Love love love the podcast. It’s really motivated me in my blogging so thank you to you and Melanie and all my fellow House 21 bloggers for that.
My problem is a to with my friend. She likes to take, but there’s not much giving. I feel very much like our friendship is a one-way street.
My family is a lot more comfortable financially than hers, so I have never begrudged her the financial help we as a family have given her. My family basically funded her living expenses throughout her time at university. In addition, where she has asked for a favour here and there, my family has rarely thought twice about it.
She is grateful, I know she is. However, on the very few occasions where my family have had to say or set boundaries, she’s really got mad about it. I’m not saying I want her to thank us constantly, but gratitude in the form of respecting the odd ‘no’ or ‘we can’t right now’ wouldn’t be too much to ask, in my opinion.
She normally will ask me, and I’ll either help her myself or if I can’t then I’ll ask my parents if they can. However, if I say we can’t help her on a particular occasion, she’ll go straight to my mum and guilt her into helping. The last time she did this, I got so angry and I explained to her why I thought this was very unfair, at which point she told my mum that she thought ‘something was up’ with me and that I really was ‘not myself’ which could be the only explanation for me ‘projecting so much negativity’ onto her.
We made up, but I still feel low level discomfort towards the whole thing, because I know that now every time she asks for money, we have to say yes or she’ll lash out again. To me, it’s not the money. It’s the principle.
I’ve tried to remind myself that we are friends first and foremost and I’ve tried in that regard to rekindle what it is we’ve kind of lost. But she never has time to hang out with me, although I see on her socials that she socialises with other people. The one time I actually managed to get in a room with her this year, we went for dinner and at the end when the waiter came with the bill she said really non-chalantly “you’re okay to get this, yeah?”. We hadn’t discussed it, she just assumed I’d cover it for her. It really soured the evening for me. She hasn’t wanted to even go on a walk in the park with me since.
I know it sounds awful, but I don’t want my family to keep gifting her money anymore. Do you think that’ll mean the end of our friendship?
I’m sorry to hear that things have become so sour between you and your friend.
It’s always inherently difficult for a relationship to stay as sweet and issue-free as it was once money starts changing hands. There’s a reason that 41% of divorces happen as a result of financial disagreements. Money adds a very, very challenging angle to the nature of a relationship.
I presume that you were close friends before university, for your friend to feel comfortable to ask for such funding from your family. Therefore, there is a long-term friendship at stake here.
I think, first of all, that you need to talk to your family and most importantly your mum. If your friend is bypassing you to get what she wants directly from your family / mum, then you need to make sure that they are all on the same page as you when it comes to any further requests. I would hope that your family will respect your decision as to whether or not to gift your friend the money. Remind them that, ultimately, it is your personal friendship with her that is being affected and that you would therefore like the decision to lie chiefly with you. Explain the strain it is putting on your friendship, in the hope that they will agree to let the choice be yours as to whether or not they help her financially.
With a heavy heart, I feel a duty to tell you that, from what you’ve told me, it does not feel like your friendship is that much of a priority to this girl anymore. The reluctance to socialise with you, despite the fact that your family have done so much for her, suggests to me that she doesn’t see this as much of a friendship anymore. You might find that once you’ve made the decision to remove the monetary exchange element of your relationship, that you might be able to recommence being genuine friends again. However, from the picture you have painted me, I wouldn’t pin all of your hopes on it.
Friendships are difficult. I heard a beautiful saying the other day: “Friends are people who love you, even though they know you”. I do hope your friendship can be rekindled, but I do not think that you are in the wrong for wanting to end this monetary exchange. It should not be the basis of your friendship.