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How do you handle a mooch?

Ok, so one of my closest friends has recently become a moocher! I'm not sure if "moocher" is the word I'm looking for.

She is constantly asking for favors from me because I'm a teacher and am not working in the summer, so she naturally assumes I'd be happy to go pick her prescriptions while she's at work, stay at her house while someone fixes the washing machine, etc... Even this morning she called to ask if I'd drive her to work b/c it's raining and she doesn't like driving in the rain! (Since it was so early in the morning, I didn't answer because I KNEW it would be her calling for a favor and not just to chat.)

The past couple of weeks when she comes by, the first thing she does is go to the fridge to see what I have to eat or drink, and she will basically make herself a meal with whatever food I have. Half the time, I'm not sure if she's really coming over to chat or just because she's too cheap to go buy her own food!

 The problem is, she is a very dear friend and I really don't know how to tell her to stop this behavior without hurting her feelings. I'm so frustrated that I'm afraid if I confront her, I will end up biting her head off! Any advice on a *kind* way to let her know she's being too moochy? THANKS. :) 

Re: How do you handle a mooch?

  • Well, as far as asking you to go do stuff for her, you just need to say "no".  She can ask all she wants- it's on you to say "no".  She asks why not?  "I'm busy today".  She asks doing what.  "I have things planned for today and dont' have time.".

    If she doesn't get the hint or keeps pushing for "why not?", then maybe step up and just say "While I'm willing to help out in a true pinch, this is my summer vacation and I don't want to spend it running anyone's errands."

    As for coming over to your home and helping herself to your food- that's just odd.  Yes, at certain friends homes, I'll go and grab a soda from the fridge, or ask "Do you have any chips I can snack on?" - and I expect them to do the same at my home.  But to go and make a meal?

    You might need to be more upfront.  Either out and out say "Actually- I'd appreciate it if you'd ask before making yourself food.", and maybe even add to it "You sometimes use stuff that I' saving for dinner/lunch".  Or start telling her she can't use certain ingredients - "Oh- please don't use the turkey.  I have to make lunch from that the rest of the week." 

    The point, though, is that you need to start addressing this stuff as she does it.  That may keep you from biting her head off.

    "Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy."
    ~Benjamin Franklin

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  • First of all, stop taking her calls.  Allow the answering machine to pick up.  And if you do pick up - you can always say NO!  She calls YOU because you often say yes, and the rest of her friends say no.  If you start saying "no, that won't work for me" then she'll call another svcker.

    The next time she comes over to your house and makes a beeline for the fridge, tell her "Janice, have you been to the doctor lately?" and when she says no, why, say "well, I've notice that every time you come over, you go straight to my refrigerator and just start eating.  I'm thinking that you maybe have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) or one those wierd hoarding things."

    It calls attention to her actions without you actually saying she is RUDE, but also points out that her behavior is wierd.

    You can also stop inviting her over to your home.  Meet her out for dinner, or switch homes.  And if she "doesn't have money for the bill...can you cover it for me?" say "sorry, I don''t have enough for the two of us." and pull out exact change in cash (down to the DOLLAR).  Hand over your half to the waitress and say to your friend "I guess you'll just have to wash dishes!"

  • If she's a "dear friend", it should be absolutely no problem in you letting her know how you feel. She let's you know when she wants something from you. WTF - are you kidding me!?!  It's one thing to reach out to another friend for help - but sweetheart you have to figure what to do here. The word, "no" is one of the smallest words in the dictionary and the hardest to say.

  • Learn to say no. It's tough, but definitely necessary here. If she's a true friend, like you say, she will accept it.

    She is not entitled to your time. 

  • As this behavior is new I would start by asking her if there is anything going on that she needs to talk to someone about.  My last year in college I mooched of of my friends because I was totally broke.  I felt horrible about it, but was embarrassed to talk to most people about it.  Had someone come to me and asked about what I was going on (in a compassionate manner) I would have explained the situation and apologized profusely.   

    However, if you do not think this is the case then I think the only appropriate thing to do is to stop letting her mooch off of you.  If she asks you to run errands and you can't do it (or don't want to) tell her no.  If she walks into your house and goes straight to the fridge ask her what she is doing, or tell her that she can't have the food in there.  She takes advantage of you because you let her.

  • If she's a very close friend, handle it with delicacy. Say the whole "I'm sorry, I'm busy" when you need to or if you don't want to do it, but don't just say no to everything. Sometimes people legitimately need help. 

    Tell her when something is rediculous, like the driving in the rain thing. Make a little, gentle joke out of it so she can see it's dumb without getting her feelings super hurt.

    As for the food, if it's really an issue tell her so. Say you need to save money so you can't provide dinner. She may think you're such good friends you're like family. Just remind that you can't support her.

  • You stop her behavior by starting to say "No". The next time she heads straight to your fridge (I'm assuming without asking "Hey do you mind if I grab a drink/snack?"), you call her out on it--either by saying "Is there anything I can get you?" while closing the fridge door, or "What can I do for you?" or you just don't invite her into your home, tell her you're in the middle of something and can't entertain company at the moment or something.

    If she still doesn't get it, then you'll have to be blunt and start saying things like "No, I'm not your errand girl, if you want me to do that you'll have to pay me mileage and give me money for gas.". She'll stop then.

    DH had a friend who was like this when we were dating, she'd call and borrow his cargo van but never return it when she said she would. The last time she borrowed it, it was gone for almost 2 days--he called her and left a message on her voicemail that said "If the van isn't back by the time I leave for work on Sunday night, I'm reporting it stolen.". Miraculously, it showed up that night. She also tried badgering him into letting her borrow it one more time, even going so far as to say "I know H is at your place, call her and have her give me the keys.". He told her no and she never called him again.

  • Ok, this is up to you. If you are waiting for her to suddenly see the light and stop mooching, you're dreaming.

    1.    Ask her if she's ok financially; in the "I'm worried about you; you know I love you; but you've asked me for a lot of things lately and it's a lot. Is there something you need help with?Tell me what's really going on". If there is nothing, and it's my suspicion that it is nothing but her mooching habits, then tell her "Ok, then; I can't be lending out money/giving you rides/buying you dinner, we're kind of short ourselves".

    2. When she starts to get your leftovers, say "I'm sorry, that's part of our meal plan for the week; let me get you a peanut butter sandwich". Smile.

    3.  Make a joke out of her mooches, in a call out fashion. OMG! You want me to get up and drive in the rain to chauffeur YOU around in the rain???? Oh, sure, your highness! I'll just hop right on that! LOLOLOLOL NOT!

    if it hurts her feelings, laugh and say you didn't believe she was serious; and if she's really afraid to drive in the rain, she needs some remedial classes in driving and here, let's look up a driving school .

    Her behavior is not that of a loving friend; it's of a manipulative user. Are you really sure she's your friend? What has she done for YOU lately?

    SO SINGS MY SOUL *WHAM!* MY SAVIOR GOD TO THEE *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!* HOW GREAT THOU ART *WHAM!*
  • What happens when you just say no?

    She asks, you say no.  I don't get where the problem is. If you don't want her making a meal, why not just say -take the cheese but leave the cold cuts, I'm saving them for later.

    You are seething with anger and I'm not sure why.

    My darling daughter just turned 4 years old.
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