Miss Manners: My best friend always expects me to pay and asks me for money

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Dear Miss Manners: I have a 27-year-old best friend, and I’m starting to get mad at her. Every time I invite her to dinner or an event, she expects me to pay for everything. She went so far as to ask me for a loan, groceries, etc.

Being the nice person that I am, I will lend him money and buy him groceries, if I can. The problem is that she won’t pay me back. When I confront her, she gets very angry and tells me that she is not in a financial position to pay me back. She has a very good job and earns a lot of money. I am a single mother with only my income, which is not much. There was one time I asked her for gas money, and she went crazy. She said she was not helping anyone financially, then stopped talking to me.

She moved in with her sister, pays only $300 in rent, and supports her 27-year-old son financially — she pays his rent, car payment, insurance, food, etc.

I completely stopped helping him and I will not give in anymore. I don’t want to waste 27 years of friendship, but I don’t want to be her friend if all she’s going to do is ask for money. Please help me!

If friendship was defined by longevity (rather than, say, warmth, kindness, or common interests), we would all have more friends — not better off.

Miss Manners mentions this because none of the acts you describe suggest this is someone you should want to have a relationship with for 27 days, let alone 27 years.

If she is wrong, and that person has other endearing qualities, then repeated requests for money should be refused firmly, directly, and without hard feelings: “I’m sorry. I can’t lend you money for your groceries.

Dear Miss Manners: My daughter considered my response to a chattering office cleaner rude.

“D.” is a younger person who cleans our office. They have lunch regularly at the same time as me. I listened to this one-on-one chatter for half an hour non-stop, telling three different people about the salad they ate last week, or the setbacks they had with an objectionable roommate. I have seen this person continue to chatter even after a victim has walked away from the nonstop nonstop chatter.

The other day, D. asked me how I was and I said, “Good, thank you. I didn’t answer the question, because I needed to go back to work. My daughter thinks I should have asked how D. was doing, then walked away with an apology and a “I have to get back to work”.

Which of us has the most mannered answer?

let’s call them Polite answer B and polite answer A. Although Miss Manners finds no fault starting with B, it becomes even more faultless when A has already been judged by you – and abused by D.’s chatter about C, E, F and G.

New Miss Manners columns are published Monday to Saturday at washingtonpost.com/board. You can send questions to Miss Manners on her website, missmanners.com. You can also follow her @RealMissManners.

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