My friend is seriously taking the piss.

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A month or so I got into a ridiculous drunken wrestling match with AN, a mate, and the glass face of my- quite expensive- watch got cracked and the dials stopped turning. My jacket was also slightly fucked up. He’s apologised and agreed to pay for the watch repair, but the price of the service is into 3 figures. And he’s already in debt to his ex girlfriend. To the tune of thousands.

I did not know he owed his ex. I also didn’t know that he had a serious problem with alcohol, as all his family apparently do according to said ex. Well. It is what it is. I’ve got problems of my own, so I’m not going to judge, but I still want my money back.

A straightforward issue, you’d think- even up to the people you owe the least to first (which is probably me), then pay back your larger debts later. So why is it that whenever I see AN, he’s pissed out of his face?

AN’s ex says it’s a comfort issue- he’s uncomfortable around people, which I find hard to believe. He’s not a pushover. He’s a pretty handy guy; a former doorman (although during that wrestling match I still tapped him out). His ex is a good-looking girl and he’s a bit of a party animal (or he would be if he wasn’t broke). So why does he HAVE to drink?

Another possibility- his ex says his whole family are heavy drinkers. Socialising and alcohol must go hand in hand for him, even when there are other people at the party- like myself- who aren’t drinking at all.

Fair enough, he’s got a problem, but it’s still offensive to see him smashed when he owes me money. At a recent barbecue he was pissed when I first arrived. Within moments he was asking to borrow money. I reminded him he already owed me for my watch, much to his dismay. This will take a while to extract.

What makes matters worse is that he’s now texting me inviting me out for “non-alcoholic beverages”. I’ve texted back, basically saying he should pay me back before spending more money at all- especially with me.

I really want to stay friends with AN as we’ve got loads in common and we have a good laugh, but he’s digging a hole for himself. I’ve stopped inviting him out anywhere. I’m more than aware that people can bring you down if you let them off too much, so I’m performing a bit of a balancing act. Stay in touch, but keep distance until things- in theory- get better. He’s introduced me to a lot of people that I want to keep in touch with (most of whom also don’t have any money).

My advice is this- don’t lend money. It’s just not worth it. Be tough on your friends and it will pay off in the end. Don’t worry about falling out with them- if they’re taking the piss, they’re taking the piss. And from past experiences I can tell you that if they let you down once, they’ll let you down over and over again.

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