When your friends are moochers
Are you starting to feel like a human ATM? Here's how to call friends on their hands-out behavior.
In "Can you afford to have friends?" I noted that nearly 20% of people in a survey said they spend $500 or more each year on gifts for friends. Anyone else here thinking, "Where can I find some friends like that?"
A related survey question was just as interesting: Almost one-third (31%) spend more on their friends than their friends do on them.
Part of me knows there could be good reasons for that. Part of me wants to tap these folks on the shoulder and ask, "Are your friends moochers?"
I can think of several reasons why you might spend more than is spent on you:
- You like to give "just because" gifts versus something for birthdays and holidays.
- You make more money than your friends and like to spread the wealth around.
- You're too busy/not inclined to shop for bargains, even online.
- Your friends are moochers.
Sometimes friends treat friends as a gesture of affection and care. Nobody wants to think that a pal would draft off him, financially speaking.
But most of us know someone who conveniently "forgets" her wallet or debit card during social outings. That kind of person may just as conveniently forget that she promised to pay you back.
And do any of these types look familiar?
- The guy who orders $20 worth of beer and snacks and throws a $20 into the payment pile rather than include his share of tax and tip.
- The friend you treat to dinner but who reciprocates at Starbucks: "You paid last time, so this is on me," as though a flavored iced tea is equivalent to appetizer, entree and a glass of wine.
- The pal who pleads for a $100 loan. Two weeks later you still haven't heard from him, but you see Facebook photos of him and his date at a hot new nightclub. Well, now you know why he needed the money. (Post continues below video.)
The meaning of friendship
If you've had enough, call a friend on his/her behavior:
- "You keep forgetting your debit card. Make sure you have it tonight."
- "Dinner? Sounds great, but I'm not in a position right now to split the check evenly."
- "Sorry, but I paid your cover charge the last two times we went out. I can't afford to keep doing that."
This isn't a matter of to-the-penny payback. It's a question about the meaning of friendship. I've heard tales of "friends" who stop wanting to hang out once they understand that the bank is closed. Instead, they move on to a new crop of easy marks.
This may happen to you, too. Prepare to feel angry or disrespected. You might also genuinely miss that person's company. Unfortunately, all the other person misses is your wallet.
Personally, I treat friends and relatives as often as I can get away with it. Sometimes I find frugal ways to do it: paying with discounted gift cards, buying from daily deal sites, shopping clearance tables or thrift stores.
But when someone expects his way to be paid every single time, or borrows money and doesn't pay it back, ask yourself whether he's really a friend. Would someone who cares about you treat you like a trust fund?
Readers: Have you ever had to stop enabling a moocher? Any tips to share?
More on MSN Money:
I have a philosophy that has served me well over the years. I will help them out or pay if it is a small amount one time, usually 20.00 dollars or less. If they do not pay me back or pick up future tabs until a near equal amount is paid, I do not pay anymore on their behalf or give them any more money. I simply reply, " You still owe me for last time". I have found this is the quickest way to get rid of fake friends. Plus, I go by the rule; if I still want it, I don't let friends borrow it.
I call them leeches! They leech off of you like blood suckers! I learned myt lesson years ago, and i stand up to them now! No way am i going to give them my money or food etc! Especially when they have more money coming in the house in a month than i do!
Im a very generous kind hearted lady, BUT! I have drawn the line! They arent your friends, they are your burdens!
If I can, I always say when the longsuffering server first shows up, "Separate checks, please. Thank you." I will do this if I know there is a mooch in the crowd or if it is a crowd I don't know. Or "I'd like my own check please, for tax purposes. Thanks.".
Embarrass the h--- out of 'em enough times and the mooches will fade away.
All of the above tips are great. Too bad we who pull our weight have to deal with this.
I'll bet moochism extends into all areas of the moocher culture, though I don't care to find out. Ick, stay away (making sign of cross in the air and backing away)
This article doesn't address the "weekend moochers" out there!
We retired with homes at the beach and in the mountains, and enjoy entertaining our friends often with warm hospitality and plenty of quality food and drink. We don't like to keep count, but...There are those who always contribute to the feast, pick up the occasional bar or lunch/dinner tab, and who extend reciprocal invitations to come visit them and then return like hospitality. And,we always exhibit the same generous spirited behavior when we visit them.
But, there are also those friends who, in the five years that we have relocated, show up with little in hand, have never mentioned a word about coming for an overnight stay (even though their kids are gone and they have 2-3 extra bedrooms), have ordered cocktails on our round after they've bought a round of beer, or when we have stayed with them, have prepared soo little food, that upon leaving their home, we've gone elsewhere to finish our meal! All of these friends are financially well off and most are retired. It is said that you pick your friends based on their faults, and we value and try to maintain all of the friendships that have been made over the years, but sometimes moochers can irritate and try the soul!
I find a lot of the women that I date are moochers. They're just looking for a free meal, free entertainment with no intention of going on a 2nd date. It's really sad because often they make more than me. You wanted women's lib, start paying your own way ladies.
No different than almost all money situations, learn from experience and divest yourself of the FRIENDS OF YOUR MONEY, you have enough of those with all the Federal, and local governments and charities!
I'm reading these comments and am utterly amazed at the length of time it takes to drop someone with a mooching spirit. Apparently the moochers have something else to contribute because they didn't get dropped after the first or second apparent act of mooching. That said, you can nip someone getting a free financial ride off you early if you ask yourself a few questions:
1) Can you see yourself being friends for life with this person with all flaws present?
2)Has the other person exhibited mooching habits with someone else?
3) Can you really afford to lose your money to someone else in the first place?
4) Do you have a control issue or a real need to be valued by someone to the extent you would leave yourself open to "buy friends"?
Two times have been the limit for me to shell out my hard earned money on someone who won't pay it forward in some sort of way. Thankfully because I took a hard line stand and was able to honestly answer the above questions, I didn't have moochers and don't have them now.
I've just experienced a visit from hell - a long time pen pal and her husband came over, mooched everything without any thought or consideration for us, or what it was costing us and took over my computer most times to fetch her emails from friends back home! Never lifted a finger to clean up after themselves in the bathrm, or bedrm, never helped with preparation of food, used washer and dryer how many times, telephone, and ate like they were starved for months!! Never once offered to pay or get food, or pay for the gas in the vehicle for driving them miles upon miles, and wanted to stay 2 wks, but my husband finally got them to leave (white lies) after a week. I nearly had a heart attack for how much I hated them and I should have mentioned I feel like such a fool! I treated them as I'd like to be treated, and we never ever stay with anyone - we pay for rooms when we're holidaying. I totally hate them now.
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