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by Abigail Van Buren

Friendship Suffers in Response to Neighbor's Miserly Habits

DEAR ABBY: Neighbor "Bill" has lived across the street for 30 years. Our kids grew up together, and we socialized at least once a month with him and his wife. Three years ago, she left him, and his daughter moved out of town. My wife and I were among the few who helped to support him emotionally.

Bill is pleasant and presentable. The problem is, he's the cheapest man on the face of the Earth. We have almost identical well-paying professional jobs. My wife and I travel extensively, attend events, have new cars and eat well. Bill has a 20-year-old car he won't even pay to wash. He travels only when he can stay at a friend's house, and must be hard-pressed to pay for anything. He's kind of a leech in that he waits for invitations where he can get by on the cheap. This makes for a very dull and challenging companion.

My wife is neutral, but it has really gotten to me. Her take is to just not invite Bill if it bothers me so much. I'm willing to support him emotionally, but not financially at the same time. Mutual friends agree with me. Your thoughts? -- JUST ABOUT OVER BILL

DEAR JUST ABOUT OVER: My thought is that the friendship with Bill may have run its course. And if your neighbor should ask you why, tell him what you have shared with me -- that you're tired of footing the bill for Bill.

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