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seekingwolf's avatar

Friend is turning into a mooch. What to do?

Asked by seekingwolf (9498 points ) December 31st, 2013

My boyfriend and I have been friends with this guy for years. He’s also my boyfriend’s band member and is very good.

He has had many personal struggles (including addiction in the past) and is currently unemployed and living with his parents and no car (uses his parents). Before, he’d always be VERY thankful if we spent money on him and he’d always give us some money towards expenses if he had some. So it wasn’t a big deal. We were happy he was thankful.

Over the months, he’s changed. And we don’t really know what to do. And this is very relevant to my boyfriend, which I’ll explain later.

-On facebook, he recently posted an article about a guy who is “proud to be a free spirit living off of others”

-He doesn’t thank us much anymore for doing stuff for him.

-He is no longer feverishly looking for employment like he used to and he doesn’t want to talk about jobs anymore

-He started smoking weed again. So if he DID get offered a job, he’d fail the test.

-He now self identifies as “a bum” proudly, not in shame.

-He really pissed me off recently when he came over. He offered me $6 towards food so we could make nachos and then proceeded to try and get me to buy $60 worth of groceries JUST for nachos. He was insisting on expensive kinds of rice and beans and oils and spices. I then bought my boyfriend some nice scotch and then this guy proceeded to drink HALF of the bottle that night.

This is concerning because my boyfriend wants to rent out a bigger practice area for his band. He currently pays the rent but when he gets a bigger space, all agreed that they would split the cost. The other guy makes decent money and is ready and happy to contribute. Moochy friend…..not so much. He used to say that he would when he got a job….now, no job, no nothing.

My boyfriend has told Mooch straight up that he NEEDS to contribute. Mooch keeps changing the subject. The other day, he had the gall to make a joke of it saying “Well I’m a bum and you know I can’t pay, hahahahaha” and that made my boyfriend extremely angry.

They have a long history and my boyfriend is reluctant to kick him out because he has a lot of talent and they share a LOT of material. But my boyfriend can’t really make the one band member pay while Mooch doesn’t pay. That’s not fair.

Part of me feels bad for being angry because this guy has struggled with drug addiction in the past, literally has nothing, and his best friend died this year too. And he used to be SO good in the past, thankful, and looking hard for a job and working hard when he found one.

Now he’s a mooch. And I feel like we’re both being taken advantage of.

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28 Answers

KNOWITALL's avatar

Sounds like time for your guy and mooch to have a heart-to-heart about the way thing’s are and you and bf need to establish some boundaries, too. There’s no reason why the band life is intruding on your personal life, like with the scotch and groceries, Mooch is out of line and needs to recognize.

seekingwolf's avatar

Well, we do live together and we are both friends with this guy (as in, the 3 of us hang out). I have no idea what “band life” is, what you speak of. They practice once a week at the space. I don’t hang out with the other band member.

I offered to pay for some groceries for the 3 of us (or rather, 2 of them, since I had surgery and can’t eat right now) to make nachos at our apartment. We invited him over to watch a game on TV with us. He has come over on occasion before and the 3 of us had fun.

It just really annoyed me because my boyfriend and I both looked at each other like “Why do we need all of this stuff to make nachos? And you only gave us $6” and he was like “well we NEED to have this kind of rice, and we NEED to eat this, and we can’t cook without THIS”. Uhm, okay, how about you pay for it then? He’s never acted like this before. It’s bizarre.

I’ve never had an issue with hanging out with this guy and nor has my boyfriend but now that he’s acting like this, my boyfriend and I are both angry. I don’t think this is a boundaries issue. My boyfriend always keeps a bottle of nice scotch around that he drinks very slowly and Mooch never drank it before like that because that’s rude.

He’s clearly changed.

seekingwolf's avatar

My boyfriend has already had a heart-to-heart with Mooch. He was basically like “Listen. I want to get a bigger space for the band. We need the space. We need to split the cost and it’s fair because we are all in the band. I can’t make the other guy pay unless you pay too. You need to get a job or do something to come up with the money because you need to contribute too.”

And my boyfriend said he didn’t really…respond.

So should he have said something else?

seekingwolf's avatar

I don’t understand what makes someone who was so grateful and hardworking before turn into a greedy sloth who is perfectly fine, no, perfectly HAPPY, with sponging up money and other things from other people.

What turns people like that?

hearkat's avatar

This sounds to me like the dude has given up on himself. He’s got a history of addictions, but has taken up smoking pot – a known killer of motivation – and is not even trying to pull his own weight. He could be slipping into a depression, and maybe he’s started using again.

He may be hoping that because of his talent that others will do whatever is necessary to keep him around; but on the other hand, he doesn’t seem to be acting like a diva that’s entitles to special treatment (yet). Even if he has incredible talent, it can be a true nightmare dealing with someone who thinks they’re above others and have no responsibility because they have some sort of skill, so I strongly suggest not using his abilities as reason to let him get away with stuff.

I suggest that your boyfriend approach him as a friend and express concern for this shift in attitude from trying to giving up. Ask if something happened – like maybe his parents said something – that made him start acting like he doesn’t care. Address the deeper issue and make him realize that you value him as a person and friend (not just a talent or a financial partner), and you want to help him be healthy and find his happiness.

1TubeGuru's avatar

He is unemployed and living with his parents, he cant contribute money and wants to get a handout yet he somehow finds money for weed. if I were your husband I would tell this guy to either get himself together ASAP or don’t even bother coming around. tough love is better than enabling this guy. he needs to grow up.

gailcalled's avatar

-On facebook, he recently posted an article about a guy who is “proud to be a free spirit living off of others”. “Well I’m a bum and you know I can’t pay, hahahahaha…”

That clear indication of self-awareness would seem to make dealing with him very easy. Set up the ground rules, spell them out, or better yet, write them down, and then stick to your guns.

You have to decide what, beyond that, you are willing to do.

Darth_Algar's avatar

I don’t care how talented he might be, someone who isn’t pulling his weight in a band, be it financial (unless it’s pretty much an explicit “one dude calls all the shots and the rest are just basically hired guns” situation) or otherwise isn’t worth keeping around.

bolwerk's avatar

I don’t see a problem. You don’t have to pay for anything for him, and you don’t have to rent the space with him included. Sucks, but it’s the easy way out.

blueknight73's avatar

Your boyfriend has no balls, and you aren’t much better. Tell this freeloading bum to hit the road.
You and the boyfriend are ENABLERS! You guys created this monster, now you must destroy it.

Coloma's avatar

He’s counting on his charisma and standing in the band to keep him from having to take any responsibility. Fine, he can be a bum, which you guys either accept or reject, but to be arrogant and greedy is not acceptable. If he wants to do the cooking and cleaning and extras for a nice meal that’s one thing, but to help himself to all the spoils and make a mockery of your generosity is bullshit.
I’d pluck that little cock and toss him down to the local soup kitchen. lol

ibstubro's avatar

Your question answered itself. I believe that he’s no longer your friend.

Stop.

johnpowell's avatar

Band spaces can be a mess. Maybe trade rent for cleaning the place up after every practice. Perhaps you can get him used to doing something for things he wants again. The nachos thing is bullshit and someone needs to tell him to get a job or STFU.

jca's avatar

I think you guys should reconsider renting a bigger space. Make it clear that when he can chip in, then you can afford a bigger space.

I would also stop having him over. If he pisses you off then who needs him?

No one takes advantage of you without your permission.

Blueroses's avatar

I understand “the cool guy who cannot be replaced”.

You and your boyfriend need to sit down and get your income and outgo together. Then see what this talented boy is costing you.

Then bring him in and tell him, with dollar numbers, “You aren’t living the bum life off THE MAN, you’re living off of us, and we can’t afford you.

He is feeling entitled because he had hard times. Who hasn’t?
He pulls his share or he’s out of your house and maybe out of the band.

Trust me. There are many more talented musicians looking for a band than there are parasite roommates.

Smitha's avatar

Like @Blueroses said there are much more talented people out there, just end the relationship if it’s draining you both. You both need to draw a line, Such people can’t be called friends, they are your burdens!

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

You’ve painted a picture of deep depression. You say that Mooch “is no longer feverishly looking for employment,” which suggests that he did some sincere, active job-hunting for quite a while. Nobody hired him, so he’s still penniless and living with his parents. He’s so discouraged, he’s given up.

None of this gives Mooch the right to treat you and your boyfriend as his personal checking account, and you shouldn’t let that happen. You can still be good, supportive friends without footing the bill, and Mooch does need some friends now.

I would do things with Mooch that cost little or nothing. Invite him over for an evening of TV or DVD watching, and offer him a soda (hands-off the liquor cabinet). Have Mooch over for dinner, but make a large, pasta-based casserole (inexpensive, and the incremental cost of feeding Mooch would be negligible). If there are free museums, theatres, or sporting events in your area, plan a visit and bring Mooch.

Stay away from restaurants and coffee shops, where you’ll have to cover Mooch’s tab, and anything with a paid admission ticket.

jca's avatar

Those are great and supportive suggestions that @sadiemartinpaul suggested, but they require energy to research free things to do, or to cook a cheap meal just for the pleasure of entertaining the mooch.

Even if you find free things to do, it’s inevitable that someone is going to want to grab a cup of coffee or a snack. Unless you pack a bag of snacks from home, are you and your hubby going to forego snacks or buy for the mooch? And then to know that he can’t pull two dollars out of his pocket but can keep himself supplied with weed, is his wonderful companionship worth all that energy?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@jca Mooch certainly wouldn’t be my choice for a friendship, but @seekingwolf and her boyfriend care about him and are involved in his life. Certainly, they’re concerned enough not to sever ties and cut him loose.

At this point in his life, Mooch really does need some good friends. But, he shouldn’t take unfair advantage of any relationships, and no friend should be his doormat and benefactor.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul You’re right, good friends are hard to find, but how good a friend is Mooch if he’s overburdening his friends with his ‘extra’s’ then being selfish about drinking all the scotch, etc…

If the band only meets once a week, I find it odd they want to pay more for a bigger space. If it was every night or every other night, I could understand that.

@seekingwolf As far as ‘band life’, I was suggesting that perhaps seeing him as a ‘band member’ for awhile, at practices and gaining some space and perspective, perhaps he will recognize you won’t tolerate the rude behavior. I’ve had friends that showed up at suppertime or on pay day in the past, and you have to either cut them off or have the ‘talk’, they don’t just suddenly realize they’re being jerks and stop in my experience.

jca's avatar

@sadiemartinpaul: I’m not saying cut him loose just yet. I’m saying put limits on the time and energy they expend. He is going to have little incentive to get a job if everyone keeps taking care of him or doing free stuff just to keep him around.

I wouldn’t do sll thst but I wouldn’t cut him loose just yet either.

@seekingwolf: can you please let us know what you do or how things go?

Thank you.

Jca
The Update Lady

seekingwolf's avatar

Update.

@KNOWITALL

That’s sort of my issue….it’s this new entitled attitude. He NEVER had that before, I assure you. Otherwise, my boyfriend and I wouldn’t hang out with him. It’s definitely a new thing. We were both pretty appalled that he tried to make us buy lots of food that we wouldn’t really eat (only him) and then he drank all of my boyfriend’s scotch. It’s just very selfish.

As for the practice space, they do only practice once a week, but my boyfriend and the other guy (not Mooch) have full time jobs and don’t have the time to do it everyday. No one can make money making music in this city anyway, it’s just a hobby for them and an opportunity to play gigs.. The space is also for playing in general. My boyfriend is a drummer and can’t practice at our apartment. He stores all his gear at the practice space and the other guy wants to do the same and contribute to the rent. Mooch stores his gear at the space but doesn’t pay currently.

Anyway, update!

My boyfriend and I talked yet again about this subject. He is less confused about what to do. He told me that he is going to talk to Mooch more. He has tried to talk to him before and basically told him “You need to pay me for rent at the space” but Mooch just blows him off. But he told me that Mooch probably thinks that my boyfriend won’t make him pay. So he’s going to tell him “Listen, if you don’t contribute your share ($40—$50) of the rent at the end of this month, you can continue to practice with us but you can’t leave your gear here. You’ll have to take it with you and bring it back every time you want to practice.”

I think he intends to make it so inconvenient for Mooch that Mooch want to pay. Hauling gear is awful. My boyfriend said if he doesn’t pay at all, well, he may be looking for another player. So I know he means business. I know he’s thinking about it. He told me today that if this certain friend of wasn’t in the Navy and stationed so far away, he’d invite him to join and play with them, thus taking Mooch’s place.

The rent cost really isn’t that bad. My boyfriend can afford it on his own. He has a small space now for $165 a month but wants to get a space that he USED to have several months ago that was a lot bigger, but it cost $200/month.

My boyfriend has covered this cost all by himself for almost a year, just for his own use. Then he decided to get a band together this fall and things are coming around so it’s just fair that everyone pays. The good news is that if my boyfriend had to cover the cost himself, he could do it, but it would be nice to split it with the other members.

I myself have opted not to have much contact with Mooch since the last time (the nacho/scotch time). My boyfriend and I haven’t been out lately and we haven’t invited him out.

I am sort of struggling to think of things to do with Mooch that don’t involve money OR him wanting us to buy him stuff. I think he is depressed. And isolated. He sits at home a lot and makes many depressed/self-loathing statements on Facebook. About how he is a lost cause, how he’s terrible in bed, how he can’t get a job, how no woman even looks at him, how his body is screwed up from years of doing drugs, etc etc. It’s actually really sad to read.

I do care about him as a friend. Wish that there was some way I could help without him taking advantage. There are literally no jobs in the town he’s in with his parents. If he had successfully gotten a job here in the city and did well, my boyfriend and I always told him we’d let him stay on our couch for a week or two so he could save up a few hundred and move into a local studio, which are very cheap in this area. That way, we could really help out but we wouldn’t be taken advantage of.

See, we care about Mooch a lot and would be happy to really help him but if he can’t help himself, we can’t do much of anything for him.

snowberry's avatar

I feel for you. At this point, you’ve got to let him rock bottom, with the hopes that when he gets there, he’ll start moving upward again. Good on you for having the guts to do this. It’s going to be hard, no matter what you chose to do for sure, but I think you’re actually doing him a favor by treating him this way.

seekingwolf's avatar

I don’t know what “bottom” is for him, I guess we’ll have to see. I think my boyfriend is smart to do the whole “make it inconvenient for him” first instead of just straight kicking him out. I really hope a couple weeks of him hauling gear back and forth will just prove to him that it’s not worth it and that $50 is better spent going toward the space rather than on weed/alcohol/cigs.

And maybe he can drop the entitlement attitude too. Then I wouldn’t complain at all.

It’s just frustrating too cause my boyfriend and I dropped 2 friends of ours (a couple, I actually came on Fluther to write about what happened because after we dropped them as friends, we got threatening messages/calls from them for a while) and this couple were not as financially sound as my boyfriend and I. Now, most of that was due to their own bad choices but they started to take my boyfriend and I for granted and that made us mad so we just cut them off and are better for it.

It’s rather frustrating when people you care about can start to take you for granted. I am so sick of that happening.

Blueroses's avatar

It sounds like you have a very good handle on the situation and the big question now is, how do you continue to be a friend to someone who wouldn’t be his own friend?

The only way out, is to take care of yourselves first. You can’t save someone who won’t be saved. You can be sad for his choices but do not regret your own.

You offer him your friendship but not your finances. Keep that line open, and be prepared to just forgive any previous debt if it keeps him in your life. Do not ever give him more monetary support, but let him know the past is past. Clean slate, but no more from the till.

hearkat's avatar

I have a feeling that the entitlement is more of a test of the friendship than of a diva attitude. He’s feeling worthless and almost daring you two to reject him – that was why I was suggesting approaching him from a place of concern, rather than being totally hard-nosed.

There is a difference between genuine caring and enabling, though; and you definitely need to tell him that such behavior is unacceptable as it is disrespectful of him to try taking the friendship for granted. I suggest you point him in the direction of NAMI.org – a non-profit mental health organization that might help him find services to keep the depression from getting the better of him.

seekingwolf's avatar

We have talked to him recently about his depression/life and he definitely is depressed but doesn’t seem too keen to do anything about it. He is taking an antidepressant but that’s it.

I got angry today because Mooch and my boyfriend talked today and Mooch told him that “I am never shaving my beard again.” Mooch has a really, really big, unkempt beard and sideburns. They are growing out of control. Mooch also gave my boyfriend crap for trimming his own beard. He said “I haven’t shaved since my best friend died so i am never ever going to shave again.”

So yeah, I take that to mean “F getting a job!” Because he won’t be hired with that unruly, unkempt beard. Really, it just looks bad. You can have a big beard and still take care of it. He doesn’t.

Also, he contacted one of the guys who is supposed to be jamming with the band tomorrow (a new guy) and asked “Hey, do you have weed? Can you bring weed?”. He has no money! He’s assuming that someone will buy some for him. Well, it won’t happen. My boyfriend doesn’t want to.

My boyfriend is going to talk to him again about money tomorrow. We’ll see how that goes. I asked my boyfriend if he wants to have Mooch over and he said probably not. I think he’s worried.

seekingwolf's avatar

UPDATE:

Mooch is a lot better, but not 100% there yet. He still is very much an addict, but he got an almost-full-time job through family and it keeps him busy and gets the money in. My boyfriend and his band got a big new space and now they all contribute each month equally, something like $60 each, which is great.

Mooch has been paying his way but when he is hard-up for money, I know he does some sketchy things for it, if you get my drift. I have been encouraging him to wean himself off of the drugs. I think if his life gets better, he will use them less. He definitely used them less when he had a girlfriend.

oh well, that’s the update!

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