These two girls I know from Posh Uni. We started out in the same year, but they took a sabbatical and went away for a year (one of them was an Au Pair in London, don't know where the other one went). They were hitch-hiking from Campustown to Capital City one time and I gave them a lift. Turned out that we lived in the same dorm building and on the same floor. I helped one of them with her new computer - something I enjoy doing one way or the other - and sort of hung out with them the final year.
What bugged me though is that they only appeared when they needed help with something. Now, I don't mind giving a mate a lift or showing how to split a cable connection, but it did get somewhat annoying after a while.
Today - I mean, like ten minutes ago - one of them calls me up on MSN and says if I could do her a huge favor. I proceed cautiously. It seems that she needs to pay her dorm bill right now, or she'll be kicked out Monday. She's asking for money.
I didn't even bother asking how much she needed. First, the dorm costs at least a hundred Euro a month, if you've got a roommate, and if you live alone it's more like E150 - I should know, I paid that for two years straight. And if she's getting kicked out, she's obviously more than one month overdue. I don't have that sort of money to spare - my policy on loaning people money is to only give as much as you can afford losing; if you don't really expect it back, you don't get mad at a person, and if they do repay you, it's a pleasant surprise.
Second, it's not like this is an unforeseen expense, and by asking, she isn't exactly instilling in me the confidence that she will pay it back promptly.
Third, and related - a true friend wouldn't ask; I'll help out a friend if they are in serious trouble, but this is the sort of mess you make yourself and should clean up yourself. I have friends who make way less money than me and have expenditures that they can do nothing about, and still make ends meet somehow. I never borrow any sort of serious money myself (well, except from the bank) - the last time I borrowed any from a friend was less than a Euro, and only because there was nine of us in a cafe and it was easier than everybody dumping cash on me so I could pay the bill with a card. I still intend to pay her back tomorrow night, when the gang gets together again.
Fourth - that girl isn't really a friend, is she?
I told her that I'd been on vacation so cash is tight, and I'm only getting half a month's salary. Which is, by the way, perfectly true and another reason for not giving her the money.
A year ago exactly this same girl asked me to cosign her student loan (a thousand Euro-ish), completely out of the blue. She had the gall to call it a "business proposition". There is a practice among students with discernible official incomes to cosign each other's loans, or to cosign for somebody else for a fee - but it's not very smart to get a grand now and have to pay off seventeen thousand later...