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Mimishu1995's avatar

How can I refuse to "help" my friend without sounding like an asshole (looooong details inside)

Asked by Mimishu1995 (16859points) 3 weeks ago

A bit background: I have a friend who is really fun to be around. But one of her flaws is her compulsive spending habit. Each month she would spend almost all of her money on things she can’t really explain why they’re necessary and would sometimes complain of being “poor”, although she works much more than me and I’m sure the money she earns is enormous. I know she has to pay the bills and stuff, but the speed of how her money drains out each month just bugs me.

Now the story: some time ago she talked to me and another friend about this mobile app that helps you pay for things from far away. I’d heard about that app long before but I never intended to download because I didn’t need it at all. And I knew the only reason why she brought that app up was because once I downloaded the app, she would be given $43 in her account, an award for inviting a friend to the app. I just said “let me think about it” and we quickly forgot about the app.

Cut to this morning. I received a message from her. She asked me to download the app again because she was in dire need for $43 to buy some books. Now that message put me into a weird situation. I want to help my friend, but I don’t want to download that app just to give her emergency money. Beside, $43 is a small sum of money in the long run and she could quickly spend it impulsively, and the last thing I want to do is to enable her spending habit. But I don’t want to sound like an asshole who turns her back from a friend in need.

I still haven’t replied to her message. What should I say to her?

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30 Answers

RedDeerGuy1's avatar

I would refer her to Money Mentors or what is equlivant in your country.

elbanditoroso's avatar

You can’t help her unless she wants to be helped. She doesn’t think there is even a problem. Not much you can do until she understands there is an issue to solve.

jca2's avatar

I would tell her you’re not able to download it because your phone is having problems.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Depends how good a friend she is. I’d give her cash and tell her to get herself together, then a hug.

chyna's avatar

“I’m sorry, I don’t need or want the app.”

gorillapaws's avatar

I’d tell her you checked out the app and you’re not interested.

snowberry's avatar

First, your friend isn’t truly in need. But she’s got a severe case of wants and gotta haves. That’s not the same thing.

I’d go with whatever negative answer seems to fit for you.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Do you need and are you going to use the app ? If the answer that question is no; the answer to her should be, “I will not use the app and don’t need the app.”

LadyMarissa's avatar

Let’s look at this from a different perspective…

WHO is being the asshole here??? I think SHE is!!! She can’t or doesn’t live within her means & she’s EXPECTING you to assist her in making ends meet. I’d simply tell her that I’ve determined that it’s not an app that I’m interested in placing on my phone so I must decline her offer & request that she offer it to another friend. IF this pisses her off, you will be blessed!!! She doesn’t give a rat’s ass about your needs or what happens to you or your phone. This app could easily come with all kinds of viruses or malware that could possibly overtake your phone. YOU are her friend…SHE is NOT your friend & I’d treat this situation as such!!! JUST SAY NO!!!

JLeslie's avatar

If you don’t want the app I’d say, “I don’t want the app.”

If you don’t mind having the app, why not just go ahead and download it. It’s not really your job to curtail her spending. I want my friends to download an app for one of the restaurants here so I can get 35 points and I also think it’s a great app, and they get a free appetizer or piece of cake. I don’t have a problem with too much spending. I only get the points if they actually buy something at the restaurant though, so I can’t have all you jellies help me. Unless, you’re a Florida jelly.

A friend of mine wants me to open a bank account for $100 and then I get a bonus of $50, and so does he. That’s a great deal, I haven’t done it yet. That one I should probably ask jellies to do. I assume it’s against fluther rules.

If it were my friend I might comment to her that I think her spending is out of control out of concern aside from this app thing. The friend might not appreciate the comment, but I still might do it. I’m always conflicted in situations like that.

LuckyGuy's avatar

You can tell her the app requests too many permissions (your contacts, memory, access to files, etc.) and you do not add unnecessary apps on your phone.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Really good. That’s probably better than my simple, “I don’t want the app.”

I tend to not feel compelled to explain myself, but that is true that I don’t like putting extra apps on my phone because of privacy issues. I have a real trust problem with all of the internet and app stuff.

SEKA's avatar

I don’t understand your loyalty to her. Just say you’re not interested in that particular app

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

Don’t make up a reason and lie to her. Tell her simply you don’t want the app.

Mastema2's avatar

Pardon my saying so miss but, your friend is the one sounding like an asshole. Do what you need to do without regard to her feelings. It is apparent she doesn’t care much for yours.

Inspired_2write's avatar

This sure sounds like a scam artist trying to get her “friends” to succumb to these apps.
Sound that she is determined to “get” what “SHE” wants from anybody including her friends?
Just say “NO” and no reason has to be given to her otherwise it will give her more reason to argue with her until you give in.
The reason why she spends too much? She is trying to fill an empty void in her life and she probably thinks that spending will fill it?
That is her problem NOT YOURS, so don’t get into a discussion with it with her.
Time to get better friends, as this one is manipulative.

raum's avatar

Agree with @LuckyGuy ‘s answer. I don’t like downloading apps that require access to a lot of personal information. Much less an app that I don’t even plan on using.

I’d much rather give her $43 in cash as @KNOWITALL suggested.

But then there is the issue of enabling. Except I don’t think I know enough to make that call.

Sounds like an uncomfortable situation either way. Hope it works out.

flutherother's avatar

I think you should help your friend by not encouraging or enabling her foolishness. I would tell her you don’t want to download the app as you don’t want to get into debt. (As she seems to have done)

Kardamom's avatar

Tell her that you don’t want to download any apps, because you won’t use it, then offer to loan her the money.

She probably won’t repay the money, so don’t hold that against her, just be prepared.

Then, if she asks you later to “loan” her more money, remind her that she never repaid you for the first loan. And don’t lend her any more money.

You are in a delicate situation, because even though you know she has a spending problem, she has not yet asked you to help her solve that problem. If and when she does, then you can gently make some suggestions on how she can better control her money by budgeting, putting alerts on her phone, and account, or whatever else might help, until then, unless you are willing to get into a potential ugly fight with her, just say no to the app.

Gideon2017's avatar

Saying No is an essential skill in social life, we are not superheros after all.
And when you put “beside” ahead of a sentence, maybe you can use the word of “besides” to be a supply of what you said next. “Impulsive” to notice such details for being an English teacher once.

Mimishu1995's avatar

Thanks you @everyone. She has not got back to me since this question. I have come to know her as a very short-sighted person who only often does things out of impulse, and this looks like another instance when she just forgets what she set out to do. I won’t mention anything about the app again until she brings it up once more.

I want to clarify some details here: yes I can just say “I don’t want the app”, but when she first mentioned it she gave me a long essay of good things about the app, like how I could pay my bills with it. And the app is made by a famous company so she had a good reason to trust it but just because it is made by a famous company doesn’t mean I trust it. I don’t want apps that ask me to put in my bank account number into it. And I only deducted that she wanted $43 from my past observation, I don’t think her other friend knew would think like that. So if I just said no plainly, I would come off as negative and judgmental, especially when she doesn’t see her spending habit as a problem.

So yeah, I guess this question was asked because I was frustrated with her spending habit. I don’t want to judge people too much, but I just can’t unsee some things.

JLeslie's avatar

@Mimishu1995 Just curious, besides her compulsive spending, is she always trying to get you to do things? Or, is this a rare occasion?

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie she rarely asks me to do things, at least not money-related things. This is one of the rare occasions when she asks me for some money. I have never lent her money because either she would quickly forget what she asked or something unexpected happens and the plan is cancelled.

So I’m very aware that my frustration may be one-sided. I have heard things about her mom not approving of her spending so she bought things secretly, and even her sister can attest to that. But most of the time they are rather tolerant of her, like “yeah, Jenny doesn’t know how to manage money. But no one’s perfect you know?” And then again she has never caused me any harm because of her spending. I’m just annoyed that she isn’t making as much as she should with the amount of work she does and her problem is completely under her control. You know, just a concern you have for someone you care about.

And I asked this question because this is the first time her spending directly affects me. But if she forgets about it I would be fine.

JLeslie's avatar

@mimishu1995 I wasn’t thinking she constantly asks you to do things regarding her spending, I just was wondering in general, like telling you about things or events you would like and pushing you to do what she thinks you should do to have fun or to help you. It doesn’t sound like that’s the case.

Don’t get the app if you don’t want it. Make it about you—you don’t want the app.

It sounds like she really has a si ending problem. She’ll have to get in a bind to address it most likely. It’s better she screw up sooner rather than later.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@JLeslie this may sound cruel, but at this point I actually agree that she needs a crisis as fast as possible if she ever wants to change. I did bring the unnecessary things up to point out to her how her spending habit is impulsive, but she would quickly go on denial mode and state vague reasons for her choices. I once asked her why she felt the need to buy some random lipstick from FB when she already had a collection of unused lipsticks, and she was like “but they said this one is good for your health! And I like it so why anything matters?” So I figure she doesn’t want to acknowledge her problem at all. Life will show her the lesson.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Mimi The lipstick scenario really says it all. You friend has a problem.

To me, as a friend, you just be brutally honest, Gurl, you need to get on a budget and do not make your problems my problems. I cant tell you how many girlfriends I’ve confronted with their issues from sleeping around, drunk driving, drugs, etc… Sometimes being a good friend is loving them enough to have uncomfortable conversations. Imo.

gorillapaws's avatar

@KNOWITALL “Sometimes being a good friend is loving them enough to have uncomfortable conversations. Imo.”

Really excellent advice.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@gorillapaws Thanks, probably part of the reason I’ll be single again in a few months.
Some people just can’t face the truth, and really don’t like to hear it…lol

SEKA's avatar

Good friends don’t make excuses. They tell you straight up. I’m not impressed with that app and I don’t feel comfortable using it. Definitely drop it until she brings it up again. Then simply tell her you aren’t going to use it and it’s not open for debate.

Life will fix her problem. Just don’t enable her until then. If the bottom falls out, let it and then be there to help her put her life back together again. Just never lend her any money

Lonelyheart807's avatar

I’m suspicious of the app already. What is the company up to that they’re giving people $43 every time someone downloads the app from their link?

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