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Friends with bad benefits, when do you cut them out of your life?

Updated on October 29, 2015

Is your friend really who you think they are?

You have to ask yourself, is your friend really who you think they are? In 2010, I lived with one of my girlfriends, someone I had known for 11 years. It wasn't too far into our roommate transition that she started asking for money, mainly for the utility bills. I paid the rent and she was going to pay the utilities because she was unemployed at the time, I didn't mind helping out. After all, we were friends for so long how could I not help? However, the electric/gas/misc bill was always the same amount, every month 260.00 seemed to be the magic number. Rather than offering to pay them online I opted to give her cash, very stupid on my account. I was making it really easy for her to take advantage of me. After a couple of months it became routine that the 3 different bills we had were always 260.00, regardless of which utility company needed payment. I don't know about you, but my bills are never the same amount all of the time, though it would be nice.

This went on for a couple of months until she was leaving for vacation and asked for the utilities money, this time stressing that she needed the money the day before she left. This is when I knew she was using my money for herself, probably paying the bare minimum on the bills.

It all became clear after I asked for the login information for the utility online payments. She delayed responding to my question, eventually gave me a login that didn't work. When I finally did get the login, I found out that not only were the bills not 260.00 but she had only been making partial payments, was she really stealing from me? What else didn't I know about?

The money trail

I finally confronted her about the shorted payments and why she wasn't giving me the rest of my cash back, she obviously wasn't using it for our bills. First, she denied any wrong doing and insisted that there was an issue with the utility website, she swore the amount was paid in full but somehow she must've made a mistake. I'm not sure if she thought she was fooling me or just fooling herself. I pushed the issue and she finally admitted she was using my money for her other bills, bills that had nothing to do with our apartment! Her car, her credit card bills. Nice.
Thank you for using the Bank of Roomates, have a nice day and please come again.

She didn't seem to think anything was wrong with this and that I was overreacting. I fired back that if it was the other way around she would feel differently. All she needed to do was ask or tell me she was in a bind moneywise and I would've given her the cash, I probably wouldn't have even asked for it back. She still seemed to think it was a misunderstanding and I was being the difficult one. Who likes being lied to? It became too awkward and I decided to move out. Needless to say, we haven't spoken since.

Should you ever live with friends?

I couldn't help but hear that saying in my head, "never live with friends". Would we still be friends if we hadn't lived together? I think so. Even though she had her quirks, I met her when i was 21 years old, we had gone through a lot together and had so many good times. We had even had a discussion before moving in that we didn't want anything to ruin our friendship and that we knew we were good enough friends to not let that happen. So much for that.

Most of the friends I know that have lived together without incident are men. I'm not being sexist or bias but I do feel there is a different dynamic in male friendships than there are with females and they're more forgiving of issues that may arise.

Do you think men can maintain better friendships than women?

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The friend that disappears

We all become busy with different phases of our lives, you might not text or go out as often as you would like but you're still there for them. Are they there for you?

Here I am,, 4 years later with another friendship ending, My best friend of 25 years started pulling the disappearing act on our friendship. We had our usual trip to the mall and things seemed fine, a month or so after she became more and more distant through her texts and it became more common to get no response at all. How busy can you be that you can't even shoot a text back? Attempts at making plans were always met with an "I'm busy" or some other lame excuse of why she was busy for 3 days straight, 3 weeks in a row. At first, I just figured she was busy with her life as a mom but eventually it got more noticeable that something was off. How do you go from talking everyday to no response at all?

Sing it Dionne Warwick

You most likely have a friend you consider more of a sister/brother to you. My friend and I had very similar personalities and always joked that we were twins separated at birth. We were the best of friends through high school and afterwards. I gave her a place to crash when her boyfriend broke up with her suddenly and in more recent years I was an alibi for her when she was having marital issues and had to have a believable excuse to go out. Most of us will do anything for a true friend even if we don't agree with what they're doing, you support your friend. The 1985 "That's what Friends are for" plays in my head.

I never got an exact answer from her when I asked what was wrong, Did I do or say something that didn't sit well with her? This same friend had no issues sending nasty texts and emails to her in laws when they did something that made her upset, why was I being shut out after 25 years? If we had gone a couple days without texting one of us would shoot an "are you ok?" text so clearly something was up.

How would you feel if a friend did this to you?

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Silence is golden

At this point I started to care less as to the reason for the silence and just became angry and hurt by my friend, I had been a good friend and deserved an explanation. Any attempt I made at asking what was wrong was always met with "nothing is wrong, I'm just busy". Christmas 2014 came and went with not saying Merry Christmas to each other and the same held true for New Year's. On New Year's eve my paternal grandmother passed away and the only condolences I received from her was a measly comment on my Facebook post "sorry about your gram". Really? When your friend is going through a difficult time or loss of a loved one you reach out to them, check to see if they need anything and how they're holding up. In my opinion, Facebook sympathy comments are for friends you don't speak to on a regular basis or the generic but appreciated comment "if you need anything at all" etc.

Breaking ties

Some people might have issue breaking ties with longtime friends, for me it was black and white. I'd rather be friendless than have 2 friends that lie to me and never make an effort. You have to ask yourself, do you really need them in your life? Don't get me wrong, there have been times when I know my former friends would've just "got" what I was going through or something comes up that I would've only shared with my friends and have a good laugh. It's only natural to miss that.

I've learned the hard way that people change and sometimes you don't always change with them. Knowing somebody for a long time doesn't mean you really know them as well as you think you do. As much as it bothered me, I knew I did everything I could on my end to keep both friendships. People come in and out of your life for a reason, the trick is to recognize when it's time for them to make their exit and for you to break ties.

You will know in your gut and heart when it is time to say Adios Muchacho, though it may hurt to lose a friend keeping a bad friend is similar to staying in a bad relationship. Time that you can't get back is wasted and feelings are hurt, sometimes beyond repair. Why not close one friendship door to make room for another one to open? You'll feel better in the long run and save yourself the agony of having a fake friend.


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