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For some of us, it’s difficult to turn down a friend in need. Times are hard, and we all know the struggle is real, so it doesn’t hurt to lend a few bucks to those who are feeling the pain. However, there are those friends—or family members, ESPECIALLY family members—who, every time you turn around, just so happen to have their hand out, begging for a dollar. When it’s time to pay you back though, they come up with the excuse of a new bill they have to pay, saving their money for gas, or more bull, on top of more bull, on top of more bull. You can just about hear the violins playing and see the acting credits rolling when they get to tugging at your heart’s strings with their sob stories. For all you softies out there, you fall for it every time. That’s why they do it, but here’s how you fix the problem…

STOP GIVING THEM MONEY!!!! It can be a hard thing to do. Those little schemers come around with their sad face on, singing the blues and making it feel like they’ve just lost their favorite pet. But you have to learn to stop being an enabler—yes, when it’s a constant thing, you are assisting your friend in taking the easy way out instead of helping them to create a better financial environment (and plan) for themselves. Especially if you know they’re blowing bill money on trivial things, and using cash from you as a fall-back plan. But even worse than that, you’re just being plain ‘ol stupid.

This is probably not the first time your friend has asked for a loan then avoided you and given you lame excuses for why they can’t pay you back; yet they’re partying every weekend, buying the whole club drinks at the bar, or decked out in a brand new outfit with a fresh pair of Jays every time you see them. Do yourself a favor and just count it (and possibly them) as a loss. That’s right, don’t even worry about it. (Unless, of course, it’s a HUGE sum of money, then you might want to take them to court, “friend” or not). In actuality, it’ll be more of a loss for them because they’ll need you again, but just make sure you give them those same heart-wrenching lines the next time they come around with their hands out.

On the flip side, if you know this friend is really going through it and it’s not because they’re addicted to $500 shoes, just tell them to pay you back whenever they can. Give them time. When everything’s sorted out and they’re back on their feet, I’m sure they’ll pay their dues, plus interest, mainly if they’re a real friend. So again, don’t sweat it. Just make sure you can distinguish between a slick and sly vulture trying to jip you for a little piece of change, and a person who’s really in need and willing to pay you back. This way, you’ll know who to trust with your finances in the future, and you’ll learn to stop being the sucker with the never-closing piggy bank!

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