DEAR HARRIETTE: I need help saying no to my best friend. She stays over at my house all the time, eats my food and uses my car whenever she gets a chance. She can’t hold a job if she doesn’t “love” it. When we go out, she always has an excuse not to pay, and she orders the most expensive bill while the rest of her friends pay for her.
My friends and I juggle taking care of her, and I am ready to cut off any sort of help. She’s taking it too far, and I'm ready to explode. She’s a mooch, and we aren’t her parents. I don’t want her to fail in life, but she needs to take care of herself. What do we do? -- Mooching Friend
DEAR MOOCHING FRIEND: It’s time for you to rethink what “best friend” means. It should mean that you look out for each other. It should not be a one-way street. You are not doing either her or yourself any favors by bailing her out all the time. You are not responsible for your friend’s survival. She is.
Sit down and talk to her. Tell her how disappointed you are that she still does not take care of herself. Explain that you will no longer be able to support her and that it’s time for her to take care of herself. You may want to stage this as an intervention with your other friends so that she is clear that this is serious and includes your whole friend group. Then -- the tough part -- you have to let her fall and pick herself up.