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Old 05-13-2014, 04:54 PM
Location: Wonderland
44,378 posts, read 35,877,934 times
Reputation: 62734


OP, you may feel that you and your friend have differing values, and you may even feel some justified frustration and anger at your friend for so blithely wreaking financial havoc on herself, but the bottom line is that she has not asked you to subsidize her lifestyle choices, nor has she personally wronged you. In fact, in spite of your differing values, she has apparently been a decent and faithful friend to you (and don't for a minute think she hasn't realized that you disapprove of many of her choices - if you're a good and caring friend at all, you've surely tried to give her well meant advice over the years!).

It's entirely possible, and often very stimulating and enjoyable, to have a wide range of friends who may have values and lifestyles which differ dramatically from yours. In fact, it's a testimony to your friend's accepting and generous nature that she has made the effort to remain friends with you in spite of your very different values.

She is going to need friends (that doesn't translate into "need handouts" by the way) over the next few months. Now is your chance to shine. NOW she just may listen to what you have to say about material things, consumerism, etc. You have an opportunity to lead by example - to show her how one can live joyfully without such a hunger for consumption and material pleasures. Now is your opportunity to really be there for her. And you're asking if it's OK to walk away from her now - when she hasn't even apparently hinted for you to give her or lend her a penny?

Even if she does ask for money - you can still tell her no and still be her friend. Or are you so afraid of this scenario that you'd rather just cut off the friendship? It sounds to me - and I could be wrong - that she would probably still welcome your friendship even if you had to have the difficult "no money for you!" conversation with her. You might offer to feed her a home cooked meal off and on, or you may offer her a few nights on your sofa, or you may take her with you to some sort of activity that doesn't involve luxurious overspending (maybe get her involved in some volunteer work?) - there are many ways to help her that don't involve lending or giving her money. Heck, you may even offer to take her to the movies or out to eat or whatever. You can be supportive and kind and gentle with this very beaten down woman without giving her money. And under no circumstances would I allow her to borrow money. But you can offer to help her get her finances in order. That would be a big thing to do and would have more long term results - if she listened.

Don't kick her to the curb just when she needs true friends the most.

Great song - Find Out Who Your Friends Are
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Old 05-14-2014, 06:50 PM
Location: Central Florida
2,063 posts, read 1,856,477 times
Reputation: 1917
[quote=EdgeCity;34752470]I have a good friend, who we will call "Janet."

We've been friends for several years. Janet is essentially a kind and decent person and has been supportive and a good friend to me. Unfortunately she has had a history of poor decisions with relationships with men which invite drama into her life and have been financially damaging. Also I have observed her being irresponsible with money over the years.

Janet has had $100,000 + salaries over the time I have known her, but at the same time, she's been through a few different jobs and had some some "shaky" periods. Until about a year ago , she was in a year long relationship with a guy who was financially dependent on her. She bought him a car on credit, which she now is underwater on and cannot sell for enough to pay the loan off. When that relationship ended, even though she was financially damaged from the amount of money dropped to support that loser, she moved into an apartment in an upscale area that is very expensive each month (basically she could have found a nice place for half of what she was paying). When she signed the lease, she noted that she would need to start cutting back significantly on expenses. However, I watched as she furnished the big new apartment, traveled abroad to an expensive destination for a week, lease an expensive car, threw a catered party, have expensive hair and nail services, continued to go out to upscale and expensive night spots and restaurants, and continued to shop at high dollar stores.

In the background of all this have been difficulties at work that should have put her on notice to save. Things were shaky at her job about a year ago, but had improved for the past six months. However, things had not improved enough to where she should have been totally confident in NOT saving money or cutting expenses. Last week, Janet was told that she is being terminated (with a small severance).

I feel awful for her, but I can't help but be a bit irritated that she has caused herself to have greater stress by running up bills and being stuck in a very needlessly expensive year-long lease. She doesn't have a robust emergency fund to help her through in case she does not find a new position within a couple months. And, even as we are talking about her game plan for getting a new job, I noticed she's gone shopping and brought back unnecessary items, and is talking about going to get some unnecessary upgrades to her vehicle.

Have you ever ended a friendship because someone's financial irresponsibility bothered you greatly? Or have you ever given unsolicited advice to such person?[/quote

Sounds like she may soon be evicted when she can't pay her rent and if she has no family to take her in may ask to move in with you. Don't dump her over this but if you do decide to help her only do it if she can show she will change. And do not loan money. I think she is used to spending money and living a certain lifestyle and simply can't stop.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:01 AM
Location: On the corner of Grey Street
6,067 posts, read 8,329,059 times
Reputation: 11540
It sounds like your friend is indeed terrible with money. But if she is a good and true friend who really cares about you and has been there for you when you needed her and isn't asking you to loan her money or give her a place to live, then why in the world would you dump her as a friend? Honestly, that makes you seem kind of heartless. Yes, her problems are of her own making and I would definitely roll my eyes at her spending habits, but sheesh. Worry about yourself and your bank account. I could see ending a relationship over a difference in spending habits, but not a friendship.
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Old 05-15-2014, 11:39 PM
Location: Southwest Washington State
21,590 posts, read 14,200,956 times
Reputation: 30221
I think because you don't approve of her lifestyle, you are having problems when her luck runs out. I am not sure she deserves to be kept at a distance, especially when she probably does need a level headed friend right now. If she is lucky, she will learn from her mistakes. But these are her problems, not yours. She has been a good friend in the past, and now it is your turn to be supportive.

Decide in your own mind if you would consider giving her money if she asked for it. Think about how much you could comfortably give. Do this so if it comes up you aren't blind sided. Make sure you know how you feel about this, and feel comfortable in your decision. Even if comes to giving her money, that will not solve her problems long term. And you cannot do this more than once, IMO. Otherwise she will see you as able to bail her out whenever she runs short.

If you decide you cannot ever give her money, then decide how you would tell her this.

With any luck, it won't come up. Perhaps she will find another job soon.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:06 PM
191 posts, read 281,014 times
Reputation: 292
Originally Posted by EdgeCity View Post

It's not like I would drop her as a friend during this difficult time for her. It's just the mismatch of values that is bothersome. It is becoming more apparent to me, especially with the fact that she tends to spend time with people who are quite well off and flashy, social climbing types. Conspicuous consumption is not my thing at all, and it is hard to abide when someone is clearly posturing for others while they are being irresponsible.
I understand where you are coming from. I currently have a parallel situation, and it is hard to even get together with my friend because she talks about her financial problems, but she just doesn't learn from her past experiences. And my friend is over 50. It can be painful to sit and listen to her woes and bite my tongue.

I believe that friendships, as any relationship, form because there is a mutual enjoyment. And the friendship starts to disintegrate if one or both parties no longer are enjoying it. Because of this I have contacted my friend less frequently.

So I think that you need to do what works for you. Best of luck. ( And I recognize this post will be controversial...)
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