Stories require all sorts of settings and these environs can be drawn from real life. Or imagined out of the blue. But those that ring true with me, are those that the author has pulled from their experience, or the experience of someone they know.
With that in mind, I recorded the following experience:
A “friend” called me this morning, just before lunch. They talked about how they are still in dire circumstances, subsisting on a sandwich a day and what it’s been like since the last time we chatted (about a year or more). This “friend” isn’t a bad person; has just fallen on hard times.
Those of you who have read my FB post may recall that this is the “friend” who borrowed 5K from me and has yet to pay it back. Kudos to them for remembering still. Anyway, they promised to slowly pay it back over the next couple of months, but money is very tight. I merely responded with, “Only when you can”.
Said “friend” tried to also borrow another 200 – 300 from me. I said “no” again. They said that they’d tried calling other people, other friends. But there was no answer, or people had gone on holiday. Most likely, those people didn’t want to lend any more money.
I empathise with this “friend”. I’ve almost been in their situation and that close shave was unpleasant enough. The nastiness isn’t just dealing with no money. It’s compounded by the 100% uncertainty of whether you will have a roof over your head that night, will your kid have enough to eat and drink and be able to get through the exams they need? Will those who depend on you be able to survive, too? How about your daily expenses? That type of pressure is terrifying, almost debilitating. The desperation drives you to consider jobs you did not want to do, ever. But you’re pushed into it. You’re left with no choice. The bank won’t help you, obviously. Relatives have nothing to offer, if you have relatives. Parents aren’t in a position to financially aid you; they’re in the opposite position in fact. And friends can’t provide assistance either, because they have their own priorities. And if you only call to borrow money or when you need something, you’re not a friend; you’re a leech, even if you promise to pay it all back.
While I have given empathy to this “friend”, I set my boundaries that first time round when they borrowed money from me. Those boundaries hold. Not because I’m being cruel, or miserly, but because if they are breached, this “friend” will likely relax a little and borrow money every week with the intention of returning the loan. When, however, remains to be seen.
Desperate times means desperate measures, for the most part. But, there is a silver lining. The “friend” stated that they have received a job offer, with the requisite legal documentation, but they had yet to sign the documents. They are holding out for a better paying job. However, they have one confirmed job, at least. Apparently they start tomorrow, but it’s a public holiday, ergo, they start the day after. So, I wished them luck and hoped they’d find a job that pays well soon.
In retrospect, though, I wonder if this “friend” realised the faux pas they made?