Remember back in high school, when you used to hang out with the girl who would be all smiles and laughter and then ditch you as soon as a cute guy walked past? Or when your mate seemed to be more interested in your developed collection of Xbox games than your company when he came to your place on the weekend? We’ve all had those friendships when, years down the track, you wonder at your own idiocy and gullibility.
It’s probably one of the harder life lessons to learn- that some people just shouldn’t be included in your Christmas card list. Here are a couple of signs that it’s time to lose friends and alienate people if you want to continue on your path to financial well-being.
They borrow money incessantly
We’ve all been skint at one point or another, and someone has shouted us a beer or lunch or a bed for a couple of weeks. That’s one thing. Usually, the natural response is to buy them a gratitude beer when you’re back in the black. There are some people, however, that don’t quite function off those rules. It can range from the trivial (constantly coming out without any money and letting other people pay) through to the substantial (being unable to cover rent/ mortgage repayment/ credit card).
Sometimes it’s just a bad patch. But if you have friends that you are covering for all the time without any hope of repayment, you’ll start to see the effect on your finances. First step is to stop paying for them, and explain politely why. After that, their position on your Christmas card list is your decision,
They like your things
I’m not talking about sticky fingers, I’m talking about the friends who appear more interested in what you own that what you have to say. The nice apartment they can show off to their friends, a boat, the car they always want to borrow. We should all have learnt the lesson in the primary school playground, but if they’re all about your possessions, it may be time to move on from that acquaintance.
No one likes being used, and while it may not have any numerical effect on your savings, it’ll do nothing for your self-esteem.
There’s lots of people throughout our lives that we guarantee or referee for, and it all works out for the best. Over a lifetime, you come across many people you would love to recommend as a tenant, employee or recipient of financial grant. While a natural trust in people should never be abandoned, it is important to think twice when you’ve been asked to act as a guarantor, especially if you need to put up money to fulfil the role. Don’t shy away from asking hard questions- after all, you’ve been asked to put yourself on the line and you would be naïve to not investigate it all fully.
Getting involved in your friends debts is a quick way to compromise your finances and your friendship, so think about it seriously before you take that step.
Sadly, it’s not as uncommon as you think. At the moment, I’m working at a place that has dismissed a couple of staff members because of hands in the till. Or you hear stories of people being invited to stay, only to leave pronto with a fair amount of your stuff. Don’t fall for it, and don’t shy away from telling someone should it happen.