For as long as I've been working (going on 100+ years now, or at least it feels like it), there have been office moochers.
They never have any money on them ("I forgot my wallet!" "I'm broke until payday!" "I just loaned my last $5 to a friend!").
As a result, the moochers are always borrowing off others at work. These moochers often ask you to "pitch in" a couple of dollars for them when there is an office collection for a colleague's birthday, or ask if you can also pay for their latte when you're making the coffee run.
Of course, these moochers always claim they will pay you back. But they don't.
What's the deal here? Do these moochers have some secret gambling addiction? Or are they just the kind of people who get a free ride by asking everyone else to pay?
You may never really know why moochers take and never give. In the meantime, you have to figure out a way to stop them from borrowing money from you and take responsibility for their own financial well-being.
Here are some ideas to break the habit of moochers using you as a personal ATM:
- Let go of your resentment. No one forced you to give these moochers the money or forced you to buy cups of coffee. That was your decision, so stop blaming them. At the same time, stop being mad at yourself. That's water under the bridge.
- Always ask for separate checks. If you go out with a known moocher for drinks or lunch, always ask the wait staff for separate checks. Do it with a smile and then simply continue your conversation. If the group is too big for separate checks, announce that you'll be dividing up the check to determine what everyone owes. (Most people will be extremely grateful you take on the task -- no one wants to pay more than their fair share.)
- Refuse with sincerity. When a moocher asks you to float him a loan, tell him you're sorry, but you're on a budget now. Don't elaborate. Once moochers see your piggy bank is closed, they'll turn to someone else or learn to start a budget of their own.
While it can be difficult to stand up for yourself in such situations, remember that a moocher's behavior shows a real disregard for you. You can maintain a professional and cordial relationship with them, just without the open wallet. At the same time, you may find that your resolve garners more respect from colleagues who may have wondered why you put up with such mooching for so long.
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