Friends Who Never Pay Their Own Tab
--- How To Change That

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July 10, 2018

By Susan Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist








We all know someone who manages to avoid paying their part
of a bill when you go out together. They go silent when the bill
arrives or they excuse themselves and hide out in the bathroom
or they continue talking while the  bill just sits on the table like
an unwanted and unadoptable orphan.  The degree of
creativity they bring to the whole choreography would be
funny were it not fro one thing: it cuts into your budget.

Let me cut to the chase.  To pay
your fair share of a bill is a
sign of your ethics. To pay for
my share of the bill occasionally
is a sign of generosity.

But to rarely or never pay for your own share of the bill, well,
that's just dishonesty. You are stealing. Worse yet, you are
stealing from a friend. You are a thief.



So, let's not sugar coat what is going on. Someone you call a
friend has decided to go out with you and to steal money from
your purse. They have decided to shift what should be their
responsibility to your shoulders. They are able t do this under
the guise of friendship, which keeps you in check. You,
therefore, never keep them in check.



Are These People Really Even Our Friends?



































I go back and forward on this issue. Are people who
manipulate a situation so that you are being taken advantage of
really
friends? I have decided that they are not.  At best, they
are dishonest friends and for me those two terms are mutually
exclusive. [Read more about the
qualities that make a person a
real friend.
]

Here is what I say to all those of you out there who are
students of the art of bill avoidance.

You cannot be a friend to someone whom you are trying to
trick.


If you are trying to trick someone, that makes them a mark,
and that makes you a con artist.


Bothered yet? Probably not. For somewhere inside you, you
have made a calculation that goes like this. I am entitled to
have them pay for my meal. My friend has more money than me
or my friend is less valuable than me(Why? Are they older, the
wrong sexual orientation, the wrong race, the wrong
schooling, background, what?)  so they should be happy that I
am spending my time with them in the first place.  


In other words, you bring your presence to the table and that's
your payment. They bring money to enjoy your company. That
makes you an escort, a paid escort, not a friend.



Moochers and Freeloaders Are Students of Your Behavior

Just try to always remember this. When you reach for a bill,
there is nothing "spontaneous" about it. You have been set up.


My evidence comes from the mouth of a self-confessed
moocher. Hannah Rilley wrote
an article in 2016 in which she
confessed to the tactics she uses to mooch off her friends.

Here is one of the most powerful -- plant the seed and wait for
someone to think they thought of the idea themselves:

"This might sound confusing at first, because isn't mooching
about getting what you want from people? Yes, it absolutely is,
but a successful, serial moocher knows to let people think it's
their idea. This works especially well with considerate people or
your friends. You can name drop some things that you like or
have never tried before to plant the seed. This is where
patience plays a big role. And then you wait for the other
person to remember your subtle suggestions and act on it. "



Did you hear that? Here are the steps, with embellishment from
my own experiences:

1.
Plant the Seed

Moochers don't bring up what they want accidentally. They are
deliberate. They mention that they love that restaurant. Or they
love that dish or that bag or that view from your window (this
is one I get a lot from people trying to mooch a stay off me in
my vacation home).

2.
Water the Seed

Periodically mention it again, with wistfulness in the voice.
People like me love to feel powerful enough to make someone
else's dream come true. Most people who are generous feel
that way. So, the moochers play us for suckers by just writing
a letter to us Santas over and over again.  They wish upon a
star and we make it come true.

3.
Then, They Wait Us Out

They wait patiently for the seed to take root and thrive in our
minds. The longer they wait, the more likely you will cave.

You see, in a test of wills, they will always win. Why? Because
you have a conscience. They are not burdened by the need to
be honest.



4.
If Waiting Doesn't Move You, They Re-Victimize Themselves

I used to get this a lot with a certain hairdresser. She would
spend the time moaning and groaning about all the horrible
things that had happened to her in her life since our last visit.
By the time it came time to pay the bill, I felt like I had to tip
her generously to make up for her bad luck.



How to Innoculate Your Friendship from Mooching


There are ways to correct the course in a friendship that has
been corrupted by mooching.

Moochers pain themselves as helpless. But they are anything
but helpless.


Tell your friend, you're stronger than this. Moochers are a
paradox. They see themselves as the world's victims and you as
a winner. So, they feel entitled to Robinhood you and take from
the rich to give to themselves.

But you can help to correct this vision of themselves. Tell them
that you see them as honest, generous, independent and fair.


They then will try harder to live up to your higher view of them.














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The psychology of people who avoid
paying their fair share of a bill is close to
that of a thief.