I love this - asking a Jewish grandmother for advice. My own bubby usually stuffs me with delicious cooking loaded with grease and salt and then advisesme to suck in my stomach when I walk. So I'm looking for another opinion here.
The situation I have is with a friend / acquaintance I've known for a number ofyears, and kept in touch with on and off. For the last few years he's been having trouble at school and holding down a job, so he's been drifting from place to place and usually doesn't have much money. He's very thin and always seems hungry. I've offered to lend him a few bucks or buy him lunch but heusually refuses. He told me he doesn't like to feel obligated to other people.
This weekend we got together for a Jazz Festival and dinner. I wasn't that hungry so I didn't eat much. I ordered a drink, ate a few things off his plate and finished his meal when he was full. When we went to pay for our meals, the cashier mistakenly lumped my bill with his.
I could have taken that opportunity to pay his bill for once because he really could use the extra savings (I have a steady job), but my knee-jerk reaction was to correct the cashier and tell her "no, we're paying separately!" So she refunded me my change and the poor guy had to pay with a debit card. By the time I realised my mistake, it was too late. I know he never would have accepted cash from me if I'd offered to split the bill of his meal. He didn't seem angry about it - he is a nice guy - but I feel really bad.
It's unlikely I'll see him again for another month or two, since our contact with each other is pretty sporadic. But I just want him to know that I didn't mean to be selfish and maybe buy him something else to make up for it. If I tell him directly though he might just refuse again. What would you suggest I do to make amends? I don't know of any jobs he might be qualified for and I already have several friends who I've promised to help look for work. (We're all in our early 20's)
Thanks in advance for your input.
Dear Guilty Canadian,
So you put your foot in it. There is nothing you can do at this point. Do not send him a gift - that would be the worst thing you could do. And don't apologize. You have just learned your lesson and remember next time you see him you tell him before you walk in to the restaurant that this is on you and if he asks why just say, it will make me feel good. Then go about enjoying each other's company.
You say you could not eat anymore but then you finished the food from his plate. If you were full how could you eat more?? You should have suggested that he have the waiter pack it up and he should take it home. This is done in all restaurants. Restaurants are prepared for this.
I think you need a little help in social procedures. I'm sorry your friend can't find a job and it is very nice of you to try to help him locate one. Has he had any training in any field? You say you are all in your early 20's - that's great. Is he in school? He could try to get something right in school. He should see the counselor or the dean. That is what I did and I got the job. He could also go to any agency.
A good frienship is hard to find and if this is a good one you don't want to loose it. You have just learned your lesson and I am sure you will be a better man because of it.
Best in your manners and good luck to your friend finding a job.
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