DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a best friend of 27 years, and I'm getting very annoyed with her. Every time I invite her to dinner or to an event, she expects me to pay for everything. She has gone as far as asking me for a loan, for groceries, etc.
Being the nice person I am, I will loan her the money and buy her groceries, if I am able. The problem is that she will not repay me. When I confront her, she gets very angry and tells me she is in no position financially to pay me back.
She has a really good job and makes really good money. I am a single mother with only my income, which is not a lot. There was one time that I asked her for gas money, and she went ballistic. She said she doesn't help anybody financially, then stopped talking to me.
She moved in with her sister, only pays $300 in rent and is financially supporting her 27-year-old son -- she pays his rent, car payment, insurance, food, etc.
I have stopped helping her altogether and will not give in anymore. I don't want to lose 27 years of friendship, but I don't want to be her friend if all she's going to do is ask for money. Please help!
GENTLE READER: If friendship were defined by longevity (rather than, say, warmth, kindness or shared interests), we would all have more friends -- without being any better off.
Miss Manners mentions this because none of the acts you describe suggest this is a person with whom you should wish to maintain a relationship for 27 days, much less 27 years.
If she is mistaken, and this person has other endearing qualities, then the repeated requests for money should be refused firmly, directly and without rancor: "I'm sorry. I cannot lend you money for your groceries."