DEAR ABBY: My friend "Tracy" has been hinting that she needs to borrow money. I don't loan money to people unless it's an emergency, and frankly, I know if I lend her any, she won't pay me back.
Last week she took her family on vacation and to her uncle's funeral. When they got back, she went on and on about all the fun they had and mentioned that she had spent almost $1,000. She then followed it up with, "So, next month I may need to borrow money from you. Does your offer still stand?"
Abby, I never offered to loan her money! I quickly changed the subject because I didn't want to say anything I might regret later. How do I tell her I don't want to loan her money without losing a friendship or hurting her feelings? -- ON THE SPOT IN SEATTLE
DEAR ON THE SPOT: Tracy may be charming and fun to be around, but she's not a friend. In fact, she appears to be a bit of a hustler. Two can play that game.
When she raises the subject of the loan again -- and she will -- tell her: "Tracy, the last time you mentioned this, don't you remember me telling you I never lend money? In fact, I really could use some myself."
Please don't worry about losing a friendship or hurting her feelings. Tracy has the hide of a rhino, and friends don't use friends the way she's trying to use you. Shame on her.