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IABU, and I should wind my neck in, but..

(28 Posts)
beaker25 Mon 10-Jan-11 13:22:45

I?m getting v. frustrated with a friend and I need to rant somewhere! About a fortnight ago I was round at a friend?s house, let?s call her friend a, and during the course of the evening she told me that she?s in a lot of debt, that she?s not admitted it to anyone, and then she?s really worried and it keeps her awake at night, and she doesn?t know what to do etc. I know someone who works for CAB, so I told friend that I could ask her what CAB would advise she should do. Friend had never heard of CAB but said yes, she would appreciate advise, she wants to get the debt sorted. So I speak to CAB contact, she sends back a really long email with loads of really good advice, friend a is very grateful and tells me she?s going to work out a plan to pay debts off with CAB.

This weekend friend a was telling me about a hen do she?s going on. We have a mutual friend, friend b getting married this year. Friend B wants to go abroad for her hen night for two nights, costing around £300 (not including spending money) I and a few other friends declined this, as we felt it quite expensive. Friend A feels she has to go though as she is bridesmaid. Friend B has now organised a second hen do for those who aren?t going abroad, a spa day which is likely to cost about £150 altogether. Friend A will also be going to this hen night. I?m quite frustrated with friend A, as last week she was tearful and saying she was so worried about paying her debts off, and this week she is telling me she plans to spend £500 (once you?ve included spending money) on this hen do. I know it?s up to her what she does, but I feel quite angry with her at the moment. To make it worse she doesn?t really want to go on the weekend abroad, as she won?t really know anyone bar friend B, but she feels she has to.

She?s such a lovely person, she loves to socialise i.e. going out every weekend, and she intends to carry on doing this. She also hates saying no to anything and will always got to everything she is ever invited to as she doesn?t want to let anyone down. I just can?t see how she can get control of her debts if she wants to keep socialising to this level. I feel bad for her because I really like to socialise too, but I know, because she has told me, that she can?t afford to carry on like this and it will push her further and further into debt. Once she?s made all her interest payments, she has no money left so extras like nights out often go on a credit card.

Most of me thinks it?s none of my business and I should leave her to do as she likes, but part of me is annoyed that she asked for advice, and seems to be ignoring it. She is such a good friend, I do adore her and hate to see her getting in trouble, but I?m not sure what I can do now.

mistressploppy Mon 10-Jan-11 13:25:15

Why do you care so much? You're only down an evening's worth of advice after all. Let her get on with it, your work there is done

mutznutz Mon 10-Jan-11 13:26:42

Nothing...she's an adult. You've done what you can so the rest is up to her. Frustrating though I agree.

thumbwitch Mon 10-Jan-11 13:26:47

Step away. You've pointed her in the right direction, got her some great advice - but you cannot make her take it.

However, for your own sanity you CAN say to her "Do not come whining to me again about your debts when you feel you "just have to" outlay over £500 on two hen dos (ridiculous in itself!!) when you can't manage the debts you already have!" Or words to that effect, depending on how frustrated you are at the time.

You're right in that it isn't really your business, but she chose to make it your business by telling you about it - yet you still can't make her change her ways.

As an aside, DO NOT lend her any money. That will go very wrong. And you're a very kind friend, btw to worry about and help her as much as you already have.

oldenoughtowearpurple Mon 10-Jan-11 13:28:31

It is very very frustrating to watch a friend self-destruct. I assume you have made your feelings clear to her already and offered your support in helping her change her spending habits. If she is very close then you should be able to be honest with her and tough with her. I might find it hard to stay friends with someone who was behaving this irresponsibly and almost dishonestly.

FabbyChic Mon 10-Jan-11 13:29:55

YOu can however if she mentions it again, say you offered some help but she has to learn to help herself, and after offering help then her spending money uncessarily you don't really want to listen to her money problems.

beaker25 Mon 10-Jan-11 13:30:01

Indeed, I'm not sure why I care so much. After she first told me I was really worried as she'd seemed so upset. But I think I'm letting it bother me than I should be!

beaker25 Mon 10-Jan-11 13:33:16

Thumbwitch, I'm glad you said that. Before I knew about the hen night my boyfriend and I were considering a loan in our name so she could repay. I think that would end badly though!

beaker25 Mon 10-Jan-11 13:34:55

Fabbychic that sounds like a good way to handle it. I will try that.

thumbwitch Mon 10-Jan-11 13:38:38

beaker, almost certainly. A good friend of mine was in a similar situation to you - her friend came crying to her about her awful debts, really big ones, a few years ago. She discussed it with her DH, they lent this woman £10k. shock. And they never saw a penny of it again - the woman went "off radar" and refused to return calls or anything.

It's just not worth it - see how bad you feel just now about her refusing to take your advice, that's NOTHING compared to how bad you'd feel if she didn't pay any loan back.

beaker25 Mon 10-Jan-11 13:51:54

Thumbwitch- eeek! My boyfriend and I were discussing lending a similar amount. It's probably a good thing that this hen night conversation happened and made me realise it's a bad idea. I do trust her, but I don't so much trust her to take responsiblity for paying the money back now.

She is a really good friend and I hate to see her in trouble, but lending the money isn't the right way to solve this.

I think I will have to make clear to her that I'm there for support if and when she wants to sort it out properly.

TandB Mon 10-Jan-11 13:59:11

I know someone a bit like this - possibly worse. She is in her late 30s and has been deeply in debt since leaving university at 25. Instead of trying to get out of debt, she just constantly moves money around between 0% interest credit cards and loans, gets more debt each time and then moves on again. She lied to get a mortgage and then lost the house due to arrears. She has county court judgements and has had bailiffs round. And yet she keeps on and on spending. multiple expensive holidays a year, designer clothes, new car etc etc.

I used to be close to her but it actually completely destroyed our friendship. I can barely speak to her now as I found the whole thing so stressful and frustrating. It's easy for people to say mind your own business but it's not so easy to do it.

Acinonyx Mon 10-Jan-11 14:06:50

Do NOT lend her money. I have 2 dear friends who have fallen out over a similar situation. One got into debt and the other lent a 4-figure sum. The debtor is clearly not making any attempt to pay it back. The problem is not one debt that can be paid off - it's a habit of running up debts.

My mother was also like this. It was impossible to talk rationally to her about money. Dh offered to take out a loan to help her and I said no - I knew it would never stop - it would be like giving an alcoholic whiskey.

beaker25 Mon 10-Jan-11 14:12:31

Kungfupanda that's really sad. I would find it hard to continue being friends with someone behaving like that too. In my friends case she isn't dishonest, but she tends to stick her head in the sand about things, its frustrating! I feel better for my rant on here though.

zipzap Mon 10-Jan-11 14:28:23

Also point your friend in the direction of the money saving expert website - lots and lots of ways she can shave little bits here and there off her spending, vouchers for money off and bargains when she does have to spend, a couple of useful spreadsheets to work out your budget etc

might be a way to gently bring the conversation around to money and ways to change spending habits rather than something that will cure her in herself IYSWIM

Also - how well do you know friend b - not to disclose a's problems to, but how do you think she would react if a didn't go on the hen do abroad - any way you could persuade a to tell b she can't go away with them - even help her come up with an excuse other than can't afford it now there is a UK one and just want to go to that one?

QuietTiger Mon 10-Jan-11 14:40:16

Was in a similar situation with a friend of mine - she confessed to me about her debt level and the fact that it was affecting her in that she couldn't sleep, pay her bills, pay her mortgage etc.

I spent a considerable amount of my time helping sort her out, doing things like budgets, getting debt advice from CAB, sorting out debt advisors and freezibng interest/ deferring payments on credit cards. After she had supposedly sorted herself so that she could manage repayment her debt repayments and afford to eat, I then found out she had subsequently decided to take a payment break on her mortgage so that she could go on a £1200 holiday and buy about £450 worth of new clothes.

I decided not to get wound up, but take the attitude that she's a big girl and I've done what I can to help. She has to learn her own lessons. I'm not going to judge her for it and I'm certainly not going to police her financial affairs. I'm also not going to help by lending her money with advice any more.

And whatever you do, don't get involved with the whole taking out a loan for her and her paying back senario. The only way she should get a loan is in her name.

thumbwitch Mon 10-Jan-11 14:44:45

Don't even enquire about taking out a loan - I did this for a relative but then got cold feet and decided I didn't want to do it after they'd offered it to me. I later found out (through my sister, long story) that if YOU decline a loan, it gets marked as "loan declined" on the credit check, REGARDLESS of who declined it - so it goes agains you in terms of your credit rating.

Acinonyx Mon 10-Jan-11 14:50:47

It's not about dishonesty. My friend, the debtor, is one of the nicest, kindest people you could ever meet. I think a lot of people rationalise this behaviour somehow - I wouldn't generally think of my friend as dishonest - but she definitely cannot be trusted with money.

Please don't even consider getting a loan for her. She will just carry on and get into debt again. She doesn't see her behaviour clearly because she doesn't want to.

thumbwitch Mon 10-Jan-11 14:53:40

Is there an "Anonymous" group for people like this? Is it seen as a compulsion like gambling, or is it really just a lack of thought/ understanding/ monetary sense?

I know a couple of people who see their credit card limit as their spending budget - something in their brain fails to accept that they do actually have to pay the money back, it's not "free money". And that they have to have the money to pay it back to the credit card company, so spending on it when you have no money is insane. One of them also treats her overdraft as extra spending money. Mad!

LaWeaselMys Mon 10-Jan-11 15:05:44

Behaviour like this can be a symptom of mental health problems - but nowhere near all of the time!

I would be brutal to be honest, and if she bought up the hen-do tell her not to be so stupid, she can't afford it, and bride will understand.

It's very easy to get into debt, much harder to get out of.

flamingpants Mon 10-Jan-11 15:13:37

Try not to get annoyed.

It sounds to me like your friend totally lacks any common sense when it comes to money. Either that or her terrible habits are too cemented to kick. Have you mentioned to her that this is not a good idea? Some people just simply don't make the connections. If she snaps at you just simply say then you don't want to get involved.

Agree with everyone about not lending her cash.

beaker25 Mon 10-Jan-11 15:21:22

Money saving expert is a good idea zipzap, I use that lots myself too! I think friend b would be really understanding about the hen do, but friend a is adamant about not letting her down. Quite a few people, including me are not going to the long weekend, which seems to be making her even more determined to go. She's trying to be a good friend, which is admirable I suppose!

beaker25 Mon 10-Jan-11 15:30:47

Aciononyx your point about dishonesty is interesting. I keep thinking that because she's honest she's not like everyone else who gets into debt, but you're right. It's not really about dishonesty, its more like a compulsive behaviour. In her case she can't say no to anyone. If I asked her to go to morocco with me tomorrow she would, because she wouldn't want to let me down. She must be spending money on other things too though tp have gotten into this debt.

Thanks for the advice re. Looking into a loan, I didn't know it goes on your record. I def won't consider that any further!

beaker25 Mon 10-Jan-11 16:07:26

My last comment sounded like I was implying that people who get into debt are dishonest, I don't actually think that, I just worded my post badly.

Acinonyx Mon 10-Jan-11 16:09:20

Some people never refuse a social invitation - because they would feel they were endangering the friendship. It's more about being insecure and wanting friendship than letting the other person down.

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