Ask Paula

Written By Paula Lemme

Dear Paula,

My fiancé, Charles, and I recently met another couple living in our development. The four of us hit it off immediately. We’ve been hanging out every weekend this summer at the community pool, and then hanging out at one or the other’s house. It’s been so fun to have friends that are a couple we both like! Anyway, since the pool has closed, we’ve been going to the beach to have a swim, and then we hit a restaurant for food and a drink or two after. Charles and I have noticed that our beloved new friends always manage to skip out on paying the bill. It seems legitimate each time. Once their credit card was expired, another time they went outside to smoke and took so long that we went ahead and paid the check. Then, last weekend we tried to make a joke out of it and said they owe us since they still haven’t paid us back for either meal yet. They laughed and said that they were embarrassed and keep forgetting. We all laughed together, brushed it off, and proceeded to go out to dinner. Then they did it again! She got so drunk that she suddenly had to leave the table and run out to the parking lot to “get air”, and he accompanied her. Needless to say, we ended up paying the bill again, and this time with several drinks included. When we went outside, she seemed to want to sleep all the way home, and he apologized profusely, saying he would take us out for sure the next time. Charles told me after we got home that there will not be a next time. He thinks that we have been duped enough. I want to give them one more chance, because I can’t believe they would do this on purpose. What would you do?


Footing the Bill for Friendship

Well my fine footed friend, it looks like you have stepped in it this time. The scenario that I see is as follows:

  1. Up until recently, you have only spent time with this couple in places where it’s free or practically free.
  2. Once the entertainment value went up, their friendship level went down.
  3. You and yours have given them three chances to make good, and they have not risen to the occasion. I believe that there is a universal 3 strike rule, and they’re OUT!

I am with your fiancé, this couple has become what we call, “fair weather friends.” If you still have the desire to hang out with these deadbeats, there’s no reason why you can’t continue to see them socially, but now you know what (or who) you’re up against. Keep it light, keep it simple, keep it free, and leave YOUR wallet at home!

Good luck, and I hope your next friends want to take YOU out!



Have Questions? Problems? Nagging thoughts or in-laws? Leave a comment for Paula with your quandaries. Nothing will be laughed at or go unconsidered!

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