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Friend Sends E-Mail Asking for Money


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I just received an e-mail from a long-time friend asking me for money. We met in the 1970's and immediately became close friends. But, about 20 years ago he moved to the East Coast with his partner (now husband). I stayed on the West Coast and have only had e-mail or phone communication with him since that time.

 

His husband has gone thru some serious medical issues lately and was unable to work for several weeks. He's now back at work. But, my friend has his own medical issues and has been unable to work for at least 5 years. In the e-mail, my friend asked if I could send $200 to help with expenses. I do know about 3 months ago he did a "go fund me" request to help pay for fixing his AC. No I didn't contribute.

 

I'm not a rich guy and have some significant expenses myself. I'm currently living in a small apartment in San Diego but do own a condo in Portland and a home in Utah. Neither the home or the condo are rented (long story) so I have no income from them and all the expenses for upkeep, utilities, taxes, etc. In addition, I was hospitalized last November and am still paying those medical expenses which have not been covered by insurance.

 

How would you guys respond to this request? I could probably send $200 and find places to cutback on my current expenses to cover the cost. But, I'm afraid of setting a precedence and opening the door for future requests. I'm also afraid that I'll regret sending the money when he posts about his latest shopping spree on Facebook. (He does have a tendency to go to dinner and splurge on gifts for his boyfriend. Yes, in addition to a husband this guy in his late 50's has a boyfriend who isn't yet 30 years old).

 

So, any suggestions on how to respond?

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Just be honest: you are pretty stretched yourself and can't help. Maybe (if you feel like it) you could ask if there is any other way you can support/help other than monetarily. I also prefer to deliver a "no" in person/phone. I feel email is too easy and impersonal for a friend. Not sure if you can do that, but by saying it by phone, you could also give him an opportunity to open up and give him some emotional support - as long as he doesn't abuse such support. Good luck!

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Just be honest: you are pretty stretched yourself and can't help. Maybe (if you feel like it) you could ask if there is any other way you can support/help other than monetarily. I also prefer to deliver a "no" in person/phone. I feel email is too easy and impersonal for a friend. Not sure if you can do that, but by saying it by phone, you could also give him an opportunity to open up and give him some emotional support - as long as he doesn't abuse such support. Good luck!

 

i couldn't have said it better than what Truereview is suggesting.

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I'm going to be the contrarion here. Only because I personally find guilt to be the most destructive emotion in my life. It eats at me no matter what I do or say to myself, so I often do things just to avoid future guilty feelings. I know it's not ideal and that many people are able to live their life guilt free, but I'm not one of them.

 

If I were in your situation I would have to do a gut check and try to determine how I'm going to feel when it is said and done. If it was going to leave me wracked with guilt, I would find the money and live with possible resentment.

 

But that's just me and I know I can be a weak SOB

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I'm going to be the contrarion here. Only because I personally find guilt to be the most destructive emotion in my life. It eats at me no matter what I do or say to myself, so I often do things just to avoid future guilty feelings. I know it's not ideal and that many people are able to live their life guilt free, but I'm not one of them.

 

If I were in your situation I would have to do a gut check and try to determine how I'm going to feel when it is said and done. If it was going to leave me wracked with guilt, I would find the money and live with possible resentment.

 

But that's just me and I know I can be a weak SOB

 

Boy, you hit the nail on the head. My life is full of guilt-related issues. And, the rational part of me avoids situations where I'll feel guilt. And, there was another comment in his e-mail that I now feel was intentionally meant to push my guilt button.

 

I'm not going to immediately respond and will think about it over night. But, the guilt factor is certainly something to consider. And, I really like the suggestion to respond by phone rather than e-mail. Way too impersonal not to pick up the phone and call.

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Tel him you're sorry, you just can't afford to help right now.

 

Maybe he could start a part time job called Uber and make that money in few days.

 

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02936/uber-app-cab_2936677b.jpg

 

one more thing this ain't a loan but a donation, but in any case let's remember this:

 

33b96bba187197aaa83986945eab82fb.jpg

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Maybe he could start a part time job called Uber and make that money in few days.

 

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02936/uber-app-cab_2936677b.jpg

 

one more thing this ain't a loan but a donation, but in any case let's remember this:

 

33b96bba187197aaa83986945eab82fb.jpg

Very wise word by Franklin!!

 

Also like the suggestion of Uber. I have another friend that started doing that and has fantastic results. Perhaps suggestions or recommendations to friend would be more valuable than cash.

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I had a similar situation with a longstanding friend who was having some financial issues. It's a long story as to the cause of of his problems but suffice it to say he had made some poor life choices for a while. My friend asked me for some financial assistance at the very time I was providing financial support to my 80 year old aunt. Her husband had just died and there were challenges related to settling the estate.

 

Any other time and I could have very well been of some assistance. But timing and circumstances were not amenable. I explained why it was not possible for me to help him out, family obligations obviously had to take precedence. My friend didn't take this very well. There were recriminations and all kinds of attitude, he felt entitled based on all our years of friendship. He tried to lay a heavy guilt trip on me.

 

We have not been in contact or spoken to each other in over seven years. Our friendship was destroyed by a petty issue related to money. I learned some hard lessons from the experience that's for sure.

 

My suggestion here would be not to place yourself in a financial bind to help a friend unless you have the wherewithal to absorb the impact. It takes a lot of courage and nerve to ask friends and family for money. Your friend is obviously under a lot of pressure and looking for every way out he can find.

 

Ask yourself if providing this money is actually going to help him out or perpetuate his behavior related to managing his finances. If you choose not to help just be forthcoming about your own tight financial situation. If he can't accept your reasoning then be prepared for any negative fallout. If he reacts badly and cuts you out of his life over this then maybe he just wasn't as close a friend as you thought.

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So, any suggestions on how to respond?

 

Are you absolutely certain your friend sent the request? This actually a pretty common email scam (and it may indicate your PC is virus infected and should be fumigated).

 

Is the request something that your long-time friend might logically make? Have you asked if the request actually came from him?

 

You might be dealing with the latest incarnation of a Nigerian prince trying to send you money.

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Until I saw the part about your friend having a tendency to splurge, I completely agreed with MikeyGMin's advice. Come to think of it, I still do - but in a different way. Consider how guilty you might feel if you don't give your friend the money. Then, consider whether you will feel taken advantage of if you do give him the money. Compare the two scenarios and see which one makes you feel worse.

 

If I was in the situation you described (multiple residences and the associated expenses, etc) I would not give the friend the money and I would explain that I could not afford to do so.

 

Regarding an email vs phone reply, I would reply via the same method he used when asking for the money.

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If you send the money, do not consider it a "loan" as I doubt you will be repaid.

 

Imagine you send the money and then on Facebook see him do something you consider a "splurge." The "splurge" could be a night out on the town or a gift for the boy friend. Then you will feel like a sucker. Your choice of poison is guilt if you do not send the money or feeling like a sucker when you see it spent on a "splurge."

 

At least with the guilt feelings, you still have your $200.

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Very wise word by Franklin!!

 

Also like the suggestion of Uber. I have another friend that started doing that and has fantastic results. Perhaps suggestions or recommendations to friend would be more valuable than cash.

 

http://arraytheday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/1120-teach-a-man-to-fish.jpg

 

Are you absolutely certain your friend sent the request? This actually a pretty common email scam (and it may indicate your PC is virus infected and should be fumigated).

 

Is the request something that your long-time friend might logically make? Have you asked if the request actually came from him?

 

You might be dealing with the latest incarnation of a Nigerian prince trying to send you money.

 

http://i3.ytimg.com/vi/_153ONYt4Ig/mqdefault.jpg

 

http://abovethelaw.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/funny-picture-sad-prince-of-nigeria-no-one-takes-his-emails-seriously-555x487-300x263.jpg

 

http://www.dolmanbateman.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/nigeria.jpg

 

http://cdn.makeuseof.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/muo-nigerianemail-example.jpg?26523c

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(He does have a tendency to go to dinner and splurge on gifts for his boyfriend. Yes, in addition to a husband this guy in his late 50's has a boyfriend who isn't yet 30 years old).

 

Enough said ... don't send the money. And if you feel comfortable about it explain why.

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Why did he contact you? How many other of his friends got this request? 2? 10? 20? You haven't communicated for 20 years!? I think asking for the modest amount of $200 is suspicious. How much help is $200? But 20 or 50 donations of $200 can really add up. Emails are cheap; send out 100 and let generosity or guilt do the work. Just saying.

I do agree guilt is a corrosive emotion. Perhaps you do this on a one-tme basis. I don't envy your position, a good guy in a difficult dilemma. Make a decision and then try to forget about it.

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Remember that this is a "gift" There should be no expectation of repayment, and you can't even write it off on your taxes. As others wisely pointed out you may be part of a email list which could potentially net your friend a sizable donation to his plight.

I wouldn't do it. Much like you, we all have other financial responsibilities. If this guy has a spending problem and likes to splurge, then so be it. You should not feel guilty at all. A quick reply that says "I'm sorry I cannot contribute due to my own financial commitments." should sufficient and send a message that your generosity is off-limits.

Good luck. Tell your friend to reach out to local charities in his area for help. I also question the use of the term "friend." Former acquaintance is a more apt term.

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Are you absolutely certain your friend sent the request? This actually a pretty common email scam (and it may indicate your PC is virus infected and should be fumigated).

 

Is the request something that your long-time friend might logically make? Have you asked if the request actually came from him?

 

You might be dealing with the latest incarnation of a Nigerian prince trying to send you money.

Totally agree. My Dad got taken in by this scam, ostensibly sent by his daughter's cousin-in-law, "stranded in Europe", who knows him just very casually.

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