Wouldn’t it be great if the world was truly fair? Where every person you knew was truly 100% reasonable in every way, including with money?Watch out for Financially Toxic People!
Well, as we know, that isn’t the case. The world isn’t always “fair”, as many of us define that term anyway. And no, not everybody is totally reasonable, certainly not with money.
The reality is that when it comes to money, there are a variety of different approaches that people take, and habits that they possess. Some people are highly responsible, some are not. These differences can cut across many dimensions, to the point where some people can pretty much be classified as having toxic money personalities.
They aren’t always a joy to deal with. But, often there is no choice but to deal with them. They could be friends, family, or acquaintances. Maybe even coworkers. But deal with them we must.
Here are some of the more insidious ones I’ve come across:
An Extractor is the type of person who tries to others to pay for as many things as possible, but accomplishes this through sneaky means. I’ve dealt with a few of these, including one couple in particular in which both husband and wife were of this type.
One way they get free things is by employing stealthy, conniving measures to get you to pay for them. The best example of this that I can think of is an Extractor couple I knew that would regularly find ways to avoid paying for dinner. The initial tactic was to come up with “alligator arms” when it came to reaching for the wallet when the check arrives. In other words, pretending to reach for the wallet but always coming up short, so the other party pays. Or, in other cases, getting up to walk to the restroom when they see the waitress coming toward us with the bill.
In short, they’re wired to slither out of paying what they owe.
This isn’t someone with a chiseled physique, or some type of artisan. Rather, it’s someone who likes to chisel away at others in order to get something.
A woman I knew would fit this description. One tactic was to complain about the quality of a product or service that she had purchased. Whether it was writing letters to companies, calling them, or simply complaining at restaurants - she would get free things by expressing displeasure at how they didn’t get what they expected.
I suppose that I wasn’t being “chiseled” away at in those cases. But as Confucius reportedly said, “it’s hard to smell like a rose when you’re rolling in a dunghill”. In other words, keep company of people like this, and your own reputation can get tarnished!
This person is always looking to borrow from you. Whether it’s a book, a lawnmower, or simply a small amount of money – this person always has a “need” to borrow. They never seem to have enough money on them, or time to actually buy or rent something they need. Rather, they want to borrow from you.
Why not? It saves them time and money for the time being, and offers an escape for their laziness. Plus, if they keep borrowing when needed, they can use your stuff and let it depreciate while avoiding spending any money of their own.
These people sometimes also have the additional attribute of being forgetful. As in, they forget to pay you back, or they keep forgetting to give back what they borrowed from you. It takes time and effort to remind such people to return what they borrowed.
Thankfully, it has been a long time since I have dealt with one of these. Since college, actually, which was quite a while ago. But what a treat that was!
This person, actually, is NOT trying to take your money. That’s a good thing.
However, what he or she will do is insist on paying for your dinners every time you go out. They will try to be the one who handles things, who gives expensive gifts, or just does more for you financially than necessary. It makes them happy – or so we think – when they do things for you.
The problem is that when they’re spending on you like that, you might indebted to them. You feel like you owe them, and it’s not great having something like that hanging over your head. I knew a person who was an Over-Giver, and this person always paid for dinner and was strongly insistent about doing so. He had all the excuses, and was quite popular for being “generous”. I didn’t like the idea that no matter how much I wanted to pay my fair share, he always had to pay. Not just for me, but for everyone at the table.
So, with this person, there might not be direct financial debt. But there’s some type of debt, be it time, emotion, or whatever. It’s not worth dealing with.
This person could also be labeled “The Show Off”
This type of person was some kind of undying need to be competitive with others in terms of status symbols. This could manifest itself in terms of homes, cars, vacations, clothes – you name it. If there is something that others have done which is impressive, it eats away at them and they find a way to be better. They simply can’t accept or admit to having less than their “competition”.
The problem with such people is that they prey upon those with the propensity to try to “keep up with the Joneses”. Sick of hearing such people brag, well-meaning folks might splurge for things out their budget. Why? Well, it might be a matter of getting lured into competition, getting sick of being made to feel lesser, or maybe just to shut up the braggart. Whatever the case, the One-Upper is someone who can be toxic to your finances, and get you to spend much more than you might otherwise want to.
Truthfully, I can be very soft when it comes to helping those truly in need. I think it’s honorable to give to those genuinely needing help, particularly when we know how that the other person as few other palatable options. Generosity can be a beautiful thing.
However, it can be important to draw the line on giving. Some people truly need help, while others act like they need help though they really don’t need it. These people – the ones crying wolf – are the ones that can be a challenge. They ask for money, though they actually aren’t doing anything to try on their own. Living off others is what they would rather do, instead of taking the difficult step of trying to be self-sufficient.
Thankfully, I haven’t dealt with such a person yet. However, I know of others that have. Apparently, it can be draining of time and energy.
My Questions for You
Have you dealt with any of these 6 personalities than I described?
Which ones do you think are the most challenging to deal with?
Do you have any others to share?