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Thread: Mooch Friend Broke My Friend-Heart

  1. #1
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    Mooch Friend Broke My Friend-Heart

    I was very best friends with this girl all through high school. We were inseparable. We are now in our mid-twenties. I went to college in a city, and she moved to the other side of the country. I have not seen her in 5 years, as our trips back home have never overlapped. She booked a 5-day trip to come visit me. I live in a 2-bedroom apartment with my boyfriend, and we have a guest room that we AirBnB out. That is how we pay most of our bills. We had to cancel an AirBnB reservation because she didn't communicate well with me about the dates she booked to come visit. We did not plan on charging her any money to stay, as she was coming to visit me as my personal guest. She arrived, and I was over-the-moon excited to see her. She seemed to be in an odd mood. We had just gone grocery shopping and made dinner for all three of us. Immediately after dinner, she went to bed. The next day, she showered and said she had plans for the day, and left at 11am. I didn't know what she meant, but assumed she would be back that night. I got a text from her at around 10pm telling me not to wait up, that she was trying to "network for work" at a bar. We went to bed around midnight, and she still wasn't home. The following day was the one day that she did hang out with me. She knows how badly I'm hurting for money right now, as I've had a lot of trouble finding a job for the last 6 months. Meanwhile, she has a steady, lucrative income. We went to brunch and she pushed the bill to me. I thought at first that she was just pushing it to me so I could see the amount to split it, but she never reached for her wallet. I know in that moment that I could have said, "We need to split this one," but it just isn't my way. Afterward, she wanted to get manicures. It bothered me that she didn't offer to pay for my manicure (20$, after I covered a 50+$ brunch). I took her to the beach for a few hours, where we drank my alcohol, then we went to the boardwalk to get a beer, and she didn't buy my beer. We went back to the apartment, she poured herself a drink, went into her room and said, "I'm going to go to bed because I'm planning on hanging out with [ex-boyfriend] tomorrow and I want to be well-rested because we'll probably stay up late." That really hurt my feelings. I talked to my boyfriend about it that night, and he told me that he'd immediately gotten the feeling that she was a mooch, was not interested in seeing me, didn't care about my financial situation, and just wanted a free place to crash while she hung out with other people. I still wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt. She left the following morning at 11am and never came back that night. The next day, I waited for her to come back because I wanted to have a conversation with her. She had been cooking with our groceries the last few mornings and nights, and I hated that she'd been expecting me to pay for things being aware of my financial situation. I decided to, humbly and apologetically, tell her that I had forgotten to mention that we do charge friends 100$ a visit to stay in our room. Friends who usually come visit us usually pay us upwards of 300 dollars if they don't have time to take us out to meals like normal houseguests might do, and we never have to ask. In this situation, it was especially bad because we'd had to cancel a 500$ AirBnB reservation and pay a 50$ fee to cancel it. She got back to the apartment at 3pm, and needed to leave for the airport at 5pm. I sat her down on the couch and told her it was awkward, but that we needed to ask for money. I even added in, (to give her a loophole and to see what she would choose knowing my financial situation and all that I've covered during her stay), "I know that I forgot to mention this sooner, so if it's really a huge inconvenience, I can find a way to cover the cost." She didn't even entertain the thought, got defensive and said, "If I knew I had to pay I never would have stayed with you. I have plenty of people to stay with around here." It was crazy to me because even up to that point I'd been giving her the benefit of the doubt -- everything in me thought she would say, "Oh my gosh, I'm so sorry. Yeah I wish you'd told me but that's not a big deal," and pay, considering 100$ is nothing to her. The way she reacted made me feel so awful, and made the situation so much worse. When I realized that she was not interested in remedying the situation, I said, "You've made me feel really ditched on this trip." She said, "I told you before I came here that I was going to meet up with people so I don't know why you're surprised." She'd told me that she would meet up with her ex-boyfriend for "a drink" one night. Of course I didn't think she'd be attached to my hip for 5 days, but in the end, we only hung out for a total of about 6 hours, mostly concentrated in one day for which I paid for everything. Am I in the wrong here and just can't see it clearly? Is this behavior that you would accept from a friend? And do you think it was reasonable for me to request payment in the gentle way that I did? Should I have been firmer? Thanks in advance, and thank you for reading if you've made it this far.

  2. #2
    Gold Member SarahLancaster's Avatar
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    You should have discussed the payment when she asked to come visit. That's not something you spring on a house guest after they're there.

    You learned an expensive lesson. If the extra room is part of your income, you should make that clear to anyone who asks to stay with you; otherwise, tell them they can sleep on the couch. She doesn't seem like much of a friend. I hope you've written her off.

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    Well, I think that this is definitely an awkward situation and I do think that your friend is rude. However, she is not exactly 100% in the wrong to the point where it's black and white and very clear who's right and who's wrong in this situation. I think if you didn't say straight out to your friend that she needs to pay for the room then unfortunately you can't just say that she has to pay later. That's misleading and if she'd spent the whole stay thinking it was for free and gets told only on the last day to pay, I can see why she would have gotten upset.

    Usually friends do stay with their friends for free if it's only for short periods of time. I would consider five days a short period of time. If you offer for your friend to stay for free, yes it is polite and nice to probably shout you a meal and/or drinks or maybe give a present, e.g. wine and chocolates. Usually the least I would do is shout something at least once and maybe give a gift and "thank you" card. However this is just a personal choice and me trying to be nice. I wouldn't say that it's a 100% requirement though the way payment in a hotel is a requirement. This is just social expectations and some people may have different expectations than others.

    I will also say that if your friend could only stay for five days and she lives on the other side of the country and has other people to see, it sorts of makes sense that she'd want to see everyone to make the most of the trip. I mean, she told you that she had to see other people prior to arriving, right? It just seems to me like maybe you were too passive to actually be direct and say to her what you really wanted. Which was to get some payment for her stay and to spend more time with her. She probably did have a few people to see and she was trying to squeeze it all in. If you never laid down your expectations then how could she have known what you wanted?

    Also I think you were kind of acting like because you let her stay with you, she owed you things. That she should have spent most of her time only with you or paid for things for you. I mean yes she could have acted a bit more grateful, but I don't think that she just automatically owed it to you. You were doing things like keeping tabs on what time she went out and came home at night. You are her friend, not her mother, and she is an adult. Unless she was making noise and keeping you awake or brought a guy to your place, it's not exactly wrong to go out and see other people.

    However, having said all that, I do think that maybe your friend doesn't have the best manners or is socially unaware. Whether it's deliberate or not, it's a bit hard to know. Also it did seem like you weren't her number one priority, but for what reason also hard to know. It may have been because she was so busy trying to catch up with everyone, or could be that she actually doesn't consider you much of a priority anymore. I think really you would be better off asking her as to why she didn't seem interested in spending more time with you. I don't think just assuming things is good because you don't know what she was actually thinking.

    Also you say you were best friends in high school, but haven't seen each other for five years. Had you still been close via phone or social media? Did you feel like the friendship was still the same, or has it drifted? People can change a lot since high school, and distance definitely doesn't help with that. I mean, it may be that you've just drifted apart and this trip was a sign of that.

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    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    Please break this into paragraphs so more people will read it. You are lucky to have gotten two replies.

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    Thank you for your reply. We had kept in touch often over Facetime, and she was very aware of the AirBnB room, as we often discussed it over the past 2 years.

  7. #6
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    I agree with others. You didn't intend on charging her in the beginning and then you changed your mind in the end with unrealistic expectations. I agree with you, she presumed you would pay for all outings such as food and manicure. She took advantage of your warm hospitality with free room and board during her stay.

    Either make it clear that she needs to pay rent for her next visit, have her stay elsewhere with her other friends and keep money, manicures, groceries and meals out of the equation. Money and friends or money and family never mix.

    If you really don't see your friendship flourishing in the future, end the friendship. When she reaches out to you in the future, tell her it's time for both of you to go your separate ways. Or, enforce boundaries and have her stay elsewhere, make it clear that you'll "go Dutch" (each pay for their own way) for dining out, manicures, outings and the like. Meet somewhere, ask for separate checks for everything in advance, make it clear prior to getting together that each party will pay their own way and then go back and make your own sleeping arrangements; you back to your place and she crashes wherever because it's her problem, not yours.

    She won't change so you'll have to change the future trajectory.

    If I stayed for "free," at your place, I would've compensated you by helping pay for groceries, pay for your meals out and manicure in order to call it even. There is no such thing as "free" because anytime anything is for free, people with a conscience generally pay you back in other ways. I've since learned this sobering lesson the hard way when my family and I visited my cousin several years ago. We earned our keep in other ways and with our wallet. I gave her very generous gift cards and paid for meals out. It would've been "cheaper" had we booked a hotel and paid for everything such as our food and entertainment expenses. Nothing is ever truly "for free." I hate feeling beholden to anyone, indebted or obliged. I prefer to pay my own way for everything in this life. My late father once told me: "Owe nobody nothing." He was right.

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    Thank you for your reply and thorough feedback -- I hear and understand all your points. These same points have been in my head the last couple days, which is why I decided to post here. It's a very fresh situation and I don't feel good about how either of us handled it. I will clarify though: when she booked her tickets, there was a very clear conversation that this was a trip specifically to visit me. I had no intention of asking her for money. And I agree that it seems unreasonable to ask for money in the last few hours of her stay, which is why I gave her a loophole to get out of it, approached it with her gently, etc. I'd been hoping to discuss it with her the day before but she never came home, so my anxiety around the situation grew and I think I handled it worse as a result.

    I also take your point that I'm not her mother. It wasn't so much about keeping tabs as it was disappointing that I wasn't being treated as a priority, and she had not communicated to me that she wouldn't be around at all. I also expressed that I didn't expect her to hang out with me the whole time, but being gone/unavailable 4.5/5 days and only rearing her head when she wanted something from me just felt too excessive to ignore when it had been communicated to me that she was visiting mainly for the purpose of seeing me. Had I known our home would be treated as a hotel, and so much would be consumed, I 100% would have asked for payment before her visit.

    Listing all this information I suppose is just to feel justified in how disappointed and angry I am, but I promise I do see the logic and know that I didn't handle it perfectly. I would have been satisfied with an apology at the end of the day, or any kind intention of making things right with me. She seemed very keen on giving up.

    Also, yes, we have kept in touch -- FaceTiming every few months for a couple hours.

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    Originally Posted by pinkyankovic
    Thank you for your reply. We had kept in touch often over Facetime, and she was very aware of the AirBnB room, as we often discussed it over the past 2 years.
    Well I understand she was aware of the Air B'n'B room, but I think because you told her she could stay for free, she wasn't thinking of it financially. Maybe if you don't have air B'n'B you don't really consider those things...E.g. I live in a two bedroom apartment also with my fiance and we have a spare room. We don't get any income from it so if a friend was staying for a few days, it wouldn't mean anything financial to me. I mean also you could have chosen not to cancel the booking and just said to her that you were really sorry, but the room was taken. I think some of the things you were doing you chose to do yourself, like cancel the booking for her, bring your wine to the beach, pay the whole brunch bill. You do have a voice and you can speak up for what you want. I think it's perfectly fine to say at brunch: "Hey, is it cool if we split the bill? Money is real tight at the moment". There is nothing wrong with being politely assertive. At the end of the day I'm not sure what expectations are so it's probably good to actually discuss.

    Two years ago my partner and I stayed interstate with his father and father's new wife at their home. We stayed for free probably about three days and they even cooked meals for us. We went to a nice restaurant and the father paid. Just for context, my fiance is actually not close with his father and he did not know me at all. So some people feel like it's actually them that has to treat their guests. I did give a thank you card to the father because he lives in a small country town and I didn't manage to grab a better present.

  10. #9
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    Okay, you've mentioned your financial situation several times throughout your post. If you can't financially take care of a guest while they are there or afford to lose the income on the room, don't invite friends to stay with you or make it seem like you're hosting them, seriously.

    If someone wants to come and visit, let them find their own hotel, and let it be known that you are strapped for cash so if you do anything together it will have to be split cost and less expensive outings.

    Your friend assumed you could afford it and assumed you were hosting. Yeah, might be wrong of her, but you also didn't say anything.
    You need to speak up.

    I can't fault your friend entirely, you basically allowed her to do as she did and you did not say one word on losing money for the airbnb or that you needed money for the groceries or couldn't afford to go to restaurants etc.
    That was your fault, not hers.

    You can't assume people know or that people understand. You have to be far more clear cut.
    Say something like 'I can host you for two nights but I need specific dates, this doesn't include groceries and I can't afford to go out places or if I do, we need to split the bill"

    It's not nice to be broke, but what the heck..you're broke but you need to tell people this and not in subtle ways or not assume they know how broke.
    Like I said...you need to be very specific as in the above.

    Next time..don't host people, don't invite over and make it known that any outings must be bill split.
    That's part of taking care of yourself financially, no one else can do it for you.

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    Originally Posted by pinkyankovic
    Thank you for your reply and thorough feedback -- I hear and understand all your points. These same points have been in my head the last couple days, which is why I decided to post here. It's a very fresh situation and I don't feel good about how either of us handled it. I will clarify though: when she booked her tickets, there was a very clear conversation that this was a trip specifically to visit me. I had no intention of asking her for money. And I agree that it seems unreasonable to ask for money in the last few hours of her stay, which is why I gave her a loophole to get out of it, approached it with her gently, etc. I'd been hoping to discuss it with her the day before but she never came home, so my anxiety around the situation grew and I think I handled it worse as a result.

    I also take your point that I'm not her mother. It wasn't so much about keeping tabs as it was disappointing that I wasn't being treated as a priority, and she had not communicated to me that she wouldn't be around at all. I also expressed that I didn't expect her to hang out with me the whole time, but being gone/unavailable 4.5/5 days and only rearing her head when she wanted something from me just felt too excessive to ignore when it had been communicated to me that she was visiting mainly for the purpose of seeing me. Had I known our home would be treated as a hotel, and so much would be consumed, I 100% would have asked for payment before her visit.

    Listing all this information I suppose is just to feel justified in how disappointed and angry I am, but I promise I do see the logic and know that I didn't handle it perfectly. I would have been satisfied with an apology at the end of the day, or any kind intention of making things right with me. She seemed very keen on giving up.

    Also, yes, we have kept in touch -- FaceTiming every few months for a couple hours.
    I think that yeah your friend is actually rude because in the very least she should have acted grateful. Even just simply saying: "Thank you so much for your hospitality, it means a lot to me". Or just giving some flowers or a card, which does not cost much. I'm just not sure too how she was brought up or what other friends do for her. E.g. s sometimes when I stayed with friends, they were like: "Please let us spoil you, you're our guest" and buying me meals, drinks, etc. But I did feel like I needed to pull my weight too and would be like: "No, no, this time I get this". I agree it's just common courtesy and manners. I think your friend's manners are poor but also it's a bit ambiguous. Like, eating your food and pushing the bill to you was rude, but the other stuff like that she has to buy you beer or a manicure coz she's staying with you is not a given. Also saying she's coming to spend time with you and then seeing you only briefly is rude too. Although I think it's not always necessary to end the friendship but rather to take control of the situation. For example, usually when you're approaching to pay for something, the sales staff will say: "Together or separate?" Make a point of saying: "Paying separately". I always do that and then it's very clear that you are each paying your own way.

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