Solitude can be debilitating and having solid friendships you can count on leaves serious impact on an average human’s wellbeing. Meanwhile, having money is just as crucial as we are naturally hard-wired by survival instincts. Unsurprisingly, an overlap between the two – friendship and money – is inevitable, and more often than not, leave us with very tough circumstances and situations, especially when dealing with stingy or freeloading mooches.
Scenario A: Your friend prefers only to pay for what he has consumed when you go out together for a meal, down to the sen, even when it was agreed upon by everyone in the group to split the bill evenly.
Scenario B: When you’ve been generous one too many times, this friend begins to avoid paying her share and occasionally, waits for someone else to foot the bill before pretending to forget about paying for her own portion.
Scenario C: This friend is always short on small change and often nudges you for the extra whenever she is in need. She also automatically assumes that there is no need for her to repay you since the amounts are so small anyway.
Scenario D: When you do fun stuff, this friend avoids participating unless she knows it is someone else’s treat or when the activity involved is free. She also sometimes leeches off everyone else’s food at the table and avoids ordering her own.
Even if the aforementioned predicaments aren’t completely spot-on, chances are you’ve been caught in similar tight spots one too many times. While it may be tolerable in the beginning, it leads to frustration, resulting in pent up anger and bitterness that may or may not one day be an explosive fury of emotions that cancels the friendship completely. Here are several ways to deal with friends of that nature without putting too much strain on the friendship:
Do discuss it privately – Granted, it will be difficult to confront said friend especially if he gets defensive. However there is no other way to go about it without letting this friend be aware that you are uncomfortable with his money habits. Find a suitable time and place to kickstart the conversation. You can start with statements that begin with “I” so you’re not finger-pointing in a way that makes him feel victimised.
Do strategise your next steps – It may take time for him to address your concerns as: a) he may not realise the severity of the problem; or b) he thinks he could still get away with it. You can save yourself from being taken advantage of by suggesting activities that require little to no money and turn down his invitations to pricey restaurants or shopping malls. Additionally, reduce daily interactions with said person just so he knows how serious this is.
Do know when to move on – If the same problems persist six months down the road when you’ve given him one too many chances to actually be a decent friend and human being, say something. When the friendship doesn’t bring you joy whatsoever but only begins to make you feel drained, used or stressed upon, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship and possibly, let this friend go. Your happiness and bank account matter too.
Don’t attack the friend in public – Any heated confrontation done in public can be humiliating and even more so when money is involved. The situation can turn ugly very quickly when voices begin to raise and all parties start getting defensive about their points made. It simply gets exacerbated when you know other people are peering over, eavesdropping on the drama and anticipating a possible cat fight.
Don’t avoid the friend completely – It may seem like the best solution from the get-go, but not only will you make other people around you very uncomfortable or be forced to pick sides, you may be torpedoing that friendship into the abyss forever when in fact, there was a chance for the both of you to make rational decisions to improve the relationship. Don’t be impulsive and handle this the mature way.
No matter how you choose to approach this sticky situation, know that once a friendship becomes so infinitely damaged, it is nearly impossible to patch things up afterwards. Good luck!