Do you have friends who always make you pay?

posted 2 weeks ago in Relationships
Post # 2
645 posts
Busy bee

It sounds like you are a great friend and covered her when she was short without ever making her feel guilty or awkward. And now she is absolutely taking advantage. Even if she weren’t showing off all of her new extras, by merit of being back on her feet again she should have jumped at the chance to show some generosity back to you and the group that has supported her for so long, or at the very minimum pitched in for herself.

To give her a teeny benefit of the doubt: did she know everyone was covering her because she was struggling, or did she maybe think everyone else is super generous and likes to take care of things? Or thinks you all are doing really well and are this way with everyone, no matter their situation? Neither would excuse her behavior in my mind, it just genuinely seems so odd someone could be so tone deaf, but maybe she is.

Post # 3
9057 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

Next time just let her miss out if she says “oh no it’s ok I won’t have any”. 

When she was short on funds she had no choice in the matter because she didn’t have the money and it was kind and generous of you and your friends to chip in and cover her.

But now she can afford it and is making the choice to do without. So let her. 

Post # 5
6314 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: September 2016

To me, if you’re her real friend and she’s being an ass, you say something to her. You don’t just let your friend be ass out in the streets. So I’d have a brief conversation with her and say something like “Hey, I was glad to be able to cover you when money was tight; I just wanted to spend time with you. I have the impression, though, that money isn’t so tight for you, now, so it would be nice if you kicked down from time to time. If you still aren’t able to, though, let me know. We can do free things or things that don’t require money when we get together. If you have a budget that you’re working with, let me know that, too.” That way, you let her know that expectations have changed and you will not be continuing to cover for her and that you are willing to be flexible. She may get defensive. It’s hard talking about money if you aren’t used to doing it- especially if you are doing something “wrong”. But if you want to maintain the relationship and also stop paying for her, you should say something. If she’s been dealing with a lot of financial restriction in her life, for the last several years, she may be so used to the cycle of scrimping and bingeing that she may not know how to navigate the new financial level she seems to have entered- one of the tenets of which is, you contribute to cover yourself (at the very minimum) and also cover everyone else from time to time (if you are able to do so).

If she says money is still tight, then I’d just laugh and say “Look, I know it’s not my job to track how you spend your money, but when you’re showing up with new bags and talking about $600 makeup hauls, you have to understand that I would get the impression that you can cover your own $20 contribution toward pizza or drinks.”

Just have the conversation- otherwise, you may find that you will reach a point where the conversation hasn’t been had and you are in this awkward resentful place and now you are many years down the road and it’s even harder to have it.

Post # 6
797 posts
Busy bee

I agree completely with TwilightRarity.

I have had uncomfortable conversations with friends before when I felt they were taking advantage of our friendship or of my good nature – I don’t have the conversation the first time. I give them the benefit of the doubt the first maybe once or twice.

But after that, yes, I say something. Not harshly, but very straightforwardly.

You need to let them know that you notice these things and put them on notice that it isn’t going to fly. Especially when these are normal, adult things like paying for your own drinks and pizza or being respectful of plans that you’ve made. You can’t just give people an endless pass on these things.

Say something – they will either get apologetic or a little defensive. And then, they will either change, or they won’t. If they value the friendship, hopefully they will change. If they don’t change, I strongly suggest you put a bit of distance between you and that friend. Nothing worse than an adult relationship which is unequal.

Post # 7
8280 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

I had an ex-boyfriend like this. I made more money than him (but still we were young and I made almost no money…just more than him lol) and so I treated on a lot of dates because I wanted to do things. A few months into the relationship he gets a new job and was making a really solid salary and significantly more than me. I was still treating. He wouldn’t pay for shit. It wasn’t about the money because I never spent more than I could afford – it was about the mindset and the generosity. He didn’t want to treat me even though he finally had the money too. The relationship was over shortly thereafter.

Your friend is pretty shitty and she’s taking advantage of everyone’s kindness. It might be petty but if she did it again I’d call her out. If she didn’t start contributing to the group costs I’d honestly stop inviting her. No one wants to hang out with a mooch. That doesn’t mean you have have to keep a penny for penny running tally, but if you’re both generous then it evens out. For example my best friend and I cover each other (both money AND non-money favors) all the time and because we’re both generous with each other we assume it’s probably about equal now that we’re 20 years into a friendship – if not we have another 50 to keep at it lol. 

Post # 8
300 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2019

It seems like she got use to you paying. Cut the rope and either tell her or don’t invite her out anymore. 

Post # 9
1391 posts
Bumble bee

Why can’t she contribute to things?  If she has money to spend on other things, she can pay her share when she’s out with you. There is no reason why she should be able to take advantage of friends when she has money.  It’s not as if she is flat broke and destitute or anything.  I would always help a friend in need, but not when they obviously have funds coming in and can spend money if they wanted to.  Just stop paying for her – cut it right off.  A lot of friendships die over things like this so if she is a good friend, she will understand how you’re feeling. I had a friend that was always “broke” but always had money to go on trips, order take-out food for herself, treat herself to frivolous things, etc.  But whenever we went out, she always expected me to treat.  She would also borrow money from people that she couldn’t pay back and if she ever got any money coming in from work or something, she would use it on herself instead of paying people back.  I finally had to cut her off but it also ended our friendship but by then, I was ok with it because I was so sick of her mooching and intolerable behaviour.  Life is too short to have crappy friends who take advantage of you and never reciprocate.

Post # 10
4229 posts
Honey bee

Not exactly “make me pay” but I know someone who does something similar. Actually, she is not a close friend of mine but we have more of a common friend. For example, if there’s a potluck, she rarely brings anything. Or if any of my friends’ children have birthdays, she never bring gifts but expects that people will do so for her son. How? By sending messages directed to the group of her son’s wishlist. This irritates me but no one in our group has verbalized. I’m sure they have noticed though. To prevent me from getting upset, I just don’t invite her to my events (birthdays, potlucks). But I’m okay going out with her as a group with the other girls. 

Post # 11
2905 posts
Sugar bee

It wasn’t the same situation, but a close friend of my exH always disappeared anytime it was his turn to buy a round or when the bill came he would always short us.  We started getting separate tabs or saying that we all had to put down a card.  He was just a cheap ass and I told my exH that I wasn’t going to hang out with him if we had to cover his tab every time we hung out with him.

If she is your close friend I would talk to her though.  Tell her that you were happy to chip in and help when she was down on her luck, but now that she has a job, she is expected to chip in for her portion.  And if she can’t, then she shouldn’t come.


Post # 12
3592 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: January 2021

You need to have an honest and Frank conversation with her about this. If you don’t, you’re just going to end up becoming more and more resentful towards her. 

She’s being shitty and shouldn’t need to be told that part of being an adult is pulling your own weight when you’re able, but if this is someone you genuinely value as part of your life, you owe it to both of you to speak up before your whole relationship ends up poisoned. 

In my social group, we have all been through tougher times and better times and have helped each other out, covered for each other, etc at different times without every keeping score about it, but we are able to comfortably do that because every single person in our group is generous by nature and not the type to take advantage, so we always know that what we give is going to come back in some way eventually. 

Relationships are supposed to be reciprocal, and that includes friendships. 

That doesn’t mean everything will always work out to be exactly even over time or anything, but no one should ever feel taken advantage of. 

Post # 13
2105 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2018

Yes, I have had friends like this. You need to make sure she knows that next time she will be expected to pay her fair share. I enjoy treating others when it’s my choice, but I hate being taken advantage of, and this is what your friend is doing. I had a very good childhood friend who was in dire straights financially and I began to help her with rent. Soon, she was asking me to “add a few hundred” on top of it for personal expenses. Whenever we talked, it was a 4-hour tirade about how awful things were for her, how she was the victim, unfairly treated, etc. She never asked how I was doing. At some point, I couldn’t do it anymore (both financially and emotionally), so I stopped talking to her. I still feel bad about it, but I had become a check book and that wasn’t OK.

With a current friend, I’ve also been pulling away for some of the same reasons. I’ve given her a good amount of money over the years and also always treated when we went out. However, recently she’s started to just expect me to pay for her in group setting without speaking to me about it in advance. The last straw was at a dinner where she ordered expensive drink after expensive drink and numerous plates of food and then sat back when everyone was paying the tab. Another friend told me later that she had ordered 10 shots of really expensive tequila that alone cost 1/3 of the entire bill. I’m pretty done with paying for her, too.


Post # 14
464 posts
Helper bee

I have two women in my social circles like this.

One I met through her being my roommate (yay random kijiji ads). We still see each other a few times a year, but I am careful about what we do. I remember I put a bill for toilet paper/lightbulbs on the fridge to be split, and she wanted to pay less for toilet paper because sometimes she stayed at her boyfriend’s house (sometimes he stayed at ours, so I’m sure he used our toilet paper). I always thought she was really broke and tried to work with her. When she started talking about moving in with her boyfriend and wanted some information (I had just graduated law school and had started working at a family law firm making $40k) it turned out she was making $110k, had no debts, and her investment portfolios were large. I was so upset that I had been shouldering so much for the year we lived together because she was in a “tight spot”. I noticed whenever we go out to eat as a group she will say she isn’t hungry and then picks off of everyone else’s plates. One of her friends got quite upset one time and said “Are you ever going to pay for any of the food you eat?”. I try to limit our interactions to 2-3 a year, but sometimes we still cross over.

There is another girl in my law school friend group who I don’t particularly like, but she is a friend within the larger group circle. I’ve never spent time with her 1-on-1. She is obsessed with living frugally. How much money she can save/how much harder she works than everyone else are the only things she talks about. She does work harder and save more money than everyone else, but it is painful, condescending and elitist. The worst part is when she sits bragging about the $90k car she just paid cash for (they have some weird priorities in this frugal lifestyle – cars are their splurge) the rest of us with tons of student loans keep remembering that she never brings a bottle of wine to a gathering, never offers to host a gathering, and when we’ve been at bachelorettes has never picked up the tab for the Uber. I know two of the other women in the group have pulled her aside to tell her she has to start bringing a bottle of wine/paying for things because it’s unfair. 

I’d just bring it up to your friend because it sounds like you actually like her (versus I do not particularly like the women I have just cited as being cheap).

Post # 15
3490 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: April 2017 - City, State

I have a friend like this and honestly I don’t see him much because I know he’s going to expect me to pay for him (and his kid when he brings him along) he’s working so there’s no reason for him to think I’ll cover him but I have yet to have the very necessary uncomfortable discussion as PPs have correctly suggested you have. So I don’t have much of a leg to stand on. The other thing I’ll do is if we’re meeting up food, I’ll get there early and grab a table, and tell the server I’m going to have a separate check from my friend. Not my proudest moment but it works!

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