A Friend Situation: Just Trying to Help

Let me preface this post by saying that I love my best friend to death. She is like a sister to me. We grew up together and I will always love her for who she is, no matter what she does with her money.

This post is one I've been meaning to write about because it affects me and I care about her well-being and future like she is my sister. I'm sure you all have that one friend, the one you want to help but the one that makes bad decisions and never listens so I hope you can all relate when I'm just here to vent and pretend that I am giving her advice. I know, as a PF blogger, it seems like we are sometimes bashing others for their habits but I think that it's good to discuss "real life case studies" to see how we can improve ourselves or how we can help others.

Story time!

My best friend and I met when she was 6 months old and I was 2 years old. Our parents were friends and my grandma babysat us while our parents were at work. You can imagine all of the crazy things we did together as we grew up and spent countless sleepovers, camping trips, and life experiences together. We consider each other sisters because we were inseparable and we are really part of each other's families. We ended up going to different schools and when I moved away to college, she ended up hanging out with the wrong crowd in high school, and got addicted to meth when she was only 16. I still remember the day she walked to my house with these random strangers at 2am in the morning, crying and shaking, not knowing what was going on. She was rushed to the hospital and she almost died from overdosing on drugs. Without any notice, her parents had her taken away from her house in the middle of the night to go to a wilderness boot-camp type of rehab in New Mexico. Right before this happened, I told her that I would never be friends with her again if she continued to use drugs, and I told her that I was doing this because I cared about her and loved her very much. She told me that what I told her changed her life, because she got through it and finished high school at a rehab-type/boarding school in New Mexico. I'm so happy that she got through it and changed her life for the better, which is why I always find myself acting like a sister to her and watching out for her. I tend to have lots of opinions on her life and she trusts me to help her with my advice.

Fast forward a few years, and she is married and has a baby now. I want to help her get out of living paycheck to paycheck but she insists that she knows what to do with her money, but she certainly doesn't act like she does. I think this may be true for a lot of people when they want to help people out, but others just don't care to listen to your advice. I find my best friend and her husband's approach to money so childish, but since they have a kid already, they really need to be thinking responsibly. Of course this should be taken with a grain of salt as I am not a professional, and I realize that this is her life and she has the power to make her own choices, which is why I don't push my opinions on her. I tell her once, and she can take it or leave it.

Case in point:
  • When my friend or her husband buys an item, the other will get mad and retaliate by buying an expensive item for themselves. Example: He bought a work-out bench and then she decided to go on a shopping spree at Macy's. This situation happens all the time, and then they fight!
  • She tells her husband when he is drunk that she will buy something (usually make-up) and he will agree at the time, then later they will fight about it because her husband will say he never agreed to that.
  • Her husband eats out a lot even though she cooks food everyday and after she tells him not to. She packs him lunch and he always "forgets" it. He lives about 5 minutes away from work so it wouldn't be a problem to drive back home to get it.
  • When she was on unemployment, she wanted to spend her money on clothes and shopping.
  • When she was on unemployment, a nice 2 bedroom condo was not "big enough" for her so they moved to a huge house.
  • When she was on unemployment, she was mad that the government didn't want to keep paying her after a year.
  • When she was on unemployment, she wanted to use that money to go back to school full-time (which is illegal btw).
  • She will shop and then hide the evidence - take tags off and put them in her drawer and deny any new purchases.
  • She takes money out of savings for frivolous items so her savings can't grow. The highest it's been was $200.
  • They live paycheck to paycheck and the only debt they have are school loans. Just $200/month.
  • They only think of "right now" and not the "future". No baby college fund, no emergency fund, etc.
  • Her solutions have been going on unemployment (she lied on her app just to get unemployment. She was not laid off, she was fired and only at her full-time job for 2 weeks), filing bankruptcy, moving out abruptly if they can't afford rent, calling her parents for money, etc.
  • She constantly tells me she and her husband need to have a budget but they never act on this.
It's things like these that make me want to shake her and tell her that she definitely did not deserve a bigger place when she was on unemployment. She shouldn't be touching her savings for anything frivolous. She and her husband need a budget that they are both aware of. They need to discuss and be on the same page financially, but it doesn't seem to work. It's hard for me to understand why they fight about money when they both have equal access to their accounts and it's their money together, not individually, but they still act like it's "mine" or "his". Sorta drives me nuts, especially when she calls me crying and complaining about it. It's hard for me to tell her that it shouldn't be this difficult and that she can dig herself out of it if she just tries. But it happens all over again, and it's a cycle they can't break.

So what advice would you give my best friend?


Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Aww. How hard for you as a best friend! I think everyone has that 'thing' that they will not listen to others' advice about. It sucks that your bestie's is finance. Until she chooses to see the situation full circle, though, I do not think there is advice to give yet. :/

Michelle P said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Ugh so much to say! She reminds me of my mom. She spends because she thinks she deserves it, whereas she doesn't need all of the things she buys! It's so annoying. I don't have any tips for you though, since I'm going through the same thing.

Newlyweds on a Budget said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Honestly, at this point, you just have to wait until she comes around. I know it's the most frustrating thing. I had a friend who dated this jerk off, and I was the only vocal one who said how bad he was. I even got into fights with mutual friends about it bc I was so adamant he was a tool bag. ANYWAY, of course they ended up breaking up and it's really hard to not say "I told you so" but I guess the point is, you have to let people make their own mistakes and hope they learn.

Daisy said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Oh, dear. I don't know where to start with this. My best friend's mom still supports her, so I don't have this issue, but .. the poor kid! I don't think people can change unless they themselves want to. Doesn't sound like she wants to unfortunately!

Kat Tanita said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

thanks for your comment, love your blog :)


Young Professional Finances said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It sounds like you've given her advice and yet she ignores it, since you say the whole cycle starts over again. At this point, I'm not sure what more you can do other than asking if you can create a budget for them - then automate their savings so they just never see that money. Not sure if they're the kind of friends who will let you do that though...but I don't know how else you could help them.

Lindy Mint said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

It's definitely a tough position to be in with your friend. I agree with a lot of the other comments that change will only happen when she decides to make it happen.

I think the best you can do is be there for her. Be a good example. Offer advice when she asks for it so she knows your position. Sadly, It may take another rock-bottom moment for her to turn things around.

Rafiki said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Everyone so far has told you the truth. She won't change till she is ready to change. I don't have any advice for her but I do have some for you.

Keep being her best friend and offer your advice, don't be pushy with it, just do it subtly or when she asks. Be an example for her to follow.

When the time comes, she will know exactly who she can turn to for help. Her bff. It may be tough on you now but there isn't much you can do till she is ready.

The Happy Homeowner said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I agree with the other comments that she's not ready to make the change and that new, lasting habits will be formed only when she acknowledges she needs to change (and actually does so). The problem is that may take forever or may never happen at all, so you need to find ways to take care of your own feelings about the situation rather than her finances. I agree with being there for her when you can, but I also think that it might be best to distance yourself temporarily if this is stressing you out too much. :(

Ella said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I definitely understand how frustrating and depressing it can be to see your friend behave like this. But I also think if she's not ready to acknowledge she has a problem then you can't help her. You can talk her into realizing that she has a problem, she needs to understand it herself.
But when she is ready and only then you can help her and teach her everything you know about personal finance! :)

shopping2saving said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I agree with everyone's comments. I knew I could count on you guys to understand how I felt haha. It bothers me that she asks for my advice, but then bashes on my advice. It's all a bit hypocritical but I will of course accept her for who she is and I will ALWAYS be there for her no matter what she does with her money! I just had to rant it all out here :)

movetoeurope said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

Just reading those points you wrote is so frustrating. She sounds so irresponsible - especially lying regarding her unemployment. Anyway, the others are right. You can't do anything for her. Unfortunately, if she really wants to change, she has to have the courage to do it herself. Good luck! :)

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