Taking Stock of a Friendship in Black and White

Published: January 18, 2012 | Last Updated: January 18, 2012 By | 12 Replies Continue Reading

it comes to friendship, sometimes you just have to cut your losses



Dear Irene,

My husband and I have been friends with a married couple for approximately
three years, who have many
children and a multitude of different issues in their life. I have always been there for both of them and their
children, but I have come to a point where I don’t want to give any more. I
feel used, hurt and stupid.

I first met her husband while I was in the army; we were battle buddies in the
same unit. After deployment, I met his wife and thought she was very
nice. While his wife was pregnant, I cleaned her disgustingly filthy
house and made it spotless. Of course, it didn’t take very long to get dirty
again. After that, every time she didn’t want to clean, she would ask me
to help her. Sometimes I made up an excuse not to help, because I am not
her housekeeper, but most of the time I gave in. She has three kids at home and
doesn’t work yet the house always stays a huge mess. Every time, I went there,
I was so disgusted that I didn’t visit as often as before. They would call me
and make me feel bad for not visiting but I worked at least 12 hours a day,
sometimes 6 or 7 days a week and didn’t always have time to visit.


Neither of them has ever come to visit us. The only time they made an effort
was by coming to our wedding, which was only a mile away from where they lived.
We have celebrated Christmas and Thanksgiving together at their house, only
because they could not afford to go home with their extended family and so we helped buy
food and presents. My husband and I have watched their kids multiple times.
Another thing that I though was rude was that mostly every time we came
to visit their house, they would leave us downstairs with the kids and go up to
their room.


They have asked for large sums of money multiple times. Sometimes I would just give it to them; other times it would be a loan. Every time I asked for
the loan to be repaid, my attempts were ignored. Now, when they ask for money,
I tell them we are broke (which we kind of are because we keep loaning them money and getting nothing back). Now if we do loan them small amounts of money, we
expect nothing back. I have loaned clothing to her for different events that
she attended and have not gotten anything back after asking multiple times.


Both of them have an addiction to controlled substances which they do not take
as prescribed. I have back problems and have received some of these
substances from the doctor. When I told them I was taking these substances
they asked me for some. I told them that I was all out. They told me that
they would pay me for some (yeah right) if I could ask the doctor for an
increased prescription.  I decided to stop taking this medication and let
them know. They said that I should lie to the doctor so that I could get
the meds for them. They have asked me for this medication so many times I
can’t even count, but I will not support their addiction and I won’t do anything illegal.


These so-called friends never follow up on their promises. They have stolen
small things from us, and we are always at the beck and call. There are some
positive aspects to our friendship… sometimes I enjoy the conversation but it
is mostly one sided.

I am exhausted and hurt and so is my husband. We both try to avoid
confrontation at any cost. What do we do to change this situation?


Signed, Ella



Dear Ella,

I know that your intent in writing
wasn’t to compile a list of pros and cons of your friendship with this couple
but by doing so, and reading what you wrote in black and white, I hope you
realize that this is not a viable friendship. There are no shades of gray here:
This couple is self-centered and has soaked you for money, presents, housekeeping,
babysitting, and whatever else they can take.


You need to extricate yourself from
this one-sided relationship. In fact, you owe them no explanation. Anything you
could say isn’t like to change their character (or lack thereof). If they
invite you over, just tell them you are busy.


Why haven’t you and your husband come
to this conclusion sooner?  I realize
that you may have some shared history with the husband, in particular, but you deserve
more decent friends than this. Are there ways you can connect with other
couples in your community?

Hope this helps.

My best, Irene







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Comments (12)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Its prolly very similar. I hear of soldiers who have been using perscription drugs to cope (legally) a lot, so i think it may be common for them to get hooked on whats supposed to help them. I dont have any statistics or anything, but thats my impression so far. Im no expert lol – GoldenTresskj

  2. Anonymous says:

    Agreed. I was simply shedding light on how they may have found themselves in this situation; not defending the takers who, indeed, are not true friends.

  3. sepulveda says:

    I’m not judging the character of the couple who keep giving and giving and giving–it would be nice to know how old they all are, because to me, that’s a factor. Or perhaps inexperience with such a taker is another factor. What I *am* judging is the character of the takers in this relationship, and to me, how increasingly pathological/narcissistic their behavior seems. They do drugs, try to rope their friends into it, and yet, no one seems to give a thought to how it’s affecting the kids in that relationship to have parents who are so drug dependent, they want their sucker-friend to over-order prescription drugs. Thank goodness she refused to do what they asked. The takers are not friends, no matter WHAT definition of friendship you’re talking about. At the very least, the person writing in has the obligation (as I think of it) of reporting their drug use and request for prescription drugs. Or at least get child protective services involved.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, GoldenTressKJ for your explanation. It is always good to get the perspective of someone in the trenches, literally and figuratively! Is it simliar to what you hear about a cop and their partner (their cop partner, that is)? I wonder too if drug use and abuse is not uncommon with soldiers who’ve been in war zones.

  5. GoldenTressKJ says:

    What these “friends” are doing is terrible, and I agree with Irene. However, to the readers that have stated they do not understand how ‘Ella’ and her husband got into this, i think it is partially the military mindset. I am in the Army as well, and the ‘battle buddy’ connection is an extremely strong one, especially since they deployed together. You are taught/trained to give your lives for one another, to be there for your battle buddy no matter what. Whether you get out of the fire-fight alive or not may very well depend on that friendship. The friendships a soldier makes during deployments often times go beyond any emotional connections they have ever had or will experience outside the military. So in comparison, some of these things they gave may not have seemed so bad at first. That mindset gets people in these situations. It can be a great connection to share with someone you’ve experienced the military life with, but there’s people out there that take advantage of that as well, as we’ve read here. I see stuff like this all the time working in an Army counseling office. Sorry, I just felt that some comments were judging their character (maybe I misinterpreted) without taking this into consideration, and I wanted to stick up for a fellow Army girl.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It is because you and your husband both fear confrontation that you have allowed these neighbors to overstep their boundaries. These people are energy suckers and will take all you have and more, because you are afraid to say no. These types are drawn to those who fear confrontation like a moth to a light.

    Two aspects for you to research on the internet is the concept of boundaries and learning how to say No, without guilt.

    here is a good link on you tube in how to deal with this without guilt and to


    Learn to recognize when you are being manipulated here is an article on this.


    A good book for you to read is The Gift of Fear by Gavin DeBecker as this also shows how certain types manipulate others.

    another article on this in Wikipedia


    Hope these help to deal with the situation , Irene is absolutely correct – these people are not friends and they are draining you dry which is why you feel exhausted. You can’t do anything to change the situation, except leave it unless you want to keep getting drained of your resources this way.

  7. Irene says:

    My apologies, wasn’t intended to be but it has been removed.

    Thanks! Irene

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yes, I thought the choice of illustration was a bad choice given the title of
    the post.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Huh- are you crazy. Sorry but it says a lot about you and your husband to put up with that type of behaviour. For goodness sake get rid of them- is it even worth talking about?? Cut them out of your life and be done with it and never lend people money. Oh dear. If its made up then what a waste of time and if its true then really- you need to be a better judge of people and who to let you in your life. Looks like a phone call to social services would help. They have children…..

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sounds unreal and I think I find the clip art offensive.

  11. sepulveda says:

    This is beyond the pale. They use drugs, take your money, use you for babysitting, never come over…huh? And you consider these people *friends*? I feel sorry for their children, being raised by these two low-life people. Stop helping/aiding/abetting these people. Good god, take them to small claims court for the money they owe you.

  12. Anonymous says:

    My first thought reading this was that it’s a made up letter. This just can’t be for real!

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