Khortneeeeee3 got a letter!!

Dear Khortne3, 

Recently, a transgender friend of mine posted a 'go-fund-me' style blog on facebook asking for family and friends to send him money ($2000) in order for him to continue his transition into becoming a man. I support my friend in their operation, but I also know that they live in Los Angeles, drive an expensive car, and plan to attend college in the upcoming seasons. I liked their page, but did not contribute financially. A week later I received a message that started off chatty, but quickly got down to the point: can you send money to my cause? 

Though I understand the position they are in must be emotionally taxing, I too have medical bills to pay and expensive future plans that I'm saving for. Am I being selfish for not wanting to send $5 to my friend's Venmo account? Or is my friend's ask inappropriate when it seems like something he could pay for by himself in a short period of time with some planning?

My last questions is this: either way should I send him the money because he asked and he's a friend of mine, or do I tell him how it makes me uncomfortable to be asked for money in such a way?

-Financially confused

Dear Financially Confused,

This is a tricky, tricky problem.  If they were the letter writer, I would advise, NO NO NO, please don't hit up your young friends for money.  As we grow into adulthood, a necessary skill is discerning whom to ask for what.  There are friends you can call at two in the morning who will invite you over to do shots of whiskey and weep with you when you have a broken heart, but can't be relied on for income tax advice; there are those who will bring soup when you're sick, but aren't particularly astute about your emotional life, and those who can contribute money to your cause, but wouldn't hold your forehead when you're throwing up.  

These are merely a few of the categories; I'm sure we could go on and on, Financially Confused, but you get the point, which is that friends aren't interchangeable.  They each contribute unique and invaluable gifts to our well-being, and make life not just bearable, but awesome, and they teach us how to be good friends through their unexpected kindnesses.  The trick is to remember not to set everyone up for disappointment by expecting the wrong thing from the right person.  But alas, he didn't write, you did, so I'll focus on you.

It's probably a disappointing practice to decide what others can or cannot afford.  Me, I drink coffee out way too much; I should sing while I save, but I just get bored, exactly like Bob Dylan.  If your friend thinks he needs financial help with his surgery, there's probably no convincing him otherwise.  Someone could appropriately admonish me to save more for retirement by staying holed up alone in my bunker eating crackers and popcorn, but jeez.  It would bug the pants off me.  (Is that a saying, Financially Confused?).  So, let it go, about their car and their LA lifestyle.  (Did you see LALA Land, btw?  Me neither, of course, because of my movie disability.  But you knew that.  If you do see it, let me know if it's one I could follow.  Keep in mind that the last movie I understood all by myself had only three characters:  an African American man, a red-headed woman, and a white guy with dreds.)

The second thing I'd like to say is that gifts should always be given with generosity, and never because you feel coerced.  What your buddy doesn't understand is that you're the go to person for keeping his spirits high, backing his decision, and standing up for NO HATE.  But you're not the deep pockets friend!  (If you were, I'd so be hitting you up right now!)  So, say that.  Say, "wow, my dear one, it sounds so challenging on so many levels!  Emotionally, physically, financially.  I can't begin to understand all the stress that you're dealing with, and my thoughts are with you.  But alas, I'm not able to contribute money.  I wish you all the best!"

You don't have to explain why.  In the same manner that he doesn't have to explain why he drives a fancy car.  I would leave out the part about how it makes you uncomfortable.  If it becomes a habit, like the next go-fund-me is for his car, and then his new shirt, and then a fence for the dog (oh, wait, that's me...), well, bring it up.  But for now, leave it alone.

Let me know how it goes.  

All my best,
N'3lvra (Pronounced Court-knee, BECAUSE THE THREE IS SILENT!!!)


  1. Wait, you have a dog? Did I miss the acquisition thereof?

    You are a wise woman, Betsy.

    1. Yes, a dog! Just a few days ago... A super sweet 2 y.o. yellow lab. :-)

      I hope all is well with you and yours. xo

    2. Lovely! All's fine here. And you?

      Will you tell us more about your dog eventually? Labs are awfully nice dogs.

  2. Sound advice! No explanation needed. Now go for a walk with your new four-legged friend.

    1. Thanks Jono. Yes, mostly I walk my dog now. It's a good job.

  3. Great advice with an excellent explanation of why it is so great.

  4. It's funny- I have a dear friend who did do a Go Fund Me for chest surgery to help with his transitioning and I gladly gave to it. Now this man and his wife of many years both work as hard as anyone on earth and yet, because of their jobs (she teaches elementary school and he manages a Co-op supermarket) they have almost no disposable income at all. They also have a child who has autism and they pay for several different types of therapy for him. I mean- they have a damn hard life but they just keep on doing what they do with love and determination and I was so happy that my friend got the money to get his surgery.
    But really, none of this has anything to do with that letter or your answer which I think was proper and correct. We all ARE different sorts of friends and shouldn't be expected to take on different roles in our friends' lives.
    Or something like that.
    You said it much better.
    Sorry. I'm not myself today. Actually, I rarely am which leads me to wonder who myself is but that's another question for another time.
    Enjoy your dog.

    1. The dog is so very enjoyable. I hope you're yourself again! One of your selves, anyway. :-)

  5. A dog!!!! Holy cow. Me and Felix will have to visit.

    An organization I've been trying to ignore because there are so many other things that are more important at this juncture in our human history called me today and agreed to give me a membership for $20 instead of $150. I mean, WTF.

    Anyway, my former son-in-law did a go fund me to move to Olympia and fell on his face there as he has been doing his whole life and I didn't contribute. I love him but I can't help him with his pain/struggle etc. Am I being 'nasty' and unfeeling? I don't know but he's got some things going for him. He's white, male, straight, able-bodied and reasonably intelligent. And he's 45.

    But a dog???!!!! Labs are great. Don't get a white poodle. Terrible mistake. He has a good opinion of himself however.

    1. Yes, a dog!! The beauty of a white poodle is that he doesn't shed. Shedding is one of Jasmine's main hobbies! xo

  6. Great response. Next time I need advice I'm coming to you N'3lvra.

  7. You response is perfect, and what you say about different sorts of friends is definitely worth taking to heart. You are very wise.


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