User Friendly

They say it’s hard to find real friends.  I must say that it is true. At my age, I don’t like to have too many friends. I only want real friends. But sometimes, even if we do have long time friends since High School and College, something always changes. Of course, people change. The dynamics of friendship can also change.

What do you think would happen if you found out the real intention of one of your friends?

Allow me to share with you a very sensitive topic.

ABC had been a long-time friend of mine since College. I finished my BS Computer Science degree while she did not finish it. We went on with our lives, growing as working adults until we both had our own families. And then, I became a single working mom.

ABC and I had lost contact for some time until typhoon Ondoy.  I tried to reach out to her because I knew her hometown was affected. I tried to be there for her and recommended her to my sister who had her own business. I helped ABC to get back on her feet with a good recommendation to my sister. She got the job.

We were good friends. She knew how much I was paying for my housing loan. But I never disclosed to her how much I was making. She is married with two kids. And I was a single mom when we kept our friendship intact again. And then, something changed. The dynamics of the friendship changed.

The first instance was  when ABC called me as a last resort to help her husband find work in the USA. That call showed me a different side of her. “Kaye, tumawag ako sa yo as a last resort. Kelangan kasing makahanap ng trabaho si hubby sa US. Namomroblema kami kasi kelangan namin na makalipad na sya papuntang US. Pwede bang makahiram sa yo ng P8,000? Yun na lang kasi ang kulang.”

On the other end of the line, I said, “Sige.” I said this because I have savings. And then, ABC uttered, “Kaye, baka pwedeng mahiram ko na agad kasi flight ni hubby malapit na.”

I was literally shocked but kept my voice calm. In short, I lent the money in good faith knowing that her hubby will be able to get a job and to be able to provide for his family. Single mom to the rescue.

Did ABC pay? I had the loan documented and gave her a schedule that I thought would be enough to be able to pay me back. That was two equal payments to be made to me. There was one payment that was really late. I checked out her facebook page and discovered that her two kids had brand new cellphones each. And I was like, ouch! upon the discovery because I was not paid yet. I talked to ABC and discussed the payment schedule. I decided to give her a chance to be able to live up to her promise.

The P8,000 was paid in full with some delay.

After that incident, ABC had this habit of borrowing money from me again and again and again.  Apparently, when she started borrowing money from me, she did not know that I started to feel uncomfortable with the new dynamics of the friendship that we had. Feelings started to bottle up inside me.

In one instance, she was proposing a business to me. She said that she could implement the business but that she would need funding. My gut feeling was telling me, “You took your MBA, Kaye. She should have a business plan. You’d be an idiot if you fund her business.” I did not give in. Again, feelings compounded and remained bottled up inside me.

One time, her hubby forgot to remit to her the payment for their utility bills. ABC talked to me if she can borrow a certain amount to pay their electricity bill because her hubby forgot to remit to her. I did not lend her money. Again, feelings compounded and remained bottled up inside me. I did not care if they did not have electricity that night. I was thinking that they should learn from it.

In another instance, ABC talked to me and said she needed money badly for her tuition fee because she was trying to finish her degree in night school. She said that she would give me her atm card so that I can take the funds from her salary once she is paid. At that moment, I already felt like I was some bank.

The story of this friendship continued to build momentum until June 2, 2015 came.  This conversation happened two days shy of my actual birthday. She did not know that my Skype’s conversation history is turned on.

[6/2/2015 11:28:23 AM] ABC XYZ: Good morning
[6/2/2015 11:28:43 AM] Me: good morning!
[6/2/2015 11:30:23 AM] ABC XYZ: Kaye I would like to ask favor…if possible na makiride ako gamit lang ng kids… like shoes and uniforms then notebooks…sorry super nagipit kami something happened unexpected…. but we’ll pay it in a month
[6/2/2015 11:31:17 AM] ABC XYZ: super promise… kahit i will sign… kagabi ko pa iniisip yan
[6/2/2015 11:31:27 AM] ABC XYZ: papasok na kasi next week
[6/2/2015 11:31:34 AM] Me: naku pasensya na ABC. bibili pa ako ng ibang kelangan ni Abby and i just bought my maintenance meds
[6/2/2015 11:31:43 AM] ABC XYZ: Ouch
[6/2/2015 11:31:55 AM] ABC XYZ: hmmm okies… thanks..
[6/2/2015 11:32:02 AM] ABC XYZ: at least I tried 🙂
[6/2/2015 11:32:04 AM] Me: you’re welcome.

Makiride. That meant she wanted to ride on my credit card.

After this conversation, I felt like I did not have the right to celebrate my own birthday. That’s what I truly felt.

I checked out her facebook account and her children’s facebook account. It turned out that they bought a puppy on May 2015. I interviewed her daughter what they fed the puppy with. It turns out they buy dog food in the grocery. Well, my point is, why buy a puppy when your kids need shoes, uniforms and school supplies in time for school in June?

I was fuming mad and angry. But I tried to keep my calm to have a stress free birthday. My birth month ended and she did not remember to greet me a belated happy birthday.

Her birth month is July. So, n days before her birthday, I interviewed her. I asked her what happened to her credit card. She replied to my text saying that she terminated it when her husband became a drug addict. We still had a Skype conversation. Here is a snippet of the documented conversation. I just renamed her to ABC XYZ.

[7/6/2015 12:01:44 PM] Me: inuuna ko yung mga pangangailangan namin ni Abby
[7/6/2015 12:02:11 PM] Me: i can’t fall into sin na mapabayaan ko sarili kong pamilya
[7/6/2015 12:02:18 PM] Me: i was spending P3k for meds alone
[7/6/2015 12:02:25 PM] Me: hiwalay pa yung professional fees ng doctor
[7/6/2015 12:03:10 PM] ABC XYZ: i just hope you will also learn to differentiate people
[7/6/2015 12:03:21 PM] Me: like i said, inuuna ko yung pamilya ko
[7/6/2015 12:03:29 PM] ABC XYZ: of course
[7/6/2015 12:03:32 PM] ABC XYZ: I understand
[7/6/2015 12:03:33 PM] Me: P3k monthly for meds
[7/6/2015 12:03:35 PM] ABC XYZ: no worries Kaye
[7/6/2015 12:03:38 PM] Me: P1,100 monthly for pf
[7/6/2015 12:03:48 PM] Me: kung alam mo lang yung nangyaring confinement ni mommy
[7/6/2015 12:03:59 PM] Me: i am saving all for my health expenses kasi walang tutulong sa akin
[7/6/2015 12:04:08 PM] Me: financially
[7/6/2015 12:04:14 PM] Me: i am all alone in this
[7/6/2015 12:04:25 PM] Me: insulto kasi sa akin dahil single mom ako
[7/6/2015 12:04:42 PM] Me: i’m saving for my retirement, for my short and long term health expenses
[7/6/2015 12:04:53 PM] Me: i lost days worth of income nung na-confine si abby
[7/6/2015 12:05:00 PM] Me: hindi na-cover ang confinement ni abby
[7/6/2015 12:05:08 PM] Me: i spent money for her eeg and mri

[7/6/2015 12:05:52 PM] ABC XYZ: Really sorry like what I have said
[7/6/2015 12:05:54 PM] ABC XYZ: I understand
[7/6/2015 12:06:04 PM] ABC XYZ: sabi ko nga magtatampo lang ako
[7/6/2015 12:06:08 PM] ABC XYZ: but wala yun
[7/6/2015 12:06:09 PM] ABC XYZ: it’s not galit
[7/6/2015 12:06:15 PM] ABC XYZ: iba yung galit sa tampo
[7/6/2015 12:06:20 PM] Me: okay lang magtampo.. nagtatampo din ako
[7/6/2015 12:06:21 PM] ABC XYZ: you’re like a sister to me
[7/6/2015 12:06:26 PM] Me: it’s human emotion

[7/6/2015 12:09:46 PM] Me: sorry din kung medyo masakit sa yo mga nasabi ko
[7/6/2015 12:09:49 PM] ABC XYZ: kaya nagulat ako sa text mo
[7/6/2015 12:09:56 PM] ABC XYZ: yung dating sa akin utangera ako
[7/6/2015 12:10:09 PM] Me: i am trying to establish boundaries. hope you understand
[7/6/2015 12:10:12 PM] ABC XYZ: as if yun lang yung gusto ko sa friendship
[7/6/2015 12:10:17 PM] ABC XYZ: like oh my god
[7/6/2015 12:10:19 PM] ABC XYZ: ganun ba yun
[7/6/2015 12:10:29 PM] ABC XYZ: I know
[7/6/2015 12:10:34 PM] ABC XYZ: at least now I know
[7/6/2015 12:10:52 PM] ABC XYZ: pero naisip ko lang kasi a friendship doesn;t have boundaries

[7/6/2015 12:11:01 PM] ABC XYZ: if it’s real friendship
[7/6/2015 12:11:08 PM] ABC XYZ: what you can only do is to say
[7/6/2015 12:11:15 PM] ABC XYZ: sorry you can;t help me for now
[7/6/2015 12:11:29 PM] ABC XYZ: but like sige friend tayo
[7/6/2015 12:11:34 PM] ABC XYZ: but bawal utang
[7/6/2015 12:11:43 PM] Me: ganyan kami sa solo parents..
[7/6/2015 12:11:48 PM] ABC XYZ: i haven’t seen that kind of friendship
[7/6/2015 12:11:55 PM] Me: bawal kasi yun sa solo parents pag nag join k

We still had another cellphone conversation after that. I really did dig deep. I asked her, “What about your emergency fund?”

ABC answered, “Hindi pwedeng galawin yung emergency fund.”

After 15 years of friendship, I finally discovered her intention. In my mind, “Hindi pwedeng galawin yung emergency fund pero pwedeng mangutang kay Kaye at mag ouch pag hindi napautang!” 

It turns out that whether we like it or not, people can change for the worse even if they are long-time friends. I could not forget the line. It was ABC’s line that brought me to the final conclusion: end the friendship.

I have already helped her by recommending her to my sister. That was the best help anybody could have offered.  It is not my problem if they cannot manage their finances.

I really felt mortal. At the end of the day, I will choose my family over my friend. I will not let a friend ruin my family’s finances. It already happened to my parents.

A real friend will understand and appreciate what I do. For more than 10 years of raising my daughter single handedly after I was evicted in my parents’ place, I foot the entire bill on my own. I never ran to any friend financially.  I never bothered asking money from my parents.

What is the value of friendship nowadays? What price do we have to pay when someone changes the dynamics of the relationship?

A friend, by definition, is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection.

A friend is not a bank.

3 Replies to “User Friendly”

  1. ..it’s not your fault. you’re a good friend. unfortunately, some people take advantage of kindness, and have an incessant demand for more. it is sad, but people do change, and it hurts to remember how they used to be.

  2. May ka close din ako na elementary friend, then nagkita kami isang araw sa jeep. Ayun kwentu-kwentuhan tapos palitan ng number. After 2 days naku nangungutang na sa akin. Kaloka talaga! Ending di ko sya pinautang kasi na realize ko na di naman kami ganun ka close at kakakita pa lang namin. Sa panahon ngayon mahirap na talagang makahanap ng true friend kaya nakakarelate ako sa post mo na eto.

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