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5 Scripts to Stop Your Financial Frenemy From Sucking the Joy and Energy out of Your Life

When is the last time something like this happen to you?

You seldom get to see your long time secondary school friends. Due to family and work, you guys can only meet up once a year to talk about old times, what is changing and happening in your lives. Everything went just fine until they realize how successful you have been in your career and life.

The conversation starts to become a tease that you should be paying for tonight’s dinner.

You start thinking this is just some tease but the pressure starts pilling up.

Before you know it, you start to self talking to yourself that maybe you need to be a little more magnanimous yourself and pay for it.

You paid for it, and after that you have some really mixed feelings about how things got escalated like this.

Well, I don’t get a lot of this, particularly because my friends know I am one of the worst paid among them. Not getting a lot of this doesn’t mean that I do not empathize when my friends, colleagues are put on the spot.

And I realize that we do have a lot of Financial Frenemy in our workplaces.

Who are your Financial Frenemy?

These are the people that tries to sabotage you and your financial well being.  They stand between the financial goals that you sought to achieve or the better financial state you wish to reach.

Note, by labeling them as Financial Frenemy, it doesn’t mean they have deplorable character.

Rather,a lot of your friends who became a financial frenemy were not aware they are behaving this way . They tend to be rather okay human beings.

The challenge for many of us is we do not know how to navigate touchy relationship problems like this.

In her book Workable Wealth, Mary Beth shares with us that often, knowing the right scripted response would not kill our financial goals, but also settle these situation in a more amicable manner with your friends and family.

Mary Beth breaks down friends who exhibit these traits into 5 different types.

1. The Entitled Frenemy

This is the type of frenemy that I seldom see in Singapore. If you do, then you have a touchy problem on your hands.

This friend is entitled because he or she will tell you after a meal that she forgot to bring enough money or that she ran out of money and asks you to pay first.

You are put in a difficult position because, this is not the first time he or she is doing this.

By being put on a spot, it means that you end up subsidizing him or her for that meal.

Proposed Solution: This will be situational. If it is the first time they are doing this, you could pay for him and her, but explain why you are paying on his or her behalf, and to remind your friend to return you the money.

If your friend is not doing this the first time, remind him or her that you have not gotten the last amount back, and that, by doing this again, your friend is impeding you from reaching your goals. You could explain to them that you think they have some money management issue that they need to work on, and you may be able to provide some tips if they wish to improve.

Obviously, you value this friendship, which is why you are going out of your way to do so much. Else, I do not think its wise to make 2 person suffer by going out for a meal together again.

 2. The Budget Buster

The budget buster is very common. She is likely the one where you go shopping with the most. When you are deciding on whether to buy because the price tag is rather steep, she will be the one that encourages you to buy because you deserve it!

It gets worse when you go out with a bunch of them and they start doing this to you.

Sooner or later, you will succumb under the pressure.

This is one that I can relate to, because my good friends do this to each other a lot!

Proposed Solution: The trick that Mary Beth teaches is to be pre-emptive about it. You identify who these budget buster are, and tell them before this again that you are working towards some goals. If you overspend, you cannot reach these goals. So the next time you ask for their opinion on this, do factor this in mind.

Now frankly, this solution doesn’t work on everyone, especially for myself, because those closer to me know how much I can put away to wealth, so these pressure will not come off.

One strategy to overcome this is to always tell them you will come back to buy another day after thinking about it (unless you are in Taiwan or Hong Kong for holidays). This delay will ensure you feel whether the urge is strong enough to buy it, or that you rationally think you can live without it. This solution is more of you systematically overcoming your deficiency.

3. The One Upper

During one of these meetups, you often want to celebrate something good that happens in your life. These can be how good of a position you put yourself in your new job, or the incentives you received as a result of working hard.

And then one of your friend will be the one to pour the cold water on you by revealing their own situation or incentives that make your incentives look like nothing.

Proposed Solution: This is a strange situation to be in because in Asian culture we tend to play down our successes then to celebrate it. However, we often can relate coming across someone that always wants to shine.

Sometimes, we do not know if they are aware that they are doing this. If the person is really that big of a problem and someone not close, the solution is to avoid going out with him or her if possible. Everyone won’t enjoy a good time, so why force it?

However, there will be the frenemy who have this character flaw, and the solution is that to acknowledge their accomplishment. They are looking for validation and that should be the first thing you should do. However, you can also tell them how hard you worked for that, and you also wish that you can have your chance to shine and celebrate these wins.

The above will only work if its a friend or relative that only have slight character flaws like this.

4. The Priers

There are some things about money that you do not want to reveal.

To give an example, it will be awkward to talk about your pay, even to your friends that do not work in the same company. You might not want to reveal your bonus as well.

Yet, you will have friends who would persistently ask you about it.

And then you feel oblige to reveal the sum. These are the Priers for you.

So how do you go about parrying them?

Proposed Solution: The more you skirt around the topic, the more they will continue to ask. However, if you tell them straight that you do not feel comfortable in revealing this aspect of your finance, then they will stop.

For sure, it will be an awkward moment. They will be thinking “what is so great about your salary, it is not as if you are earning a lot of money, why can’t you reveal?”

I do agree with Mary Beth on this way of dealing with things. There is a reason why you are uncomfortable and perhaps the reason is, the more people that would know about this, the more room for subsequent awkward or disastrous situation.

If that is the case then it is best not to reveal.

However, if the person or people persistently asking is your family members, then you have to detect the context why they are doing it. If its because they are worried that you are getting into financial trouble, and in reality, you are not, then do let them know that things are fine.

5. The Green Eyed Monster

This one is also very common. And I believe at different times, we do this to our friends as well.

There are times when my friend celebrated something financially. It is something that I couldn’t attained. Perhaps they got a job that earns them $140,000/yr.

Or it could be an annualized rate of return of 20%/yr over a 5 year period.

So I say “that must be nice” or “I couldn’t do something like that”

In reality, I am not feeling that. I am just jealous of the achievement, and in reality, I wish that was me.

These are the green eyed monsters.

Proposed Solution: The first thing to note, is that, people like that obviously have some issues that they are going through. And it is likely what they are looking for, are some form of acknowledgement that you are just lucky or for you to play down your achievements.

Mary Beth do propose that you be gracious to thank them for their complement. They do have issues, and you shouldn’t be infected to feel bad just because they are working through the issues.

She also mentions that it will be good to reveal as much of the detail as possible.

I felt that this might not be the best course of action as your friends will be zoned out, but revealing more things in detail, perhaps will shift the conversation away from the achievements but to the actual nuances of how that achievement can be achieve.


I find that these scripts, if you understand which are the important parts will help you take back some of the power.

We often feel miserable or that our energy is sucked away from us during or after these episodes.

For some of my friends, they spent the large part of their lives being “terrorized” by these kind of  friends. This is because reading, learning, trying to tackle this problem in an effective manner is not part of their system.

They end up living with the problem, sometimes lamenting about these problems.

They may eventually become the sort of complain king or queen that you do not want to hang out with.

So I hope these tips provided by Mary Beth do help and let me know if you were a “victim” of these abuses and what is your way of tackling them.

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Sunday 20th of November 2016

Friends are a group of known people whom we will add, remove, remember or forget periodically throughout our life journey. We can choose or avoid them as nobody can force us into it. How to have Frenemies since we have the choices?


Sunday 20th of November 2016

we termed them as frenemies because you want to add, remember them, despite their flaws.

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