Home » How to Handle That Annoying Broke Friend
By ☆ Published: February 21, 2018, 2:06 am (updated 6 years ago)

How to Handle That Annoying Broke Friend

Always coming up short when you’re out. Never paying their fair share. What do you do when you’re always covering?

We’ve all had that friend. You know the one.

When the dinner bill comes, they severely underestimate their share (let alone account for tax and tip). You spot them $10 here and $20 there — and they always “forget” to pay you back.

But you let it slide every time. After all, what’s a few bucks among good friends?

That used to be your attitude.

Lately, your desire for a person’s company has a perfect negative correlation to how much of their crap you are required to put up with. You are, in fact, too old for this shit.

You’d like to stay friends with your broke friend, but it seems like an almost impossible task. If you want to maintain the friendship, it will take a little work. And maybe a couple of drastic measures.

Here’s how to deal with that friend who makes you feel more like a bank than their buddy — without killing the relationship.

Be honest.

The great thing about friends (real friends — not the people you pretend to like out of various social obligations) is that you can tell them the truth and they’ll still be your friend. A true friend gets that sometimes you say and do things out of tough love.

You’re not doing anyone any favors by pretending your pal’s poor money etiquette doesn’t bother you. Besides, leaving those feelings festering just creates an uncomfortable situation for everyone. Your friends can sense your displeasure.

So the next time they leave you hanging with the bill, be up front and tell them how much they owe right then and there. Clear the air.

Add that you’re pretty strapped for cash as well and can’t afford to cover them. Consistently push back rather than ignore the behavior. Eventually, they’ll get it and stop mooching all the time.

And if this honesty does cause a rift in your relationship, it’s probably time to reevaluate whether you two shared a real friendship at all. No one likes being the ATM all the time.

Find cheap or free things to do.

A novel idea, right?

As much as you’re annoyed by your pal’s perpetual brokeness, they likely feel pressured to keep up with the group financially, too. After all, if your group is always going out, the FOMO is real for you — and for your annoying broke friend.

That’s a tough spot to be in. As a friend, though, you can be part of the solution. Find ways to spend quality time together that don’t force your buddy into yet another awkward situation. There’s no reason to hit the clubs every weekend or go out to expensive restaurants.

Besides, one of the best things about friends is that all you really need is each other’s company to have an awesome time.

Check your local weekly for low-cost and free events such as concerts, art exhibits, and movie screenings. Have a picnic at the beach (or in the park). Go for a hike. Get dressed up, pretend you’re rich, and hop from one open house to the next while eating all their snacks along the way.

Or, just have a chill evening at home, playing games and laughing.

No matter what you do, the important thing is that you have fun together — without spending a ton of money. Once you start getting creative about these types of activities, it’s easy to have a good time without breaking the bank.

Consider it a gift.

That Annoying Broke Friend

When your friend does ask for money, and you feel comfortable parting with the cash, treat it as a gift.

Loaning money turns a personal relationship into one of business, which opens the door for guilt and resentment on both sides — especially if the borrower isn’t able to pay up.

When you loan money, things get weird. Often, it’s better to just consider it a gift. Or, take turns paying for each other. However, if your broke friend can’t (or won’t) take a rightful turn, that can get just as ugly. When you give money to someone you are pretty sure won’t pay you back, just think of it as money gone and move on.

Bottom line.

It’s your choice whether or not you want to support your friend financially — and it’s perfectly fine if you do.

Keep in mind, however, that you can’t expect things to change if you continue to enable the situation. If your friend starts to rely on you, and the situation suddenly changes, you could be doing your friend a huge disservice. It’s vital to think through the implications.

Friendship is something that only becomes more precious as you grow older. As you watch your time with friends dwindle, you might worry that soon there will be no one left. As a result, it can be tempting to over-compromise in order to avoid conflict.

But true friendship is also built on honesty and desire to make each other happy. It’s a relationship that involves give and take. If you’re always the giver, it can get old fast. So don’t be afraid to share your feelings in a caring but straightforward manner if things are becoming unbearable.

Besides, you also have to think of your own money situation. At some point, you need to stop sacrificing your own well-being on behalf of someone who offers nothing in return. If your own financial goals are jeopardized in order to keep the peace between you and a broke friend, that friendship probably isn’t worth it in the first place.

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How to Handle That Annoying Broke Friend was last modified: March 2nd, 2018 by Casey Bond

20 thoughts on “How to Handle That Annoying Broke Friend”

  1. I’m debating on cutting ties with my “broke friend”….. I’ve been friends with him for about 10 years, and ever since I met him he’s never been the one to invite me anywhere, never paid for anything for me (while me or my parents have paid for him many many times), nowadays I ask him if he wants to go out even somewhere cheap like fast-food but he doesn’t want to spend any money so I rarely ever see him. You could say “do free things like hanging out”, but hanging out generally implies that I provide food which may seem trivial, but for a friend who never gives anything in return it starts to add up over the years.

    Anyway, he’s not a bad guy, but he’s just lazy as doesn’t want to go anywhere in life. He’s in his late 20’s living at home, jobless, His mom is more-or-less the same as him, mooching off his step-dad while she also lives at home, doing nothing. I wish he would change, wish he would get a job, wish he would be more open to leaving the house, but its been hopeless over the years.

    1. He is A BAD GUY and IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. And yes, I came here because AGAIN I’ve given money to a “friend” who does not respect me who expects me to pay for the food bill and who again asked me for money. Sick and stupid of me being her enabler. And yes, I’m the one who goes to her neighborhood and pays. She does this in a way of ordering as “lightly” as possible because she already knows I’m going to pay the entire bill (how considerate of her right?). If she does not pay me back this time, the hell w/ her. And YES this time I will ask for my loan back. Pu-riod. STOP BEING SUCKERS AND TELL THEM FOOT THEIR OWN BILL. RESPECT YOURSELVES.

    2. Heh, have we been hanging out with the same person? When I had major surgery and called in all those favours, instead of showing up he basically ghosted on me, was too lazy to even end things right.
      I’ve saved so much time, money and energy, now I live in appreciation every time the folks I hang out with now pony up and show up for even the smallest things.
      You deserve to be treated with mutual care and respect!

    3. The broke friend is exactly that ….a friend …stop moaning about someone who probably hasnt had the beneficiary you had or the dead rich relative that left you cash . some of us just get by and we will do that all our life . we will get sick of your over posturing and pretentiousness before you get sick of us . voila.

      1. Yes because only people who inherit money can possibly afford food. You sound like you’re coping for being the mooch that thinks his mere presence warrants tribute.

  2. My BFF and I did a road trip for a week. She was supposed to contribute to 1 third of the expenses apposed to my 2 thirds as she is always broke and struggling financially. We have been friends for over 30 years and i feel that Im always financing everything we do together. On this particular occasion I completely lost the plot after financing nearly all the trip including food and drink because she didn’t have enough money. However, her grown children were putting money into her account to help her financially which is wonderful but she then spends all the money on pampering herself, getting nails done, new clothes, expensive creams, hairstyles, botox and the list goes on. I dont begrudge her being able to pamper herself but I work hard for my money and rarely have enough left to afford these luxuries for myself. I feel resentful when she shows up all glam because I inevitably pay for her everything when she comes to stay with me and I feel like she takes advantage. The trip was the last straw! After I’d payed for everything her daughter puts money into her account and she wants to go shopping for new cosmetics. I blew a fuse on the return trip and we parted ways. After a week of calming down I sent her a text saying I was sorry for being such a hurtful and mean friend, and took full responsibility for the screaming and nasty words. Admittedly we’d been driving through the night as she wanted to get home asap and not pay for a hotel room. I dont fair well when sleep deprived and at 4am I let loose on her. I truely regret my actions and cant take back words said. She has such a kind heart but no reasoning ability financially. I dont want to loose our 30+ year friendship and fear that she will never talk to me again. I wish i could have found the words to express my thoughts without all the angry words. I hope we will talk again one day as I will truely miss her in my life.

  3. Hi everyone. I have been friends with this particular individual for about two years now, and need some advice. I am a full time sixth form student and have a good part time job as well as this, which pays pretty well. I run my own car, and although expensive, my job was more than enough to cover this and my other outgoings- until I met my friend. She is 20, but refuses to get a job and instead relies on me and her girlfriend to bankroll her. She is a heavy cannabis user, and got me into smoking occasionally too, although I do not do it as regularly as she does. It’s got to the point where every single time we hang out together, she expects me to pay for everything- fuel to drive out to pick her up, food, cigarettes, and of course weed. I didn’t mind so much in the summer when I was working full time at my job, as I could afford it and I thought, ‘hey, she’s a good friend.Why shouldn’t I pay for things from time to time’. She didn’t take advantage as much then, but lately I have noticed things going missing. Cigarettes, food, spare change, weed etc. It was bad enough that she doesn’t pay her way, but I am struggling to believe that she is stealing from me. I don’t know what to do. I have offered to help her apply for jobs, offered to take her to drug dependency meetings (as I know she abuses harder drugs as well as cannabis), and even tried to teach her to drive so she can have more independence. Lately I feel our friendship is coming under pressure due to these factors, and I am not sure what is the best course of action to take.

  4. I’m a relative rich person and earn a lot from what I’m doing. I started graduate school this year and met some young people. My group partner is a poor girl. She’s not like the one that owes money from others; both her parents are professors at some universities and I believe they’re paid well. It’s all about how she thinks and talks! She keeps talking about money in whatever conversation. She eats free food and blames free food. She blames me for spending money on ANYTHING. For example, she found that I bought a ticket to some show, she judged me like “as a student you can go there for free! why not!”
    I’ve already told her that I’m rich (albeit embarrassing). She just couldn’t stop judging my lifestyle. I tried so hard to fit into younger generation community, but this person is really annoying. Can she just stop talking about money?
    What should I do?

  5. I feel like my friends are annoyed by me more (I’m the poor one, or the kenny of the group) that I don’t like to take handouts from them and in turn don’t really come out with them a lot. Which I try to make up for by just being online a lot and hang out with them on discord.
    I just don’t really like feeling useless, so I don’t want to take money from them even though they sincerely just wanna pay for like a movie to hang out or whatever. Then my anxiety kicks in.
    Plus I feel like I got this annoying habit of voicing my opinion when someone over spends on something unnecessary, and feel like they could get the same deal for cheaper.

  6. Good day folks

    I’m a student studying towards my honours degree in electronic engineering. My friend Left his Job to go live with his mom due to family issues (at least that’s what he say). I am a big time hustler and Independent. My Parents can not afford my studies, hence I’m on a scholarship and takes part time jobs here and there in order to maintain my life. The problem is that my friend is lazy and doesn’t want to take part in any ideas I have for us to make cash. In most cases I help him out, and offer to pay whenever we’re out nd having fun. This has extended to the fact that he wanted me to pay for his date with an ex crush who was never down to be with him. I just denied to help him out and now feel guilty about it…

    Reason I had to share this here.

  7. Please don’t open house hop for fun. As a realtor, that’s our job. It’s difficult to work for free. We don’t get paid to host open houses. We hope to get real potential buyers. Thanks.

    1. Susan, they aren’t putting fake offers in. Calm down. Realtors, aka good realtors make very good money and in all fairness, don’t do a lot. You don’t need a solid education to become a realtor.

  8. I have had a certain friend for about 20 years. When we were in high-school he was the man. He had the nice car and all the girls, and made about 5k a month. I always wanted to be like him, he would pay for my concert tickets, and do things to help me out. However, as the years went by things started to change. He started experiencing downward financial mobility, while I experienced upward financial mobility. While I take small amounts of money and turn it into large sums of money, his business ventures never work out. I loan/give him money to start businesses, but they always fail. The reason I keep giving him money is because he did a really big favor for me when nobody else would.

  9. If she has such a kind heart than why does she think it’s okay for you to cover her costs? Do you not tell her that you’ll only do x, y, or z together if she pays her share? You should set boundaries and expectations ahead of time for planned trips etc. If she claims to be broke then don’t pay for more than you are willing to “gift”. It’s not fair to you when you visibly see her splurging on herself and not on you. I think you should make a new friend. There are many kind people who can also be financially responsible and respectful. If you enjoy talking to her, just give her a call but not a whole trip, dinner, or anything that costs the money you worked hard to earn.

  10. I know plenty of broke college students who are just bad with money. Avoid them until they mature. I remember one time I invited a girl to spend time at my place and we were talking where she mentioned that she spent $1k on a new tattoo and then envied I could afford a very modern laptop and I was “rich”. However, my laptop was only $1.2k, $200 more than her tattoo. If she really needed to upgrade her older laptop then she could have skipped the tattoo. It sounds like she didn’t have savings or a priority. It’s not my fault that she feels poor but I nevertheless felt sorry for her and offered to buy her food that day. PS Many people (typically freshmen and sophomores) will play broke hoping others will cover their tabs. They still have that mentality where they are used to their parents paying for everything so they are not used to having to work and pay for themselves. Worse, they really weren’t prepared due to lack of budget or thinking about costs.

  11. There are professional moochers in the world. They realize they can guilt others into giving them money rather than work for it themselves. Don’t enable it. Just apologize and say you need it to pay your bills.

  12. That’s sweet of you. I’m sorry your friend got down on his luck, I hope he gets successful again soon.

  13. Well think about this in these 30 years you’ve got so used to her even though it’s her fault she’ll make u think your the bad one she’s just a leach only calls u wen she wants something because no one else will provide best to let her go find someone that wants best for you and not what u have got

  14. Stop dealing with broke friends get you some wealthier independent friends who don’t ask for money, or rides all the time . My friends, which are very few we don’t ask each other for money, we have our own house, car, and is financially independent. Your friend apparently isn’t responsible, she depends on you too much.

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