When family/friends don't get that your bank acct isn't looking so hot - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 49 Old 10-06-2010, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Anyone else find this as frustrating as I do?

DH has been unemployed for awhile. He's looking for a job but nadda so far. I have been a SAHM, though I was just hired to start a job next week.

We've told friends and family that have asked us to do this or that that we aren't doing so hot financially. They KNOW this to some extent, since we haven't had regular income in 1.5 years.

My BFF keeps bothering me to go out to dinner/drinks with her. I'd love to go but it ends up costing $30 between food and drinks for me alone. Even if I just go and have water and say chips and salsa, that's still gas money plus $5-10.

My IL's are going to the beach this weekend for an event and have asked us to go. They'd have room in their yurt for us, so no lodging expenses. But even if I pack food, we'd still spend $50 roundtrip on gas and probably at least $10-$20 on some food or misc items that we'll end up needing possibly. I told MIL today, we just can't do it. We CAN do it, but we are really watching our money.

But everyone keeps getting so upset when I explain that we can't. I tell them I'd love to go, they tell me I deserve a mini-vacation or a break (I agree, lol!) but they still don't seem to grasp the idea that we can't do it due to finances. This coming from people that have had to scrimp and save themselves in very difficult times.



Vent over. If you read all of this, good on you. LOL!
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#2 of 49 Old 10-06-2010, 10:27 PM
 
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I find this too. It can be frustrating, I find I do not see people much anymore- That could be due in part to me working two jobs, being a solo-parent and having a fulll course-load at college

Invite them over for a cup of water, since that is about all you can afford

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#3 of 49 Old 10-06-2010, 10:58 PM
 
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I just stay far away from people that tempt me out to lunch or away. I already informed my family that I won't be driving to Dallas to visit until Thanksgiving ($60 in gas plus food for the trip) and then not again until Christmas. I just don't have the money.

I find that the people that tend to not think about these things seem to also be the ones who readily whip out credit cards when they go out and only really vaguely pay attention to finances. They just don't get that when I say "I can't afford it", it's because I have 4.67 in my account and literally CAN'T afford it
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#4 of 49 Old 10-06-2010, 11:06 PM
 
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I feel your pain. People who are comfortable financially rarely, in my experience, truly understand what it's like to not have cash for those little extras like lunch in a restaurant. They just can't grasp that some people are living so close to the edge that they don't even have that much.

Over the years I lost a few friendships because I was too poor to go out on the town when they wanted to, and I guess they figured I was making excuses. Too bad I can't find any friends who just want to hang out and knit and drink tea. Everyone always wants to "go out"--there is no way I can afford that. It's not going to happen!

I felt this weirdness the other day when my dad was telling me about this great sort of amusement park to take the kids, he was saying how incredibly cheap it was, it would only cost like $40 for the whole family to get in....uh, where am I going to get $40?

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#5 of 49 Old 10-06-2010, 11:13 PM
 
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Mamas, I feel you! We are living SO close to the line right now! Seriously, two weeks ago we were down to the last $15 in our checking account. I'm going on a trip with some girlfriends this weekend and I am TOTALLY stressed about it. It's already paid for, and I did some MAJOR research to get nice accommodations for next to nothing, but one friend made a comment about how a $35 cab ride shouldn't be a big deal for anyone, and another rented an SUV with a navigation system that we are all expected to chip in on...I've told them things are really tight for us right now, but I don't think any of them REALLY get it. I'm dreading the weekend instead of looking forward to it
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#6 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 01:48 AM
 
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I can't find the hug smily. But, hug from me.

It is really hard to make people understand where you are. It's like they are in denial and just can't grasp it--it's not that you're not honest.
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#7 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 08:55 AM
 
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I don't have any advice but couldn't read without offering s. Such a frustrating situation to be in!

read.gifLisa married to geek.gifB WAHM to moon.gifC (08.09)

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#8 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 09:05 AM
 
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I feel you, and I hate this! Thankfully most of our good friends that we see regularly are in the same situation, so we just get together at each other's houses with our kiddos and hang out. Dh has more trouble with this, his friends are always wanting him to go out to movies and stuff and don't understand why we don't have the money because it's "only" 8 bucks or whatever to get in. Yeah, plus gas for the FORTY FIVE MINUTE DRIVE one way, plus a drink, etc. Uggh. And most weeks we spend every single penny we have.
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#9 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 09:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by vannienicole View Post
I find that the people that tend to not think about these things seem to also be the ones who readily whip out credit cards when they go out and only really vaguely pay attention to finances.
Very true. Just because there's room on your credit card, it doesn't mean you can truly afford it.

I'm sorry your friends and family just are not understanding right now.
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#10 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 09:48 AM
 
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Very true. Just because there's room on your credit card, it doesn't mean you can truly afford it.

I'm sorry your friends and family just are not understanding right now.
Also, though, just because someone uses a credit card doesn't mean she is accumulating debt for her purchase. Some of the most financially responsible people I know use credit cards responsibly for the sake of organization, consumer protection and points programs.

OP, that really sucks. Some people really don't get it. Maybe they also feel uncomfortable with the reailty of living that close to the edge and so pretend this isn't your reality or something. ((hugs))

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#11 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 10:28 AM
 
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I feel your pain. People who are comfortable financially rarely, in my experience, truly understand what it's like to not have cash for those little extras like lunch in a restaurant. They just can't grasp that some people are living so close to the edge that they don't even have that much.

Over the years I lost a few friendships because I was too poor to go out on the town when they wanted to, and I guess they figured I was making excuses. Too bad I can't find any friends who just want to hang out and knit and drink tea. Everyone always wants to "go out"--there is no way I can afford that. It's not going to happen!

I read your post and went Oh my God! I thought I was the only one who experienced stuff like this. My boyfriend and I have been together for over a year now. He makes great money (he's got a lot of bills though) and I'm a low-income single mom. A LOT of times he doesn't understand that I refuse or feel uncomfortable about spending money on this or that.

I got to know a stay at home homeschooling mom. She was really nice, but it seems like anytime we had all of our kids together, it would cost me an arm and a leg. Then there was my cousin who wanted to go out and blow money a lot as well. I always had the feeling she quit wanting to have me around is because I couldn't blow money like she could.

It sucks, because I would love to have people over to just play cards, watch movies, talk and eat home cooked food. It seems like people just want to go out and blow money. I have more money in my savings account now than I ever have (not bragging, been hanging on to tax return for months), but I REFUSE to go back to having nothing in the bank. I only work 2-3 days a week part-time, so that money there is my security blanket.

I feel your pain......

I'm a single, self-employed, homeschooling mom of 2 great kids. Girl 9/95 and Boy 3/99.
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#12 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 11:20 AM
 
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It *is* very frustrating to be in this situation. I have one girlfriend who seems to take it personally that I can't go out to expensive dinners with her (maybe because once upon a time, I did do this and we had a great time -- would that I had that money now.

that's the thing, if if we can afford it a certain month, by now I've learned that extra cash should *not* be spent but stashed away for future hard times.

I don't see a solution here except to keep repeating yourself. I know it feels terrible to agree to these types of outings and then nervously be watching the bill the whole time...
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#13 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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Yes, I'm right there with you and it is really annoying when people seem not to understand that you have no extra money to blow. I WOH full-time, but DH was laid off for eight months and has only found a part-time job (with a $4.00 pay cut). We're just able to cover our necessities, and I'm trying to squirrel away anything we do have left over because I'm just not sure how stable DH's job is.

I'm really glad that summer is almost over, so now there will not be some event going on every single weekend that other people think we should be going to (fairs, picnics, whatever).

Mom to DSS D (7) , DD Elizabeth (8/09) , and expecting DC3 3/30/11
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#14 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 12:27 PM
 
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Even worse is when the people bugging you to do things and spend the money are in the same situation because they keep doing things when they shouldn't. Both of DH's sisters are filing bankruptcy (we all went to the same company ) They complain all the time about no money yet they've all gotten new cell phones, go on vacations, eat out etc... I am so tired of hearing it I could just scream.

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#15 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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My closest friends understand that I choose to live my life in a way that allows me to stay at home (well, now I'm working a bit, part time, but I don't really consider that WOH as I'm at my son's preschool) but doesn't allow little luxuries like mochas or lunch out.

I've found I've gotten a little too comfortable with that understanding though. I just went to a new book club this week that met at a coffee house. All of the women are upper class SAHM with small children. They were all talking about not getting breaks, so on and started discussing the last time they had done something. I happened to mention this was the first mocha I'd had in at least a year and their heads all swiveled towards me in shock. No one could believe I didn't buy coffee. I didn't even think of the company I was in before I spoke.

I try not to point out my financial situation, mainly because I have chosen to live this way (well, society has made it that if you work in my DH's field, your family is going to be in the lower income bracket unless your spouse works full time at a high paying job). In fact, I very rarely say that I can't afford to do something as that is none of somebody else's business. I typically either make more affordable suggestions if it is a close friend or just say I can't do it, period. For me, it is about priorities.
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#16 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 04:11 PM
 
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yeah my sister is always wanting us to just come over or drive to see them at her house or my grandmas, but they live 70 miles round trip which costs gas money, and I know she will want DN to spend the night and I do feel guilty about him and ds not spending much time together, but it just ends up costing me money. She just called me up and asked for both niece and nephew to spend the night and I am already stressing about what to feed them and if i will have to drive them home etc and etc. I wish i had the extra money to spend on them, but i spend a little bit on my own ds that we can afford, but 2 or 3 extra kids adds up. (we just eat a lot differently at home than my niece and nephew are used to, which normally means me feeling i need to take them out etc.) Or feeling bad that i don't have any meat in the house, my nephew complains if i give them cheese pizza, etc.

Also when my aunts want to go out for dinner and drinks, i normally have to pass on that as well. We just can't afford to eat out that much right now. We do eat out 1x a week normally but it is normally something cheap.

Then again we have other priorities, we are paying off debt and dh has financial obligations to his side of the family if we have extra money, but people do stop asking eventually. Except my sister. She did offer to have my grandma pick up the kids so I may not have to drive them home, but I do feel bad that I don't want to do it for her, but that is extra money i wasn't really planning on spending this weekend, kwim?

ETA: my sister has always been notorious for not realizing that gas cost $money$?!?!, seriously though she drives around town all the time, and then wonders why she doesn't have money, of course she rarely comes out to my house, because it is such a large drive, but she is always cruising around stopping here and there at this friends and that, within 20 minutes of her house, i guess i just live outside her comfort drive zone, I on the other hand only drive around my town or the next one over unless I am going to meet a friend or family member, which is maybe once a month.

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#17 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 06:35 PM
 
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y (we just eat a lot differently at home than my niece and nephew are used to, which normally means me feeling i need to take them out etc.) Or feeling bad that i don't have any meat in the house, my nephew complains if i give them cheese pizza, etc.

I have seen how others families handly the "picky" guest. Please don't feel obligated to take them out for restaurant food! Ask the mom what food they like and see if she is ok with a substitute for when they don't like your food. Like p+J or something.
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#18 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 06:45 PM
 
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I have seen how others families handly the "picky" guest. Please don't feel obligated to take them out for restaurant food! Ask the mom what food they like and see if she is ok with a substitute for when they don't like your food. Like p+J or something.
yeah i have decided this kind of unexpected visit is not going to warrant taking them out to eat, we have already had our family weekly eat out this afternoon anyway. They will be getting spaghetti or macaroni something i already have in the house, at least i have cow's milk in the house this time, last time i was on a soymilk phase and only had that in the house. I will just plan on cooking them something simple for dinner and taking them to a nearby park or something as a treat.

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#19 of 49 Old 10-07-2010, 06:53 PM
 
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Mamas, I feel you! We are living SO close to the line right now! Seriously, two weeks ago we were down to the last $15 in our checking account. I'm going on a trip with some girlfriends this weekend and I am TOTALLY stressed about it. It's already paid for, and I did some MAJOR research to get nice accommodations for next to nothing, but one friend made a comment about how a $35 cab ride shouldn't be a big deal for anyone, and another rented an SUV with a navigation system that we are all expected to chip in on...I've told them things are really tight for us right now, but I don't think any of them REALLY get it. I'm dreading the weekend instead of looking forward to it
Oh, that's a bummer, mama. I'm sorry to hear that when we all deserve a little time away.

One happy mama to 1/06 , 3/10 , and married to my best friend
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#20 of 49 Old 10-08-2010, 01:20 PM
 
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I am pretty comfortable with my financial choices and my level of relative poverty. I mean, we have the basics and a few extras that make us all happy. In fact, most of the time, I think me and my kids are much more happy than the people around us. I don't really feel bad about not being able to "afford" to go somewhere (even a relatively simple outing needs to be saved for), but I think it can put off some. The trouble really is that I PREFER to stay home and make soup and eat homemade cookies and play a game or watch a cheapo movie rental. I nearly always find it *much* more relaxing and "real" if you know what I mean. If I was to be really happy, I would have friends over for a nutritious and delicious meal (lots of people think that eating healthy food is weird in itself), discuss the interesting social phenomena of the day in a deep way (does anyone do that anymore?) and maybe create some music together. Nice long walks in the woods/gardens would be nice, too. Actually, one of my favorite things to do with friends is to work together. I love putting on a meal with friends or helping them pack up and move or something.

Frankly this feeling (a very strong one!) coupled with my commitment to fiscal responsibility (and financial growth) puts me very much at odds with lots and lots of people. It is getting harder to find true friends, because I am what I am. I have absolutely no idea how I will ever find a new partner either after my divorce. Clearly this is the wrong century for me. I need to go live with the trancendentalists in Concord 150 years ago.
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#21 of 49 Old 10-08-2010, 01:41 PM
 
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I must chime in to say, "Me too." Everyone in my small town is obsessed with all the PTA fundraisers and the like - and I keep getting asked directly if I'm going to this one or that one. I'm divorced and living in a tight income. I also don't have any family nearby, so no free childcare. So I'd have to pay whatever the event cost - and sorry, I don't have $45 to attend an hour-long function where I get a glass of wine - plus the $12-15 per hour that the average babysitter gets in my town.

What's even weirder is that often, at these events, it's cheaper if you're part of a couple... such as: $75 per couple, or $50 per single person. Well, that's fair . Like you're being punished if you don't bring a date. My favorite one is the annual fund-raising "ball" held for the school foundation - I know the mom who runs it and she always asks me 3-4 times if I'm going, putting me on the spot. This particular event, last year, was $135!

I also have a friend in the big city nearby who keeps inviting me to see her there, but won't often come here. So our little dinner out in the city costs me an extra $25 in train fare. This has not yet dawned on her. All of these people know I'm a solo parent with no family around, so I'm not sure exactly where they think this money comes from!
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#22 of 49 Old 10-08-2010, 01:54 PM
 
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I feel your pain.

I think it is easier, if you really tell your friends and family how bad things are.

I once told a nonunderstanding friend (whom I had already told two times that money was tight!), how I only had about 20 bucks for the rest of the month, so I would not want to spend it on a trip to the cinema.

He was embarassed first, but we did see a nice film at home and if I later on told I did not have the money, he would not brush it aside but take it seriously.
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#23 of 49 Old 10-08-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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Whenever I was invited out for something I couldn't afford, I'd respond with "Why don't we hang out at my house instead?" The real friends are relieved to get together without spending any money, and we alternate houses (unless one of us has a much better setup than the other for letting the kids play.) The ones who only want to "go out" drift away.

With relatives, I do the same tactic, but then sometimes there's the aspect of "But the whole family will be there. It won't be the same without you!" At that point, I'll ask another relative if they can pay for us. Sometimes Grandma is willing to pay for one set of grandkids to be there so that all the cousins can experience the day together.

As far as having "non weird" foods in the house, that hasn't really been an issue. With friends, we usually get together at snacktime, rather than mealtime- or else we brown bag it. The routine with the homeschool group was that everybody packed their own lunches rather than the hostess feeding everybody. And with relatives staying overnight, I'm more than willing to purchase some special foods for them (such as cow's milk even if nobody in my family drinks it) in exchange for us eating together at home.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19 (in Israel for another school year), Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 12(homeschooled)
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#24 of 49 Old 10-08-2010, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think it is easier, if you really tell your friends and family how bad things are.
Oh, I have. I've been brutally honest. They still do NOT get it. :/

Thanks everyone. Though I am sorry so many of us understand this problem.
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#25 of 49 Old 10-08-2010, 06:16 PM
 
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If it wouldnt cost so much, I d say we all need to get together for a chat

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#26 of 49 Old 10-08-2010, 11:13 PM
 
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If I was to be really happy, I would have friends over for a nutritious and delicious meal (lots of people think that eating healthy food is weird in itself), discuss the interesting social phenomena of the day in a deep way (does anyone do that anymore?) and maybe create some music together. Nice long walks in the woods/gardens would be nice, too.
Oh my gosh...that sounds like about the most wonderful evening ever! Any chance you live in southern Ontario?

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I I don't have $45 to attend an hour-long function where I get a glass of wine - plus the $12-15 per hour that the average babysitter gets in my town.
Good LORD! $15/hr for a BABYSITTER? I'm sorry but that is ridiculous...in my city grown men can't even make that much for skilled labour a lot of the time. Only about 15 years ago, I was making $3-4 per hour babysitting and I was okay with that!

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#27 of 49 Old 10-08-2010, 11:55 PM
 
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#28 of 49 Old 10-09-2010, 12:24 AM
 
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I think I must be lucky to have the circle of friends that I do. But the good news is they exist somewhere and those who do not have understanding friends need to keep looking!

The 2 times that DH was unemployed and money was *really* tight, luckily my family stepped up to help us with those little expenses- like my dad would always give me gas money when we visited him. Or my parents would make sure to take us out for dinner when they came, and bring a few groceries too.

My mom told me that when we were little, her IL's would come visit with little warning and no end date. So she had to scramble to make an extremely tight grocery budget fit 2 extra adults. She said she would agonize over what to not buy for us kids since she had to buy cream for their coffee. So they really "get" how tight it can be, and make sure they chip in enough to cover the costs + a little extra.

So big hugs to everyone.

Suzan, mama to DS 9-18-07 and #2 EDD 3/4/10 GIRL!.
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#29 of 49 Old 10-09-2010, 12:30 AM
 
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If they're going to be rude and inconsiderate, I think you're well within your rights to be rude right back.

"I'd love to! Of course, you know how tight things are, so obviously you'll be paying. Man, things have been stressful lately, I could really knock back a Martini or five. You don't mind if I order the top shelf stuff, do you?"

Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
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#30 of 49 Old 10-09-2010, 12:33 AM
 
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Originally Posted by lach View Post
If they're going to be rude and inconsiderate, I think you're well within your rights to be rude right back.

"I'd love to! Of course, you know how tight things are, so obviously you'll be paying. Man, things have been stressful lately, I could really knock back a Martini or five. You don't mind if I order the top shelf stuff, do you?"


I'm going to do this the next time someone tries to guilt me into going out!
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