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home : columns : dear harriette April 14, 2021

12/30/2020 9:17:00 AM
Friend's cousin keeps flaking on paying bill

DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend and I went out to dinner, and she brought along her cousin, "Kate," who I had never met. Kate was short on the bill, so I ended up covering for her because I was able to and she said she would get the money back to me. Since then, she hasn't reached out to me. I called my friend and asked Kate's number and called her. She assured me that she would send it the next day, but again I did not hear from her.

A week went by, and I asked my friend if she could pay me back or at least get the money from her cousin for me, but she was totally against it and said she didn't want to get involved. We ended up getting in an argument because this is someone she brought around me. I understand that her cousin is at fault, but I feel like she has a responsibility to me as my friend since she introduced me to her family member who screwed me over. Am I wrong for feeling this way? What else can I do? -- Burned Friend

DEAR BURNED FRIEND: The mistake you made was paying for the cousin's meal with the idea that you would be repaid. If you paid it as a gift, great. But fronting money to someone you don't know is always risky. Yes, you have the right to expect that your friend would vouch for her, but did you ask your friend? You made assumptions. Now, in the best of worlds, your friend should have paid for the person she had tag along to your dinner. Your friend is wrong for bringing her without letting you know and for allowing you to pay for her meal.

This is a mess. Your friend is implicitly involved because she brought the woman to the meal. Make that clear to her, but know that chances are slim that you will recoup your money.

DEAR HARRIETTE: I work in a call center. The woman who sits next to me always stares at my screen. We have plastic dividers for COVID-19, but we can see through them, so I can see her looking my way. When I meet eyes with her, she keeps staring at my screen. I'm not sure what she is looking at or why, because our computers have high security blocks; the only thing we use are the work programs. I tried asking her if she needs help or if everything is all right, and she just smiles, says yes and turns away. But it makes me uncomfortable. I've taken the high road to try to strike up a conversation, hoping she might feel comfortable to share what it is she looks at, but she doesn't speak at all -- she just smiles and nods. Now I'm freaked out. How do I deal with this, and do you have any other pointers for me to figure out what's going on with her? -- Staring Eyes

DEAR STARING EYES: Ask your supervisor if you can affix an opaque piece of paper to your plexiglass to make it impossible for this woman to continue to stare you down. If that doesn't work, see if you can change your seat.

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