Taking friends in


Ok, this happened Saturday afternoon, and I’d like some input on what you would have done in this situation.

It concerns a girl I’ve known since we were both in second grade. During my college years, she broke contact with me and about a year ago I was able to talk to her on the phone. She had two young children and was “married” to their father, but not in the church. And the things she has said since then, make me question whether or not they are even legally married.

So fast forward to Saturday. She showed up on my doorstep asking me to let her and the kids stay at my house for 2 weeks while her husband went to Houston to work for a restaurant. It really threw me for a loop, because the last time I had heard from her she was throwing the usual big plans around…med school…buying an overpriced house…you get the general idea.

I told her that I’d need to discuss it with my husband and we decided that we didn’t feel comfortable with the situation. For one, I’m not that close to her and I also do not trust this man she is with. Also, my husband found it disturbing that her husband was sending her to ask for help. So when she called back I explained that it wasn’t going to work, but I had a list of catholic charities and shelters if she was in that desperate of a situation.

Then more of the story started coming out. About her husband’s bad credit, how she couldn’t work because she had to stay home, how they’d lost their house because they didn’t make the rent, how her family didn’t talk to her, how they didn’t want to go to a shelter, etc. What was even worse was I discovered that her husband had intended to move into our house with them. So I gave her several suggestions of priests that I know can help her (and hopefully talk to the husband) and said I had a Walmart gift card she could have if she needed groceries or something, which she refused.

Do you think I did the right thing?


If she or her husband were considering making it a permanent arrangement - and lying about his having work elsewhere in order to get a foot into your door - then absolutely!

You’re not obliged to take a whole family in permanently under your roof by any means, but certainly not someone as devious and troubled as this couple sounds to be.

You have obligations first and foremost to your own family in terms of their welfare, which would be compromised by this.


That is pretty much what my husband and I thought…that the 2 week arrangement was going to be much longer and that they really have trouble honoring commitments.


Yes, you did the right thing.

She’s a manipulator at a minimum, and possibly worse.


If this happened to me, the answer would have been “you and the kids come on in and we will put a plan together”. DH would answer the same way.

We would then have helped the woman in need to find the services she needs to see to the well being of those kids.

The scripture where people asked Jesus “when were you hungry or thirsty or homeless and we did not help you?” comes to mind. If it would be a detriment to keep them for 2 weeks, okay - but could you not have extended hospitality for 2 days?

We would see it as a chance to pay back the times when WE have been in a rough spot and friends have stepped in.

Prayers for all involved.


Based on what you said in the post, I think you did do the right thing. You have an obligation to care for your fellow brothers and sisters, but you also have a right not to be taken advantage of.


If I hadn’t heard from someone in a year, and several years before the previous contact before that, I’d be very wary of the situation you described. We are told to help the orphaned and widowed, the hungry and homeless, but that does not always mean we must let them live in our house. Even the Good Samaritan took the wounded man to a shelter (inn) rather than on the journey with him. You did not just say no, you tried to help her with other suggestions and offers of groceries. It is not wise to let ourselves be suckered into bad situations because we are trying to be Christian.


My roommate in college learned early on about helping the “needy”. She interned in NYC over one summer. She’d get hit up by homeless people for money because they were supposedly “hungry”. She didn’t have money, so she started carrying food with her-- apples, sandwiches, soup packages, etc.

Oh, did she get cussed out by these supposedly hungry people when she produced FOOD out of her bag instead of money.

Yes, it is good to be wary and send people to professionals who can assess their need instead of just giving them money.

As to the woman wanting to move in, I’d be concerned I would come home and all my valuables would be gone.


I had a similar experience. A while ago, I use to go to a certain fast food restaurant after work to grab a bite to eat. There was a homeless man who almost always sits in front of the restaurant asking for money. The first time he asked, I didn’t have any change with me, and I felt bad. So the next time I went, I did give him money. Well, he “demanded” 2 dollars, which I gave him. But then, after that, every time I went there, he’d stick out 2 fingers, and said “two dollars!”, pretty aggressively. I did this several times, but I never saw him buy any food with it, with the restaurant right there and all. But I still felt bad about not giving him money, because he’s a mute old man whom I think is a veteran, so I stopped going to that restaurant altogether.

Yea, I still miss KFC.


I think it would’ve been a disaster had you let her come and stay in your home.

You did a good job on offering her alternatives.

But this situation is something you cannot fix. This ‘friend’ hasn’t been responsible in the past and it seems she hasn’t learned how to be yet…nor is she interested. It’s sad when kids are involved, they don’t deserve this. The best thing to do now is pray.


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