Dave Says: To Be Unclear Is to Be Unkind

Dave Ramsey
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Posted: Jan 17, 2017 12:01 AM
Dave Says: To Be Unclear Is to Be Unkind

Dear Dave, 

My friend and I are roommates, and we’ve always had an agreement that we split each of the bills fifty-fifty. We both work and have decent jobs, but for the last couple of months she’s been really late in paying her half of the bills. She says she’s broke. I don’t want to be mean, but how can I approach her about this situation?

Alice

Dear Alice,

I understand that you don’t want to be mean to a friend, but situations like this should be addressed quickly and directly. No matter whether you’re talking about friendships or business dealings, to be unclear is to be unkind.

Turn off the television, sit down with her, and have a kind but firm conversation. Let her know that the roommate agreement is no longer working because she isn’t paying her bills on time. Make sure she understands that the two of you are not going to be able to stay there together anymore unless she starts paying on time. You might also ask if she needs help budgeting her money. I mean, if she’s got a good job her money has to be going somewhere, right? The problem is that it’s not going to the proper places.

I know you think that by being subtle or avoiding the situation you’re being nice, but you’re not. You’re being passive-aggressive. You just have to smile and say, “This isn’t going to happen anymore. You’re going to get your act together, and I’ll help you all I can, but you need to start paying on time or the roommate situation is over.”

Is that tough love? No, it’s just love.

—Dave