How Do I Tell My Mooching Friends to Pay for Their Share?

My husband and I have a handful of really great friends and enjoy their company! More often than not they are over at our place when we all decide to hang out because we are the only ones that don’t share a house with anyone else. Fine. I love my friends, they are welcome here always. However, we host friends 2 to 3 nights a week and live on a College student/minimum wage budget, often my friends will call and ask “what are you guys doing tonight?” and we’ll answer “nothing” they will ask if they can come over, yes of course dear friend come over, but the next question is why I am writing.. they then will ask “whats for dinner?” 3 nights a week we are making dinner for us plus 2 or 4 or 6. I love to cook and love their company, but how do I politely ask them to pick up a pizza on their way over or bring a salad? Or should I just not ask at all?

Maybe I’m a bad person to ask. I don’t even want anyone to know where I live, nevermind coming over, eating my food, watching my porn, and discovering my Buffy the Vampire Slayer action-figure collection. But I think the problem is that you and your husband are too fucking nice.

There is nothing wrong with being polite. In fact, it’s far better to be too polite than to be too much of a dick. It’s a lot easier to teach a polite person to be a dick than the other way around. But in my experience, overly polite people sometimes have issues with conflict. It’s one of those insecurities that we all have (well, not me obviously, duh) and the fear and discomfort caused by any form of conflict, even something as simple as telling friends they can’t come over or that they need bring some fucking food for once, can make some people endure a lot of shit to avoid any awkward or unpleasant situation. Remember this the next time some shitbag panhandler tries to aggressively shake you down for a dollar on the street, cause that’s what he’s counting on.

I’m not saying you need to punch your friends in the head the next time they ask to come over, but you do need to stand up to them. If they ask what’s to eat, you need to say, “Hey, we’re not the Rockefellas here. We need to all pitch in for a pizza or whatever.” You need to stop being afraid of conflict long enough to tell them no and explain the deal.

If you find this too hard, and I suspect you might judging by your question, then there’s another way. I hate to sound like fucking Rachael Ray or whatever, but get your friends together for a talk. Say, “Hey, I think we start trying to plan stuff in advance.” Explain to them that your goal is to make sure we all have fun, but that you need to figure out a better way of planning for stuff, since your budgets are really tight. Work out a rotation where sometime one person brings something, the next time someone else does.

But be forewarned. There’s a chance that your “friends” are just freeloading douchbags who are really taking advantage of your politeness. If you talk to them and they are all understanding and agreeable about making things work out, then you are okay. But if they first thing out of their mouthsis some excuse about how they don’t have money themselves or they can’t do this or do that, ditch them. No one needs friends like that.

Alright. I think it is time for you and your husband to grow a pair, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. You both sound like awesome people who care deeply for and love your friends, which is often hard to come by these days. The thing is, though, you and your husband are playing Mommy and Daddy to your entire group of friends. They are fucking adults, are they not?

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being hospitable, in fact it is very rewarding. For most people, at least. In my case, I can’t cook for shit so I like to spend every dime I have getting served around town. But hell, if I could cook something beside homemade mac & cheese, (boiled noodles with microwaved shredded cheese on top), I would definitely cook for people all the time. Granted, these friends of mine would know that nothin’ in this world is free. You want dinner? Bring stuff to make it, then.

It’s really not too complicated. If these are your good friends, they will be completely understanding. Simply tell them you and your husband are on a budget, and would it be possible for them to pick a couple things up on their way over. If, for any reason, this doesn’t go over well, then you know your friends are cheap bastards and you should get new ones.