This could be us...but you owe me money.

This could be us…but you owe me money.

If you’re having real drama with your faux-family, has Bwog got some advice for you! Some of it is good, but most of it is (arguably) not—instead of studying for finals, try to distinguish which is which!

Dear Bwog,

My friend group is going through some weird tension right now, and it has to do with money. As international students, we’ve pooled our money together to get a “family plan” for our cell phones (not as weird as it sounds), and theoretically, it should work out fine if each person pays the amount they owe at the end of the month. Of course, this hasn’t been the case.

One guy in particular keeps skimping each month and not paying us back, to the point that we’re past frustration. We know he can afford it, which makes his actions even weirder. And beyond not paying the bill, he’s been acting very distant in general. It kind of all came to a head when he showed up at the holiday dinner at Ferris and joined our table–he was tipsy and belligerent, and in the end one of us (a really sweet and caring girl) cried over his comments.

I’m getting really fed up. What should I do about this guy? How do we get rid of/help him with grace?

International Crisis

Dear International Crisis,

Once people have become part of your family, it’s really hard to kick them out. And let Bwog give you the most definitive answer on the subject: once people are on a family plan together, they are effectively family, for better or for worse. And guess what? This is for worse! But blood is thicker than water (etc. etc.) and you need to treat this black sheep with consideration—he might come back, redeemed, just like the prodigal son some day.

Although at this point, your “friend” seems to be completely thoughtless and rude. The money thing, the making a disappointed maternal figure cry at the dinner table over the holidays…just no. If this were a Christmas movie about a dysfunctional Midwestern family with hidden depths, there would be screaming, shouting, accusations levied, received, and absorbed, and eventually, a moment of recognition, in which the black sheep would sob/reveal the source of his angst/re-enter the loving fold of his family. Depending on the filmmaker, it could end in death and desolation too, but let’s focus on the positives.

Based on our careful reading of holiday films, here are our suggestions:

  1. Induce catharsis by tricking this person into an enclosed room filled with all your friends and having an old-fashioned mud-slinging tournament that pushes all your frustrations into the open. This will work best if it’s not all about attacking the fee-dodger, so prepare criticisms for your other friends and be prepared to accept some yourself. Let it be organic!! It might cause hurt feelings all around, but it’s only when you’re totally devastated that you can begin to knit yourself together again.
  2. Go out for dinner with this friend, eat the amount of food that corresponds to how much he owes you, and shame him into paying for you. Alternatively, reach out to him with a fully conceived payment plan, which would be pretty hard to say no to.
  3. Talk to this person in private, directly, about what might be going on. You might not know as much about his finances as you think you do, or there might be other things going on in his life, or he might just suck as a human being. People are complicated. If he’s not open to speaking with you, you can always direct him to some of the services the university offers.
  4. Completely abandon him. You know in your heart that he’s just a jerk. Delete him from Snapchat, and whenever your group sees him, turn your back on him in unison, preferably in slow-motion.

We hope this helps, or at the very least, has taught you to not accept relationship advice from Bwog. Good luck with the fam!


NYU Kids Studying Abroad In Italy via Shutterstock