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Advice | Miss Manners: My best friend always expects me to pay and asks for money


Dear Ms. Manners,: I have a best friend who is 27 years old, and I am very annoyed with her. Every time I invite her to dinner or an event, she expects me to pay for everything. She has even gone so far as to ask me for a loan, groceries, etc.

Being the nice person I am, I will lend her the money and buy her groceries if I can. The problem is she won’t pay me back. When I confront her she gets very angry and tells me that she is not financially able to pay me back. She has a really good job and earns very good money. I am a single mother with only my income, which is not much. There was one time I asked her for gas money, and she went ballistic. She said she doesn’t help anyone financially and then stopped talking.

She moved in with her sister, pays only $300 in rent, and financially supports her 27-year-old son – paying his rent, car payment, insurance, food, etc.

I have completely stopped helping her and will not budge again. I don’t want to lose 27 years of friendship, but I don’t want to be her friend if she only asks for money. Please help!

If friendship was defined by longevity (rather than, say, warmth, kindness, or shared interests), we’d all have more friends — without being any better off.

Ms. Manners mentions this because none of the acts you describe suggest that this is a person you should want to maintain a relationship with for 27 days let alone 27 years.

If she is mistaken and this person has other endearing qualities, then the repeated requests for money should be rejected firmly, directly and without resentment: “I’m sorry. I can’t lend you money for your shopping.”

Dear Ms. Manners,: My daughter thought my response to an incessantly chattering office cleaner was rude.

“D.” is a younger person who cleans our office. They routinely have lunch at the same time as me. I listened nonstop to this individual chatter for half an hour, telling three different people about the salad they ate last week, or about the mess they’re having with a reprehensible roommate. I have seen this person continue to chat even after a victim walked away from the non-stop, meaningless chatter.

The other day D. asked me how I was doing, and I replied, “Fine, thanks.” I didn’t answer the question because I had to get back to work. My daughter thinks I should have asked how D. was doing, then pulled myself out with an apology and an “I have to get back to work.”

Which of us has the more mannered response?

Let’s call them Polite response B and polite response A. While Miss Manners finds no fault in starting with B, it becomes even more impeccable when A has already been tried by you – and abused by D.’s chatter about C, E, F and G.

New Miss Manners columns are posted Monday through Saturday washingtonpost.com/advice. You can ask questions to Ms. Manners on her website, mismanners. com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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