now you have all your energy for taking care of yourself instead of giving it all to someone else. You can offer her a hand to help her up out of the mud. But you can't make her legs stronger to carry herself. Only she can do that. Enabling her to stay weak wears down your energy and doesn't help her learn or grow at all. In short, you are not responsible for her self-growth, she is. But the longer you carry her, the more you hurt yourself and the more you take away her chance to learn to walk all by herself. Boundaries mean you are granting her the opportunity to grow from her own life lessons and become a better person. So offer compassion and understanding. If that's not enough for her then you may have to break ties. A one-sided friendship isn't a friendship at all---it's more like a parasite.
Good luck!

I do not think you are selfish, nor do I think you need to have more sympathy... if she wasn't spending money on expensive items without first paying the bills/gas/food - then that is her fault. I'm all about volunteering and sharing time/money/items/etc - but not if the person has a serious issue with budgeting or saving what money they can - and not everyone has extra money to save either.

She sounds like a user with a bad habit. I would be sick of it too. These days most of us are experiencing tight times. Asking once or twice is OK, or not asking, but accepting help when offered, but over and over? If i were in your situation I would distance myself. Her behaviour has started a toxic decline in your friendship.

Additionally, I really think it's up to family to help family. This is what we do. When I have good times I love to help my family financially, and they do the same for us when our resources are low, and their's are up.

Your friend is a bit too much.

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