Several years ago, an acquaintance asked for financial help towards a fitness course she wanted to take.
I wasn’t comfortable just handing over money, so I asked her to paint my child’s second-hand dresser in exchange. I wrote her a cheque for $300.
Six years later, she’s called out of the blue and said she’d found my cheque from years before and realizes she’d never cashed it.
I believe her because she’s always been pretty flaky, but I’m embarrassed for her and believe it’s inappropriate that she’s asked me to write another cheque.
Also, a friend of mine told me years ago, that she’d been asked for money from this same person, for some other reason.
I recently moved, am looking for a job, and don’t have easy money to hand out. Yet I feel that since she did do the “work” for that cheque, I owe her something.
Second Time Borrower
In close second place for ruining friendships (following someone going after your lover) is “borrowed” money.
Be prepared to lose the friendship.
You hardly see her anyway, and though you say you believe her about the lost cheque, you still describe her coming back for more money as “inappropriate.”
But this decision is more about you than her. You obviously feel some compassion for her and want to do what feels comfortable for you.
You could inquire from your bank if she truly never cashed the cheque. Or, you could ask her to return the old one before you give her another.
Both those actions would likely stop her returning to the well a third time. But they could also humiliate her.
Or, you could give her half as much this time (explaining, if you wish, that you currently have no job).
This time, ask for nothing in return, unless she makes the offer of another small helpful task, for her pride’s sake.
FEEDBACK Regarding the menopausal woman, 41, who has no interest in sex and whose husband wants permission to get it elsewhere (April 22):
Reader – “I disagree that her husband is looking for the way out. In my opinion, he’s looking to meet his physical/hormonal needs since his wife refuses sex with him. He plans to stay with her and their children.
“The wiser decision on her part would be to grant him a “hall pass,” with rules around her health (if she still plans to have some forms of intimacy with him), and her privacy.
“This will then put his behaviour to a test - whether he still throws angry outbursts at her or he becomes a helpful, affectionate, and reliable partner.”
Ellie – In this case, the “hall pass” is almost inevitably a foot out the door since it seems that her “rejection” of him and his blow-ups have become the mainstay of their emotional relationship, rather than a direct result of her lowered libido.
But both are equally to blame. She’s cold to him; he’s mean in return. He says he’s lost feelings for her; she’s questioning whether she loves him.
He likely wants to stay married while having sex elsewhere, to keep the family intact. But their children are repeatedly being exposed to his explosive rants and the coldness between their parents.
It’s time for a decision about their ability/willingness to try and work it out. If not, he can seek lots of sex if he chooses, once they’re apart.
FEEDBACK Regarding the young wife who has frequent, smelly flatulence at home, in the car, etc. which she finds amusing. She won’t see a doctor for a medical check-up despite her husband’s discomfort with it, and urgings that she do so (April 3):
Reader – “I was living with someone who, after a time, when he expelled gas, he could clear a room.
“As a heavy-duty mechanic at work with a small group of guys, he would think this quite funny.
“It turns out that he had advanced-stage colon cancer at the time, which was later discovered on a routine medical check. He'd had no other symptoms of his disease than the foul-smelling flatulence.”
Ellie – The column including this question about flatulence, attracted many online and print readers that day. That’s why I’m still publishing feedbacks related to the health warnings it has sparked.
Excessive stomach gas is NOT a joke. Check it out.
Tip of the day:
Shakespeare knew it long ago: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be; / For loan oft loses both itself and friend.” (Polonius, in Hamlet).