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Expensive Dinners but He Has No Money!


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I have a friend who I've known for at least 4 years now and he's always complained about how little he makes compared to our other friends that we hang out with, and how he can't afford cable and internet, etc.... but then he always likes to go out to dinner on weekends and often pays for his friends meals. Unfortunately, he's also known to hold the fact he paid for their meals over their heads for guilt-trip purposes. For instance, if he wants to go to the beach for the weekend and his friends say they can't go, he holds the fact he pays for their dinners over their head as a guilt-trip just to make them feel bad.


Lately he started paying for my dinners (however I've always made it a point to make sure we go to places I can afford and always have enough cash on the spot to pay him for my meal the moment he starts to hold it over my head).


But last night he wanted to go to a very fancy restaurant with two of our friends who are MUCH better off financially (a $45 per person seafood/steak restaurant) and when I told him I couldn't afford that and wouldn't be joining them, he started guilt-tripping me about all the other times he's paid for my meals and told me he'd pay for this meal also).


We had a huge argument... and then he called these two friends back and told them he wouldn't be going because I couldn't afford it and basically pinned the whole reason HE wasn't going on me and told me I'd just ruined the night for 4 people and called me self-fish and hard-headed.


I finally told him I was tired of him not listening to me (we'd had this conversation several times before) and I haven't returned any of his phone calls today. I don't wish to be his friend anymore but we do have ALL the same mutual friends and it will be hard to hang out with them without hanging out with him also. These are the ONLY friends I have.


Any advice on how to deal with him without tearing our mutual group of friends apart or making them feel they need to take sides? Thanks.

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Just tell him that this issue is endangering your friendship, and it needs to stop. Also tell him you value his friendship for more than the expensive dinners he pays for, so he can stop paying for them, there is no need to. Point out that his well-intended generosity is having adverse affects on your friendship, which you are sure is not his intention, and it's not worth all the misunderstandings.

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Unfortunately I did tell him that his well-intended generosity was ultimately having adverse affects on our friendships and respectfully asked him to stop paying for my dinners because I liked to feel financially independent and it made me feel good when I paid for my own dinners... that I was ultimately grateful for all the things he's bought me but that he needed to stop doing this.


This was just about three weeks ago... and it was as clear as you put it... and for the last two weekends, he's continued to make huge embarrassing angry outbursts at restaurants when I've reminded him to not pay for my dinner... (which I also specifically told him not to do). Even though I tried to hold my ground and not let him pay, the outbursts were so embarrassing the OTHER friends we were with told me to let him pay for me just to make him stop.


I have absolutely no more ideas on how to stop his behavior than to just completely not talk to him or do anything with him anymore.


As a side bar, he's already lost his oldest and best friend due to this same exact situation and this friend hasn't hung out with him for over 2 years now- however he still secretly visits the other friends of our groups and asks these other friends not to mention he'd visited them to us. I hate how that situation has made the group take sides and how friends have started out-right lying about when he comes to visit to keep it a secret.


I don't know any other way how to tell him that he's about to lose another good friendship because of his behavior. I've tried the respectfully firm tactic and after 3 weeks of no change, it obviously didn't work.


I think the only tactic I have left is just not associating myself with him-- unfortunately that also means I lose all my friends. They've been his for over 30 years... and they have only been my friends for 4... so I know their loyalty will be to him. I just feel totally screwed in this situation.

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Hang out with his oldest friend who dropped him and start a new group! If these people will drop you over something this ridiculous, then you're better off making friends who a) have more sense and b) don't have such an annoying quirk about paying for things. That's just plain weird, I would have dropped him like a hot potato a long time ago.

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He grew up with his friends and I have started secretly emailing the other friend however he lives 200 miles away so he's not exactly someone I can just hang out with at any time.


Believe me, I've actually asked the other friends why they've put up with his behavior for so long-- they say you learn to just get used to it and ignore it.


Well I've tried for about 4 years now and I just can't take it anymore. I'm tired of him shouting and making huge scenes in nice restaurants, I'm tired of food flying around at the table... I'm tired of people telling me just to ignore him when the manager comes out and asks us to leave. I'm sick of it and I wish he would stop tearing our friendships apart with his immature 4-year old behavior.

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Yeah, I feel the same as Scout. If the whole group is dominated by the temper tantrums of one dude, I'd be outta there.


It's not worth it to get sucked into in-fighting or trying to change anyone. If they've been doing it this way for so long, they are obviously comfy with it.


Has anyone ever, you included, ever called him on his behavior when he is throwing one of his tantrums in a restaurant?

I'd find it really embarrassing.


What do they do? Just leave, or apologize for him all the time?

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I've always called him on it and I was always made to feel like I was doing something taboo and just making things worse. Their reaction is to basically to just ignore it as if it's not happening. It's frustrated me to the point of actually leaving the table and getting my own table to eat by myself (I'm usually the designated driver when we all go out and I wouldn't feel right just leaving all of them there at the restaurant without a ride).


Anyway...we had another huge argument about it after I posted this topic when he started doing his guilt-trip/manipulation thing again. I finally just got fed up and left. Went and did my own thing for dinner without anyone else... and it was actually one of the best, most peaceful, Saturday night dinners I've had in the last 4 years. It was so enjoyable I think I'll do it again next weekend.

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In The Artists Way, Julia Cameron has a section dedicated entirely to people who use your energy as their energy. The description of your "friend" immediately put it in my mind.


She calls them Crazymakers. Because thats what they do.

They call you at a bad time, they use your resources, they dump stuff on you last minute, they use guilt trips and manipulations and they have surrounded themselves with people who will not only let them, but will keep them behaving in that way.


They're just generally unhealthy to be around, and if you're drawn to them it's a good bet that you're using the drama they create to fuel some part of yourself.


I think you've done the right thing.

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Just tell him that you dont want to be indebted to your friends unless its absolutely necessary. thereforeeee, you pay for your dinners and he pays for his dinners end of story. Secondly, he has no business telling your other friends that he cant go, because you cant afford it. Its none of THEIR business why you couldnt go unless you wanted to tell them yourself.


If he cant respect or understand this, Id suggest just being as civil, but distant as you can in regards to this 'friend'. IE dont be mean to him, but dont take his calls, dont spend time with him etc. unless hes out with your group. Sooner or later hell figure it out.

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I think you are forced to leave the group. If there is "food flying around the table", "shouting in nice restaurants", and "being asked to leave by the manager" then this has progressed WAYYYYYYY beyond the point where a simple "you're hurting my feelings" is going to make a difference.


As was said before, this tyrant has a good deal. He has made it clear that he will go to whatever lengths he has to in order to make others cave. Everyone has lulled into a position of tolerance, just to get it to stop.


Simply put, they all obviously hate it, but they keep hanging out with this guy.


If you can't tear people away from him, then you might be stuck with having to phase yourself out. Maybe you can hang one on one with some of your friends at times, but you'll have to avoid him if this is how he treats you.


Maybe your example will encourage others to leave.


Also, nobody questions HOW he can "afford" to pay for these things that you say he can't afford. Is he cutting back in one area so he can afford expensive dinners, or is he racking up debt. Does he pay with a credit card, or with cash? If the latter, then eventually he may burn himself out.

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Thats good to know ghost, but this problem goes way beyond the issue of complaining about money.


As I said before, if the group is actually being asked to LEAVE a restaurant, then things must be getting REALLLLLLLY bad. Its one thing to be asked to quiet down, but you have to go pretty far out of line to be asked to leave. Food flying around, and tantrums will certainly be a step in that direction.


It makes me wonder that if these people can't deal with their friend, how will they ever deal with a kid?!?! As soon as a kid learns that tantrums work, expect larger and larger tantrums every time. Once a person learns that they can get their way by outlasting you in a battle of wills, it takes a LOT of work to overcome that. Its amazing how far people will go to win.


What does everyone see in this guy anyway? Is he a good conversationalist? It almost sounds like Jekyll and Hyde type behavior.

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He's a pretty fun guy to hang around when he's in a good mood-- but if someone tells him to "grow up" or a manager warns him he's about to kick us out he'll start being moody and a general super-jerk. He always pays with his credit card and then complains about how high his bill was that month and how much his utilities were.... and then ten minutes later after he's made a huge fit about it, he'll go out and buy an $110 palm tree to plant in his back yard... or buy everyone dinner.... and then use the fact he bought everyone dinner over their heads if they tell him they can't hang out on a Saturday night because they have other plans or just want to stay home instead of partying one weekend.


He is a jekyl and hyde kind of guy. I've never trusted being in the car with him as a passenger-- he's prone to road rage and has been known to drive down the median of the highway at 70mph with others his car telling him to stop. I now make it a point to always drive on weekends not only because I feel safer, but also when the other people in our group request me to drive he's been known to have tantrums and be generally moody all night making our night out very uncomfortable.


He can either be the life of the party, and then the next minute literally ruin the party with his moods and tantrums and it makes us all just very paranoid to go out with him... you never know if you're getting Jekyl or Hyde when the night's begun or who'll he turn into by the end of it. Everyone walks on eggshells around him.


I haven't gone out with him or the group for the last couple weekends now and I'm finding things I'm enjoying that I used to all the time but couldn't do with the group -- like go to coffee bars or the bookstore or a movie. I think all's good and I'm glad I'm staying away from him and the group... it just wasn't good for me.


Thanks for all the great input guys! I appreciate it.

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the J/H personality is tough to deal with because you know deep down that things can turn on a dime, and it makes everything very tense.


It seems though that the advice you received here was put to great use -- by getting away from the stifling group and doing things you wanted to do, you have already felt a lot better.

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