5 Signs You Have a Financially Needy Friend
It’s great to have friends, and many of us count our friends as a major part of our lives. Real friends are with you during the good and the bad times, and can even be good for your health because they help stop you from being lonely and can even help you be more confident. However, sometimes friends turn into more of a hazard than a help, due to several reasons, including the fact that some friends are financial leaches. It can be difficult to let go of friends like these, especially if they have been true friends in the past, but sometimes you have to say goodbye. Here are five signs that you might have a friend who needs to go, or at least, who you need to financially cut off and stop enabling.
1. The friend who never pays you back
It’s one thing to borrow $5 or $10 and forget about it, but it’s another to regularly do this. Usually friends who are financially needy will promise to pay you back, but then never do it. Even if you ask them about the money, they may have never pay you back. You may feel silly asking for the money repeatedly, especially if it is a small amount; however, if you have a friend who regularly borrows money and doesn’t pay you back, then even small amounts can add up. Your friend might have several reasons for not paying you back, including never planning to pay you back in the first place, feeling confident that you won’t end your friendship over it, or they just don’t take your request seriously.
2. The friend who never pays their share
If you and your friends take turns picking up the tab when you eat out, and your one friend comes along each time but never pays his or her share, then you probably have this type of friend. This person acts like it is never really their turn, and is content to let other friends pick up the tab. You might have this type of friend if everyone always brings a snack or drink to group events, but this friend only comes to eat and drink and never brings anything. You also might notice that your friend never splits the tab when your other friends do, or offers to pay for only a small part (like the tip or an appetizer.)
However, it’s important to note that some people are just frugal: they may choose an inexpensive item and be prepared to pay for that themselves, rather than splitting the tab; this is very different than having a friend who never pays. If you notice that you have a friend who regularly does this, you can suggest that they ask for a separate check when they initially get to the restaurant. It isn’t right to make someone feel bad for being careful with their money, as long as they are paying their share.
3. The friend with all the excuses
Have you ever been to a restaurant and your friend mysteriously forgot their wallet? Has it happened multiple times? One time might be reasonable, but regularly forgetting one’s wallet or asking for someone else to pick up the tab is financially inappropriate. Another sign of a friend with a lot of excuses is someone who always seems to have a reason they can’t pay. For example, while a good friend would pick up the tab for another friend who just lost their job, if your friend got a new job months ago but is still claiming financial hardship, you probably have a mooch on your hands. Lastly, while saving money in smart, if your friend expects you to pay because they are saving their money, it might be time for you to set boundaries. Keeping a budget is part of being adult, and your friends need to find a way to go out and pay their share, or to stay home.
4. The friend who plays the guilt card
If you have a friend who always plays the guilt card, you might be able to handle this issue by simply talking to them. If you make a lot more money than they do, or they have kids and you are single, they may expect you to pay, or even think that having you pay is the fair thing to do. However, like the friend with all the excuses, this type of friend needs to learn that they have to be financially responsible, and not always depend on other people. No matter how much money you or your other friends make, it isn’t your job to regularly pay for your busier, less affluent (or whatever other guilt trip they put over you), friend.
5. The friend who wants you to cosign on a loan
Some friends see no real boundaries when it comes to what they expect from their friends, and if you are a very generous person, your financially need friend has probably noticed. While it might not be completely unreasonable for a close friend to ask you to cosign a loan, in general, the request seems above the realm of friendship. Don’t feel that you need to cosign to save a friendship; if you have a friend who would stop being your friend just because you don’t want to put yourself in the path of potential financial ruin, then your friend isn’t a very good friend. Remember that cosigning a loan can affect your credit, and if your friend stops paying the loan, your friendship might end, but you might still have to interact with your former friend in order to get all the financial matters sorted out.
Some responsibility is on you if you have a financially needy friend. Stop giving your friend money, unless you are really okay with never seeing it again. Set boundaries and be firm about them. If your friend keeps asking you for money, or suddenly seems less interested in spending time with you when you won’t pay, you may need to find a different friend.