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

G.,

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

M

2 moms found this helpful

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