Post # 1
I am currently unemployed, and have spent the last few years in school. Let’s just say, I haven’t had any money in YEARS. My last pair of jeans ripped from wear this week, and I don’t know how I am going to replace them. My parents and SO are helping me with my bills for the moment.
My very good friend, let’s call her X, knows this, but she is always, ALWAYS inviting me to do very expensive things with her. I always have to turn her down. I feel rude doing it, everytime. She lives out of town, so I always invite her down for a visit at which point she lets me pay for EVERYTHING. All the wine, food, etc. for the weekend. She’ll even let me pick up the tab for events. I can’t afford to do it anymore, dislike resenting her for spending my money, so I have stopped inviting her.
I have another good friend, Y, who also makes a lot of money, who does not do this to me. She never asks me to do expensive things with her, and she invites me to things she knows I can afford. IF she does invite me to something she knows I cannot easily afford, she always says, ‘for your birthday, I’m going to get you a ticket to such and such show. Let’s go together!’ She always brings down food and wine she ‘just happens to have on hand.’ When she comes down, things are split equally, and she always tries to pay more than her fair share. (I don’t let her.)
Friend X is getting VERY jealous of friend Y. X and I still talk, but I never do anything with her anymore. I’ve been friends with both girls for over a decade, and they are not friendships I would give up lightly. X had a very rough childhood, which is the reason why she is such a skinflint. Nevertheless, it has become a major problem since money got so tight for me. (I honestly think she is out of touch with reality. She just invited me to go on a couples trip to Europe with her last week. Is she serious? I can’t afford my rent!) Is there anyway I can tell her why I can’t/won’t hang out with her without it being horribly awkward and rude?
Post # 3
On one hand, I would say to avoid discussing ANY money issues with friends…
on the other hand, this is someone you’ve known for a decade and there is no reason you shouldn’t be honest. Be upfront and honest about your situation and that the sort of activities she wants you to do are out of the question, and that the other friend happens to be more understanding/accommodating/whatever.
Post # 4
I think you need to just spell it out for her. It sounds like she just doesn’t get it. I’d probably be like “I’ve tried to subtly tell you that I can’t afford to do X, Y, Z with you, but since you suggested that couples’ trip last week, I don’t think you quite understand the seriousness of my situation. I can barely afford to pay my rent. Please stop suggesting these things I can’t afford.. I feel bad enough already. I’d like to spend time with you… but can we please stick to things that don’t cost a lot of money? Hopefully things will look up for me soon, but until then, I need to save all my pennies”.
Post # 5
@lawyerchick13: Are you sure X has money? If she graciously “lets” you pay for everything maybe she doesn’t.
I am kinda stumped how good of a friend X can be if you can’t be honest with her. I’ve said to all my friends and they to me at some point that, “I’m sorry, but I can’t afford that, money’s tight right now.”
I’m surprized you wouldn’t split the cost of things when you go out. Your relationship with X just seems quite fake.
Post # 6
She obviously isn’t taking the million hints you’ve given her. I’d sit her down and pretty much say exactly what Canary Diamond suggested.
Or, have you tried suggesting low cost activities to her, for both of you to do? Or does she take that as an invite to town with you picking up the tab every time? If the latter, perhaps you could make some reference to going dutch or each paying your own way?
Post # 7
She is VERY weird about money. She told me she was able to pay off her sizable school debt in two years. Now she spends a lot on very beautiful clothes, and expensive trips. (I in no way bugrudge her these things.) However, it does indicate that she has a lot of cash.
The problem is she grew up very poor, and when we were younger, I used to pick up the tab simply because she had no money. (I still do it for friends who are really struggling. Even though I considered myself badly off when I was in school, I could afford my rent, food and the occassional night out. I had friends who could barely make their rent, and occassionally I’d treat them to dinner or a drink. Almost to a man, they have reciprocated once times got better for them. Even if they haven’t, none still expect me to pick up their bill.) I do, however, object to picking up her tab now that our situations are reversed.
Post # 8
The next time she suggests something expensive I would just be really honest and straight forward, “I would love to spend time with you and I value our friendship, but I cannot afford that. Things are very bad for me right now, I can barely pay my bills. Maybe sometime we could go to (instert free event here) or have a potluck dinner at my house.” And just repeat everytime she asks.
Post # 9
@lawyerchick13: You just have to be honest with her. DH & I are in a good financial position that allows us to do a LOT of things our friends aren’t able to do. I don’t ask my friends who aren’t as financially stable as us to do such activities, unless we are offering to pay, it’s just not nice. I would think that your friend doesn’t realize how much of a pinch you are in because if she did she wouldn’t continue to ask you do to things that aren’t financially possible. Since you two are close just be honest with her & based on her reaction/how the friendship progresses you’ll know if you two can continue to be friends. If she’s like “OMG i didn’t realize you were in such a pinch I feel like such a jerk” then invites you to do another expensive activity you’ll know that your conversation fell on deaf ears, which would suck. But I’m sure she’ll understand your situation if you just make it clear to her. Good luck!
PS Your other friend totally gets it and she sounds amazing!!!
Post # 10
I don’t think there is anything wrong with her inviting you to things that you cannot afford.
There is also nothing wrong with you saying no.
I do think that when you invite someone to do something that you are paying for it. If I invite a friend to dinner, I pay. If they invite me, they pay. Perhaps she has that mindset. Why not invite her over for a night in. Then you can see each other, and you set the budget.
Post # 11
Yeah, it sounds like X needs to be reminded that not everyone has the same financial ability. I would tell her that you want to enjoy her company, but it needs to be something more affordable, or it’s just not a possibilty. Hopefully she will value your honesty. She may ask about Y, and you can tell her the truth there too… that she’s very generous, and that is why you are able to afford the more expensive occasions with her. She might just take the hint!
Post # 12
You’ve known her for a decade+ and can’t discuss your money woes with her?
Or is it just that she refuses to listen?
Especially since she used to be in your shoes, this is particularly troubling that she can’t pick up on and understand your situation.
Either way it points to bad communication in your friendship, and I think it’s time to work on that if you want to remain friends.
If I knew (or even sensed!) you were tight for cash, and I were your friend, I wouldn’t ask you to put out a dime of your own money. 🙁