What would you do? Friend's financial situation

rivkadrOctober 15, 2006

I have a friend (Theresa), whom I've posted in here about before. She's hopeless about money, despite the fact that she recently started a job where she's making a very good salary for a single person ($60,000). She's moving out of her apartment at the end of the month, because her lease will be up -- this is something that she has known for several months. My thought is that she should have been preparing for this, and setting aside money for a deposit and first month's rent on her next place, for months now.

Of course, she hasn't. She won't actually have any extra money available to her until AFTER the first of the month, i.e. after her lease is up. (She has plenty of excuses why, but whatever). So she will effectively be homeless for probably at least a week or two, since no place will rent to her without a deposit, and she can't extend her current lease, even by a couple of weeks.

No, I'm not contemplating giving her money to help her. But she does need a place to stay. I've done this for her in the past (twice, in fact), when she's gotten herself in a jam. I'm starting to feel like maybe she needs to learn a lesson. So far, I have not offered to let her stay with me. She's started hinting very strongly ("I don't know what I'm going to do! I have no place to stay!"). What would you do? Be a good friend and cave, or let her learn a lesson, and make her stay in a hotel or something similar? I can't help feeling that she's never going to learn to be responsible about money if I'm always there to bail her out...on the other hand, is it my job to help her to learn to fiscal responsibility??

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I would suggest charging room & board at close to market rate.

A neighbor had a son who had finished with school but was not inclined to seek employment. That is the advice I gave her. The young fellow suddenly had the incentive to find a job & did so. His mother also found that she had a bit of extra money she had not counted on. In all it worked out well.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 2:34PM
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Hi rivkadr,

I'm with Ian, a B.C. guy with a lot of common sense.

How we live today ... has consequences tomorrow.

You could tell her that you're willing to help her out - by discussing various possibilities which are before her at present.

Is there a possibility of her getting a temporary loan from her bank, credit union, etc.?

By the way - how about checking what fees are involved with one of those payday loans, if there are purveyors in your area. They are *steep* - some as high as 1000% annual rate!!

How about shrugging your shoulders, saying that, if she chooses to go to a motel, it'll cost so much per week, plus more for food (or restaurants) plus some extra to wash clothes, etc.

And that you are willing to share with her - again - at such and such a price - maybe about 25% or so less than the costs that you'd mentioned. Whatever rate you feel to be appropriate.

If she rebels, asking what kind of a friend are you, you could mention that you'd helped her out twice previously, at no cost to her, and that you feel that she should have learned to think ahead during those occasions, but doesn't seem to have.

And her income is larger than yours, but you've managed to live within yours (and plan ahead) ...

... which she seems to have been unable (unwilling?) to do.

Do you think she'll have money enough ahead to pay for her funeral??

Dad used to say, "Take advantage of my once - your responsibility ... take advantage of me twice - mine".

What do we say about the wisdom of a loved one who helps finance their loved one's drug habit?

Apart from the gross damage that drugs do to one's body, mind, etc., it seems to me that there's a somewhat similar situation here.

How does her family manage money? Did she learn this at home?

Money can be a useful servant - but a horrible master ... and either you boss your money, or it'll boss you, which is not a pleasant situation.

Good wishes to your friend for learning some common sense - and possibly you helping her take a few steps along that road.

Have a great week.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 3:03PM
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60k a yr, she dont need any help, beyond a good smack upside the head.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 6:45PM
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With that kind of income, and you have helped out at least twice, I would suggest either a hotel or a motel with kitchen. There is some chains that offer this. If she really gets upset, I am sorry, she is not a true friend, only a user friend. It is not your job to teach her financial responsibly, because obviously she has not learned from the past.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 9:19PM
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I'm with those who think a hotel is about the right place for your friend. She'll never change unless consequences of her current behavior are unpleasant. Staying in a hotel and having to figure out what she needs to do with her stuff might be the best thing that could happen to her.

If you bail her out...again....just know that she'll hit you up for it again in the future. I wouldn't let her stay with me even if she did pay me rent.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2006 at 9:31PM
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Let her sink or swim. She's too old and making too much money to need continual bailing out. And it doesn't sound like she'll learn unless the consequences are upon her. In addition, staying with you could drive both of you crazy and dissolve whatever friendship you may have. Consider it "tough love". Managing money is one of the most important skills you never learn in school.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 8:14AM
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I would be a good friend and NOT OFfer a place to live. You'll just be enabling her if you allow her to live with you, even if you charged rent. I'd be concerned that she would consent to pay rent but it would never happen. Then you would have the problem of a free-loader and eviction. Your heart is in the right place with wanting to teach her how to manage her finances; however she's not willing to learn. She's heard the whisper of suggestions, then the talk, now she needs either the thump on the side of the head or the devastation to realize she's the one responsible and needing to take action. (this analogy per Oprah)

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 8:38AM
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I would quit being an enabler, and definitely quit being so involved with her financial problems!

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 1:49PM
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Well, another friend offered her a place to stay. So looks like someone else is doing the enabling this time...

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 3:11PM
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definitely quit being so involved with her financial problems

LOL, I don't really WANT to be involved, but she's always asking me for advice. I guess, because I'm a few years older than her, and I seem a lot more financially stable than her, I seem to know what I'm doing. It helps that I'm married, I think. My husband and I got married young, and have always worked together towards a sound financial future -- we have a house, no kids, and a lot of discretionary income. She sees that, and thinks we have it made. She doesn't see the years of struggle it took to get there. And completely ignores any advice I do give her. So...whatever. Her problem to deal with, I guess.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 3:16PM
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Where'll she find money for the hotel?

When she hinted around for you to put her up - again - what would have happened if you'd spoken of the first time that happened, what the circumstances were, what the results were, and what had she learned from the experience?

Go over the issue again for the second time that she was in similar trouble. And what did she learn from that?

Nothing, apparently - for here she is in the same boat again.

Tell her that most financial advisors tell us that if we have 3 - 6 mos. income saved so that it's available immediately (and in the uncertain times that we have to deal with in recent years, what with massive layoffs, etc., it would be well to have even more) ...

... it sure helps when an emergency crops up.

Does she have a car?

If she blows an engine, tranny, or other thing that'll cost $1,000. - $1,500. or so to fix ...

... how does she finance that?

Or a replacement vehicle, when the time comes?

When you give her advice ...

... write it down and date it.

Maybe have her sign it - you'll know whether that may be useful.

Next time she wants the same advice or some on a similar topic, write it down again, dated.

When she asks for some on a different topic, write that down, as well.

Then when she asks for some later that she's asked for before, open up your book to the right page and suggest that she read it for herself.

Talking to a post ain't much fun, is it?

(Especially if it's a friendly post).

Hope that, otherwise, you have a great week: it does more or less appear that you may be off the hook, for this time.

Congratulations to your and hubby, by the way, for having built a happy life for yourselves.

ole joyful

P.S. A good bit of the time, I don't have 3 - 6 mos. income available, but I have a fully secured Home Equity Letter of Credit, which is currently unused, but usually has some extra room available, that I can draw on whenever I wish.

And I pretty well say that one can almost borrow at no, or very little, actual cost, if one manages one's affairs well - and the loan is for investment, in this country.

And most of my income is from pensions. I was invited to a friend's for Thanksgiving dinner the other day, but didn't go, as I had runny nose and was sneezing. If I go to bed sick for a week, the amount of the pension cheque stays the same, but if a few of the 20 or so members of her family catch my cold and spend time in bed - the amount of their paycheque shrinks ... right away!

By the way, I called her on the night of the party - and she had a cold!

P.P.S. Does your friend have a credit card? And does she carry balances over a substantial period?

Not a good idea (especially if they're store-issued cards) - but about half of the holders do it. Ands pay through the nose for the privilege.

o j

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 5:31PM
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Maybe its time to wind down the friendship. I recently realized that I had a friend who took up gobs of time and wasn't really interested in my life, and seemed annoyed when I didn't do things for her. I got rid of her phone number on my list, and took her off my party list and christmas card list. I dumped her Email out of my address book. All this will make it easier to wind things down.
If you live in the Los Angeles area, this might be the same Theresa that a friend of mine (a guy) is involved with. She has him make car payments when she can't, he moved her from one place to another, loans her money--but she was supposed to go to a wedding with him and cancelled about 20 minutes beforehand.
If its not the same theresa--I'll bet the pattern is familiar.
Usually they find some guy who is interested in rescuing them. Do not let her spend 2 1/2 seconds talking to your husband.
You are a good friend of hers, but is she a good friend of yours--does she do things for you. does she listen to your problems? Would she help you if you were moving? If not, try finding some less interesting but more valuable friends.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2006 at 7:33PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

It is one thing to 'help' a friend as you have in the past. It is quite another thing (IMHO) to enable her to go on acting irresponsibly. If you continue to help(?) her, you are just enabling her to continue along her same bad financial path, and not grow up.

There are many kinds of enablers. I will admit to being one in the past....but no more. I have grown wiser, and will no longer be taken advantage of.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 7:01AM
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Yes - is this relationship a two-way street?

What benefit do you get out of this friendship?

Is she there for you? Even occasionally?

Or are you just a whining post/free room and board occasionally for this not-yet-become-an-adult?

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 12:25PM
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Oh, she's a pretty good friend. She listens to my problems, and has been there for me when I needed her to be. She's just a horribly irresponsible person (which personally drives me crazy -- it's soo hard to keep my mouth buttoned up sometimes). In addition to not having enough money for the rental deposit, she just got a parking ticket for $355 (towing charges). I've never gotten a parking/towing ticket in my life. So just another example of how she leads her life...

    Bookmark   October 19, 2006 at 3:48PM
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Next time she asks for advice, maybe you could steer her toward one of the financial magazines--Kiplinger's, money, etc.--as a place where you've learned many valuable things about managing money (even if that's a little fib). If you have a subscription to one such magazine, you could pass along your issues when you're done reading them.

If you're really generous, you could give a gift subscription this holiday season.

It is possible to get a parking tkt thru no major fault of one's own. In NYC, for example, there are often missing signs that should tell what days parking is restricted. In the towns around here, there often is no sign--you just have to guess whether it's OK to park. Towing instead of ticketing is one way cities make up budget shortfalls.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 12:51PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Better yet than a subscription to Money Magazine (since she has no money), would be to give her the book, "Personal Finance for Dummies". It is filled with just a lot of really basic stuff, that most folks with any financial knowledge at all knows. Maybe you two could start at the beginning, and read it and discuss a little of it when you have time to visit. Let her know you would really like to see her have something to show for all of her hard earned(?) money. Make it all about 'her'. Hog tie her if you must.

Once she has mastered Personal Finance for Dummies, and gets her life turned around, present her with 'Investing for Dummies"...also a good read. Then she can watch her savings (security) grow.

I think it is so sad to see people who have worked all their lives, to end up with little or no savings (security), and own nothing more than used furniture, personal belongings, used vehicles (that may not even be paid off), and a house complete with a big long mortgage.


    Bookmark   October 25, 2006 at 5:35PM
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As distressing as it may be, there are times when you can do nothing. An out of control drunk or drug addict has to hit "rock bottom" before they can begin the tedious process of reforming their life.

Your friend in a financial boob. It will take the equivilent of a "pile up" to ram home the lesson of fiduciary responsibility. As tough as it will be you have to sit back and watch the inevitable chaos unfold in "glorious, living color".

"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink". OR:

You can lead a whore to culture but you can't make her think...

Watching the inevitable will suck. Don't loan her any money, OK?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2006 at 8:57PM
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Don't loan her any money, OK?

Well, she IMs me today, and says "I found an apartment! It's available now, I just need $300 as a deposit. But I don't have the money right now."

My response: "I guess you're going to have to find the money."

She managed to get an advance from work. I'm helping her move tomorrow, so she managed to extricate herself from this scary financial situation this time. I don't think she learned anything...I fully expect to see something similar happen again in 6 months to a year.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2006 at 7:18PM
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Good for you for not loaning her the money. Your friend just sets herself up for misery and crisis because she lacks the self-discipline to manage her money responsibly. People can help her all they want, but until SHE decides she needs to change her poor money management habits, she'll just keep on the way she is. It's a miserable way to live, too. And I am willing to bet she learned these habits from her parents.

Some places of employment will take savings money from your paycheck before you even see it. That would be great for her. Or some kind of automatic plan for saving. She probably has spending problems and hasn't developed any retirement plan either. Yikes.

I know it is upsetting to have friends like this because you worry and truly want to help, but when people do not help themselves first, one begins to feel used rather than helpful.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 8:22AM
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Good for you for not loaning her the money! I have a friend like this. She is horrible horrible about money. She is taking a vaction to Disney next month even though she doesn't have the money to pay her taxes on her house in January.

She has asked me for money in the past. I loaned her some once to get the brakes fixed on her car and told her to pay me back when she could. She never paid me back. She asked for a loan recently and I told her no. She figured it out someway. She never learns, I can tell her what to do, but she never changes. She is just like your friend.

So you did the right thing, be a friend, but don't give her money.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 1:30PM
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I work in "the trades", and interestingly the people I know fall into two categories. Those who are quite successful and those who are incapable of anything remotely close to fiduciary responsibility.

I have had personal experience with two who fall into the latter category. They're in their unenviable positions because they are STUPID. I like them both, but they're STUPID. Politically incorrect? yup! but it's the truth. I am asked for "loans" on every "off" Friday (paid every 2 wks.). Sorry, I don't have any money. Same refrain every time I'm asked, but they never stop asking. DUH! (and I always reply, "never a borrower or lender be".)

Hey, this ain't "Candyland". You live by the sword, you die by the sword. Tell her to grow up and quit asking you for money!

And stick to your guns.

    Bookmark   October 28, 2006 at 3:51PM
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I helped her move into her new apartment today (helped her pack and haul boxes), and it was shocking -- she had piles of unopened bills all over the place. I held them up and said "What are these? Why are they unopened?" Her response: "Oh, I never open bills. I just pay them online or go to the store in person and pay them." I was aghast. The bills and important papers were just lying all over the room; no organization or anything. I just want to shake her and say "What the hell is wrong with you! Get organized! Stop being a flake! You're 26! Not 18! You have no excuse for this anymore!" I can see now why she's often late for bills, and often is dealing with collection agencies, etc. The irresponsibility here is mind-boggling, but what's even more astonishing is that she just doesn't learn any lessons from past mistakes.

I really hate to say this, because she's a nice person, but she may just be stupid. I mean, she's book smart (she's a programmer, like me), but she's dumb as heck about life decisions. I just don't get it. How do people go through like this? Gah. Sorry. Gotta stop venting about this, but seeing someone like this is driving me mad. I had no idea how bad it was with her.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 4:23AM
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Psycho-analysts would have a grand time with your friend. However, my question for you is (and it's going to sound mean but I don't intend it to be that way) - Now that you have made the decision to no longer lend her money, what business is it of yours how she manages/mismanages her money? I'll take the approach of looking at your response and why her behavior is driving you mad. Do you think you can change/control her? Why do you keep yourself engaged with her financial situation - what are you getting out of it? Is it some feeling of superiority in some way? If I had a friend who was doing something that I strongly disagreed with, I would either set a boundary that placed that subject off-limits or I might seriously reevaluate why I considered that person a friend in the first place.

In this situation, I'd encourage you to honestly look at what YOU are getting out of this friendship...and I know you said she listens to your problems and that she's a "pretty good friend". Do her failings somehow make you feel better.

I hope you don't take my comments in the wrong way. In my experience the only person in life that I'm 100% confident I can ever change/control/fix is myself! It took me quite a few years to learn that lesson, but once I did learn it, I sure removed myself from tons and tons of stress. And to learn it, I had to look at me first.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 6:53AM
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Rivkadr, I understand your need to vent! My friend also just throws her bills everywhere. I have suggested that she have a special drawer or place to put her bills. She says she did that for awhile, but it got too full and her new bills wouldn't fit. Gosh, it never occured to her to remove the bills once she paid them.

Did you suggest that maybe her way of not opening the bills is one reason she gets so messed up with her bill paying?

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 12:48PM
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I'll take the approach of looking at your response and why her behavior is driving you mad. Do you think you can change/control her?

Excellent question -- it drives me mad, because then I worry about her. And I don't like worrying about someone, when it's something that they should be able to take care of themselves. It's easy to say, "Then just stop worrying about her," but it's part of my nature to constantly worry about the people I care about. It's also that I know that next time she gets in a jam, she'll come straight to me for advice/help.

Control, I think, is a good point, too. This girl's obvious silent pleas of "Help me put my life in order!" are difficult to ignore -- ALL of her friends try to help her get her life in order, and none of us get anywhere, because she is simply unable to learn any lessons from her mistakes. She's also, incidentally, unable to hold onto friends for longer than a couple of years. I think they get so fed up with seeing someone who's so irresponsible whining all the time about things going wrong in her life -- things that she could prevent if she actually planned, and made smart life decisions, that they eventually drop her as a friend.

I think you may be right. I need to extricate myself from this friendship. It's going to be very difficult, for varying reasons, but I'm going to attempt it slowly over the coming months. I'm not mean enough to just cut her off directly, but maybe just slowly backing off will do the trick; she lives fairly far away now, so that should help.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 1:04PM
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As a clergyperson, I was concerned for people that I knew who were not managing well - but, even before that - I think that I was somewhat like that from when I was young, living in a rural community, where we helped our neighbours.

Unfortunately - we sometimes talked about them, especially their obviously silly habits, that they seemed unable to see, let alone do anything to repair - but didn't talk to them about it.

Sometimes I've talked to people about such - and have sometimes, like the dog in the comic strip years ago, got my tail caught in the screen door.

But most people don't get huffy if one hints around some to start, and sees that person's point of view and offers some suggestions gently, discussing them, and listening to the person's points of view.

In this case, though, as she doesn't seem to learn from previous errors, is there a possibility that she lacks memory or has some kind of mental block?

I rather like the idea of documenting the issues that she gets in, for a while, then have her read them, later - when she gets stuck in a similar problem.

People have asked me how I managed, emotionally, when as a clergyperson I attended a wedding rehearsal with a couple at the church, then went to the funeral home to spend time with a family suffering deep grief.

I said that you rejoice with people who are rejoicing ... and you weep with people who are weeping (and really do share their pain - usually you know that person rather well and are sad to lose a friend).

Then, when you go home, though you carry those concerns in the back of your mind, you more or less put them up on the shelf, so to speak.

I guess that I feel that, as someone who claims to be a Christian, apart from the clergy end of the issue, I have been instructed to love my neighbour as myself, and have accepted that concept as part of my personal approach to life - so I can scarcely be unconcerned about his problems, as being issues more or less on another planet.

What's that - "Love your neighbour (but not your neighbour's wife)"?

My kids and others have learned that I pick up hitchhikers, and stop to help people having difficulty on the highway. Haven't had any trouble yet - would I stop doing it, if I ran into a problem? Maybe - probably not.

When people around Jesus needed help - they got it.

It was the people who thought that they knew more about religion/God than he did that got into trouble.

Enough sermonizing - even on a Sunday aternoon.

Hope you all have a great week - without interfering in people's lives (unbidden). And without getting yourself worked up into a stew about it, later - you can't live someone else's life for them: that's their job.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   October 29, 2006 at 3:18PM
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Rivkadr, it sounds to me like Theresa might have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) -- people with this neurobiological condition tend to suffer from chronic disorganization and often have trouble managing money.

The attached link is from the National Resource Center on Ad/HD. If your friend seems to fit the criteria, it is likely that she is struggling in many areas of her life. Diagnosis by a professional and treatment may be what she needs to help her turn her life around.

Here is a link that might be useful: Symptoms of ADD

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 11:55AM
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I had a very dear friend who had a diagnosed nervous breakdown about 10 yrs ago. She had been (at least I thought she was) a functioning, responsible, bill paying member of society for the 17 yrs prior, since we first met. In the last 10 yrs, she has had periods of cocaine usage, her phone gets temporarily suspended due to non-payment of bills, and she vanishes for chunks of time.

I, however, have the nature of being a caretaker. I take care of and fix things and people. I work harder until everything is right. So while all this was going on with my friend, I had it in my mind that I was the perfect candidate to help her.

When all this started happening to her, I kind of went nuts as I struggled to try and help her. through the slow to evolve realization that there wasn't a thing I could do to help her. And because she was practicing behaviors that I don't support or agree with, I had to learn about boundaries for me because I only got frustrated/angry/stressed because I couldn't help fix her. I had to stop getting in conversations with her about these subjects, I had to just simply avoid her when I suspected drug use, I had to talk with others about my fears for her.

My friend's circumstances were a big eye opener for me because I realized that I was such a good caretaker of all people except myself. I was so focused outside of me that I never had time to look at things that were stressing me out and that I brought on myself. I got alot of my self worth by the accomplishments that I thought I was achieving regarding others. I never stopped to think that I often forced myself into situations where I wasn't necessarily wanted or needed, didn't always know to back away as friends were backing away from me.

While I very much care about my friend, today I really know in my heart that only she and her professionals can help her - I can't. I can't impose my values on her or anyone else. I can care, I can pray for her but I can't fix her. And who's to say that my values and ways are the right ones for her anyway? They work for me and that's how I've learned to direct my caretaking focus - I take care of me first....so that I can be healthier for the others in my life.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 8:11PM
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I forgot to mention - why not be a good friend and have a heart to heart honest conversation with Theresa and tell her the things you posted here. She may not have a clue why she can't keep friends. Tell her how her behavior impacts you (you worry). If the focus is on you, then you don't blame and you own your part in your relationship.

    Bookmark   October 30, 2006 at 8:22PM
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I agree that it sounds like she's got some sort of disorder, perhaps ADD.

My husband has a long-time friend who cannot prioritize or throw things away. His apartment is packed with dusty stuff, including piles of unopened mail. Opening mail is a huge chore because he can't differentiate between junk mail and real mail. He can't believe that letters marked "you're a winner, open now!" aren't real. Otherwise he seems like a regular guy, smart, good conversationalist, analytical. He's just got this weird mental glitch.

I think your friend needs more help than you can (or should have to) give. Her family or significant other needs to help her out.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 1:28PM
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I agree with kec01. If you can possibly do it, have a heart-to-heart with her about her habit of stumbling from crisis to crisis. It's not a good way to live.

She needs to save something from every paycheck and leave that money alone. She must set aside some time each weekend to look at her bills which came during the week and handle them then. She needs some file folders and a file box to keep her papers. Check in with her to see that she is carrying out this assignment.

Encourage her to develop a successful independent lifestyle. She can do it, but only if she wants a better way of living. If she's happy this way, she won't change.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 5:51PM
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and she may not want to change because it seems like she gets lots of attention from her friends (albeit some is negative attention) because she's often in a state of chaos. Some people thrive on this type of living.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2006 at 8:38PM
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I'm not sure that she's willing to listen to me much anymore. We had a fight a couple of days ago. She was laid off from her first "real" job about three months ago, and managed to find a new job within a few weeks, which is good. Now she's started saying to me that she's had a new job offer, and she asked me what I thought.

I told her that being straight out of college, and holding a job for one year, then the next for only two months, and then jumping to another job is NOT going to look good on her resume, because future employers would think she was flaky. She said I was being way too stringent, and that she would surely hold this next job for several years, and that would prove she wasn't flaky. I was like, "How do you know that you'll hold this next job for several years? The company could go under. You could get laid off again. I think you need to stay where you are for at least a couple of years, and have a good solid employment record before you shift to another job." She has no good reason to switch to this other job; it's like someone shows her something shiny and her attention changes to that direction. Those of you suggesting ADD might be onto something.

She felt that I had absolutely no idea what I was talking about when it comes to what future employers might look for when it comes to her employment history, and that they wouldn't care if she had jumped around from job to job. Never mind that I have several years more work experience than her, and have been on hiring committees at major universities; I guess I know nothing. The argument then basically shifted into her saying that she knew that I thought she was a f*** up, and that I disapproved of her life choices, etc. Not totally untrue, I'm afraid. At this point, I'm not sure where the friendship is. I have a hard time being friends with someone that I can't even really respect, I guess. I've come to realize that I'm sick of being her keeper, and that's really about all our relationship ever was...

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 12:39AM
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Man, I have been there rivkadr. I've had relationships where I wanted to help, but people perceived me as judgemental and controlling. It took me years to realize they were right! I've learned to harden my heart and (most importantly) limit my contact with damaged people. A healthy relationship gives as much as it takes.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 2:03PM
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but people perceived me as judgemental and controlling. It took me years to realize they were right!

Exactly! I am being judgmental and controlling, and I completely recognize that. It's totally hard not to be that way with her, because she's such a complete mess, practically begging to have someone fix her. And I hate seeing what kind of person I end up being around her, and I don't want to be that person. Totally time to move on.

I really appreciate everyone here letting me vent and figure out what was going on with this friendship here, and what to do with it. Thanks!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 6:57PM
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Your friend sounds like a drama queen who thrives on all the attention she is getting, which is a much stronger pull than getting her act together. Meanwhile, you are pulling your hair out trying to fix her, which isn't what she really wants. You can't win and she doesn't want you to. JMHO


    Bookmark   November 1, 2006 at 7:48PM
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Are you getting something good and healthy from this friendship?
Personally, I would end the friendship as it sounds you will, she is a taker, immature and selfish, you cannot have a real relationship with people like that, life is all about her, she will drain you.
Unless you want to take care of people find a friendship that is equal.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 9:51AM
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she may not want to change because it seems like she gets lots of attention from her friends (albeit some is negative attention) because she's often in a state of chaos. Some people thrive on this type of living.

she's such a complete mess, practically begging to have someone fix her. And I hate seeing what kind of person I end up being around her, and I don't want to be that person. Totally time to move on.

I have been there, at all stages. Fortunately, I have moved on pretty well. It can be hard to do, but it'll be so much easier once you have.

I didn't try to scale back, I just cut off all contact. Passively, mind you--I didn't say, "I don't want to be your friend anymore,' the way other people have.

I just never called her on my own initiative; took a long time to call back when she left a message; never stayed on the phone more than 15 minutes (my kids were a great excuse--"gotta go; time to put them in bed"); never invited her anywhere.

I don't think my dysfunctional friend *wanted* to be a taker; it's just that when things went south, people *did* help her, and she got "trained" into that mode. She tried to be a "giver"; she asked questions about my life, and tried to be encouraging and caring; she would come help paint, or move, or whatever, if I asked. But she just couldn't help herself, and her dysfunction was just too huge for me.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 2:09PM
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If you feel that you're getting something useful from the friendship, continue with it.

But don't get yur shirt-tail tied into a knot when things go bad for her - retiterate the suggestions that you've made before.

But stay pretty well at arm's length, as far as emotional involvement is concerned, with these issues that you've outlined.

If you were to only chew one fingernail for each episode, (or even, possibly, two or three) you could let them grow back before you got around to the first one again.

But if you chew them all each time - pretty soon you're drawing blood.

No fun, that.

It is interesting how we learn as we progress through life, isn't it?

(Unless we live on a desert island - but that's not "reality" for more than about 1/10th of 1% of us, unless we were picked for the TV program that calls itself "reality").

Hope you have a fine weekend. A few snowflakes in the air, here, today.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 5:35PM
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