Mum feels ‘extremely guilty’ after ignoring ‘user’ friend’s repeated hints for money

A mum feels “extremely guilty” after resorting to ignoring her friend after lending her £500, only for her to keep “hinting” at needing even more.

Lending money among friends can be a risky affair, with the desire to help someone in need sometimes marred by feeling awkward and uncomfortable, or a shift in the power dynamics of the relationship once money has been exchanged. Though this isn’t always the case and many friends are thankful for those who can help them during trying times, one mum is worried she’s lost a friend forever after coughing up some cash.

The mum’s friend revealed she was struggling with debt while they were on a night out several weeks ago, and expressed concern at only having £30 for her and her two young children to live on for a few weeks.

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The mum said, after having a few drinks, she “didn’t think about the logistics behind her being out” and settled their bill, while her husband gave the friend £100 to help her get through the week.

A few days later, the mum also lent her friend an additional £500 but told her she can wait until after Christmas to be paid back as she and her husband “are not struggling financially”. Since then, her friend has “hinted a couple of times” that she’s “really stressed” and “struggling mentally” over her debts and only needs a little more to be “out of the red”.

The mum has resorted to ignoring her friend as she feels she only contacts her as part of efforts to get her to lend more money to her. Now, she’s feeling “extremely guilty” and torn over the situation, and how best to move forward. She’s also worried she may have lost her friend forever.

Taking to Mumsnet’s popular Am I Being Unreasonable thread with a post titled “[AIBU] to ignore friend’s hints for money”, she explained what had happened and continued: “I have said that she shouldn’t be getting into more debt to clear others but she just keeps reiterating how hard it is so I’ve started ignoring her.

“I feel extremely guilty, but DH [dear husband] has said under no circumstances am I to give her any more money. He also doesn’t know it was £500 I lent her out of my savings, just that I lent money. I’m not working as I’m starting my own business, so DH is the only income we have so it is really up to him.

“To add, since I have been ignoring her hints she hasn’t really messaged much, whereas she would usually text me multiple times a day/call over for coffee etc. I think I could have lost a friend over this, and we are only in the area a few months. DH works a lot and I don’t want to be lonely, but then another part of me thinks that she knows this and is trying to take advantage of me.”

Parenting dilemmas

The mum’s post was met with more than 200 responses from fellow Mumsnet users, keen to share their thoughts. One said: “You’ve helped her enough but it sounds like she thinks you are easy targets now. I’d hate to think of friends like that but the more you do the more she will want. Signpost her to help?”

Another voted the mum was being unreasonable, and explained: “Yabu [you are being unreasonable] giving so much already”. A third said: “You’re not getting your £500 back. She is taking advantage.”

Another Mumsnet user commented: “I think you’ll be lucky to ever see that 500 again. She’s a user. Ditch and block.” And another said: “Well you haven’t lent her the money. You’ve given it to her. How would she ever be able to repay if she only had £30 to last a few weeks. Given that she’s your friend and has kids I’d probably just accept that this money has gone. But I’d also explain that I won’t be in a position to give her any more.”

One Mumsnet user, who also voted the mum was being unreasonable, said: “YABVVU to give so much money to someone you apparently barely know, behind your DH’s back. You’re basically begging to be taken advantage of at this point. Behave.” Another commented: “You’ve lost a friend? A greedy friend? You won’t get your money back. Don’t give anymore.”

And another added: “You sound incredibly kind and generous. (I wish you were my friend!) I think you’ve done more than enough to help her. She needs to contact Citizens Advice or a similar charity for assistance with managing her debts and creating a budget otherwise she’ll never dig herself out. She’s not your problem. Step away, you’ll make new friends.”

At the time of writing, 93% of Mumsnet users voted the mum was not being unreasonable to ignore her friend’s hints for more money.

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