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Ask Ellie: Spendthrift friend needs reality check, not your handouts

The bottom-line issue: She can’t afford her lifestyle

Dear Ellie: I have a relatively new friend I genuinely like except for her complaints about not having any money. Yet she buys designer shoes and eats at upscale restaurants.

She’s a hairdresser who works hard, but choses to live in a neighbourhood beyond her means. Sometimes, she doesn’t have enough for groceries.

I’ve paid for these occasionally. I don’t understand how she disregards managing her money. Should I ask her directly about it?


You’re a kind person, undoubtedly appreciated by this friend.

But you can’t continue supplying her groceries without some discussion. The bottom-line issue: She can’t afford her lifestyle.

Some of your cash may actually be funding the designer shoes and pricey restaurants, so she feels just like her more financially-secure neighbours.

You’d do her a more lasting favour by raising the subject of her need to create a workable budget.

Recommend that she meet with her bank manager and bring a list of her income vs. her fixed costs, such as rent.

Urge her to ask the banker for any arrangements regarding how to secure some savings within her overall finances.

She may be hurt by your suggesting that her current lifestyle is unaffordable. But you’d be helping her out in the long-run.

Whether she’s frivolous about purchases, or thinks nothing of relying on friends’ financial handouts, you need to give her a reality check. Or this friendship simply won’t last.

Dear Ellie: Have you ever heard of anyone who met someone online from a distant country, language and culture, and it worked out?

My friend lives in a nearby town. She met a guy online. He said “you look beautiful” and she responded.

She was just getting out of a bad marriage, so she was vulnerable. She confessed that, initially, she didn’t trust him but over time he’s supported her 100 per cent, is always there for her online, etc.

But this sounds like the modus operandi of someone who’s “love bombing” her to reel her in. After a year, she visited his country and by all accounts they had an amazing time. They’re now engaged. She’s working on bringing him into Canada.

I don’t want to see her hurt in any way.

She says he has a good job and she’s met his family. But I don’t see “love” in his eyes in the videos she’s posted.

Could a would-be scammer actually fall in love? Or does he just want a ticket into Canada?

I have a bad feeling. She’s moved from her own place into her mother’s home.

Worried but Caring Friend

Yes, I know of long-distance relationships that have grown and lasted. These “success stories” come not only from readers’ endorsements of online dating, but also from people I know personally.

Your friend handled a full year of getting to know him cautiously. She then travelled to his country, met his family.

Yes, he wants to come to Canada — whether for more opportunities than in his homeland, or whether he’s the one who’ll adapt here better than your friend moving there.

Still, you don’t know if he’s accessing her personal funds. And she’s not confiding worries about their financial matters.

Nor should you ask directly. She’s a mature woman, previously married and divorced. She may be vulnerable, but she’s wisely testing the relationship over time.

Stay in touch, listen, ask some natural questions but don’t imply something that’s not a clear fact. If there’s a time when she needs your direct support, you’ll both know it.

Ellie’s tip of the day

Paying for another’s overspending may cost the friendship.

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