A good friend of mine has quietly stopped paying me back for relatively small purchases, things like movie tickets. I’ve been poor most of my life and have only very recently started making the same kind of money she does. I know she has a family to support, and she and her husband both work full time. I don’t want to be a jerk who confronts their friends and demands they account for every last cent. I’m also generally conflict-averse, which is why I haven’t brought it up before.
On the other hand, $20 is still a lot of money for me. I can usually absorb the cost, but it’s not always easy, and it’s frustrating and hurtful when she says she’ll pay me back and then doesn’t. Recently I asked if she would get food for me before an event we were both going to and said I’d happily pay her back or we could call it even on something I’d bought for her at her request. Not only did she not do it at all, but she didn’t acknowledge that she still owed me for the other purchase. She has since made purchases in the same price range, or less, that I am expected to pay her back for, rather than even going, “How about I pay for this and we call it even on you paying for that?”
Is there a way to approach her about this without coming off as a petty asshole? Or should I just let it go and accept that sometimes you just spend money on your friends without any expectation of return?
—Nickel and Dimed