Money Etiquette, with a twist
October 4, 2016 12:16 AM   Subscribe

I have an entirely inappropriate strong crush even though I'm a married parent, but that's not really what this question is about.

I'm trying to work through it, I'm not going to act on it, this question is helping. It's pretty easy for me to avoid interacting with this person. But now...

We were trying to sell something on a local "for sale" board and he was the first and only one to claim it. I made sure my husband (who doesn't know him but knows that I know him) did most of the "face time" during the transaction, but when he left my husband said he didn't bring any money (we were asking $50) and my husband told him that he "sees [me] enough so you can work it out with her" (but as mentioned above I really don't see him a lot... I think my husband was just passing the buck because he didn't know what else to say). So... yeah now what? I really want to just write and say "Hey forget the money" so I can forget about following up with him. But is that too weird? My husband had no problem when I mentioned this, we really don't need the money, and as previously demonstrated he likes to avoid awkward "money dealings" as much as I do.

Or maybe I should just shoot a brief email saying "you can drop a check in the inter-office mail to me, thanks!" but our inter-office mail has a terrible reputation.

I'm tempted to just wait and see if he brings it up first but as anyone who's been in this situation knows, that is a huge crush feeder scenario. I'm struggling right now.

So, what's the advice on the green? Thank you all.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Hi, you can drop a check in the inter-office mail to me, thanks." Is correct. After that no follow ups, just keep it professional.
posted by artdrectr at 12:22 AM on October 4, 2016 [22 favorites]

If you suggest dropping the money he might ask to make it up to you by buying you lunch. Even in relationships without a crush going on, having some sort of exchange as a gesture of appreciation is common.

I'd ask the person to send me the money via PayPal. Simple, effective, secure.
posted by toomanycurls at 12:34 AM on October 4, 2016 [25 favorites]

Just write him an email saying "You can Paypal the money to [email], thanks."
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:55 AM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Or maybe I should just shoot a brief email saying "you can drop a check in the inter-office mail to me, thanks!" but our inter-office mail has a terrible reputation.
If you were willing to forego the payment entirely then you should not care if it goes awry in the office mail. So that is what I'd do.
posted by rongorongo at 2:47 AM on October 4, 2016 [22 favorites]

Your gut is telling you that Mr. Crush only claimed the item so enable a means to interact with you. I think you also think he will see any pickup of the connection by you as tacit agreement to some subterfuge, and that you are playing along. You have to decide to cut him off. Otherwise I think you are feeding your ego, perhaps? Or playing office politics?

There are only 2 viable options, as I see it:
- Tell him you're too busy to handle it and he needs to send it somehow, be it snail mail to your house, interoffice mail, paypal etc.
- Forget the $50 and tell your husband he welshed.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:18 AM on October 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't do "forget the money" because then he may pull the "I am in your debt; let me make it up to you" card. Maybe send a 'request' for the amount to his email using Square Cash? That's how my friends and I pay each other back for dinner and whatnot.
posted by destructive cactus at 3:37 AM on October 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Is this crush mutual? If so, you're going to have to decide not to play that game and just head it off at the pass very obviously. Did he take the thing you were selling? If so the 'Hi, [husband] said to contact you directly re: the $50 for [item], could you [paypal/internalmail] it directly. Thanks, Bye.' And cc your husband into the exchange.

If he didn't take the thing with him, just leave it. If he approaches you directly say oh hi yeah thing is still for sale so just drop me the cash and I'll leave it on your desk.

Sometimes the best way to pop a crush is to just have some boring, non-charged interactions happen.
posted by freya_lamb at 6:13 AM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

Does the fact that he showed up to perform a financial transaction without the money needed to fulfill his end of the deal not make you a little less crushy? That would turn me off the guy immediately. I would ignore the whole thing. $50 is a small price to pay for some crush-killer juju.
posted by crazy sniffable at 6:34 AM on October 4, 2016 [25 favorites]

Seriously! To build on crazy sniffable's comment above, this guy is a game playing asshole. The proof is that you asked a question about this guy two years ago, you are married with a child, and I promise you the kind of attraction you describe is the result of dealing with a clever charismatic narcissist. This current "trick" or grab for your attention is not evidence of anything genuine. Just the opposite! He showed up without the money or pretended not to have it when he saw a way to manipulate further direct contact with you. That's what dishonest assholes like this guy do to amuse themselves at the expense of others.

I think you should send one request for payment via Square, then block his phone and email address for all time. Forgetthe money. If he approaches you in person, tell him to contact your husband about the transaction. In fact, make sure the request for the Square transaction comes from an account your husband set up, and from your husband's email or phone.

This guy is gross. Put your husband in the position of dealing with him and move on mentally and practically. Don't fall for this game, instead let this be the cure that opens your eyes to what a selfish user this guy is. He's the lowest. He only means you and your family harm. I can't think of anything less sexy or attractive than coming between a committed couple with a young child. Can you?
posted by jbenben at 7:35 AM on October 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Forget the money. Don't be the first to initiate contact with him. If he initiates contact, direct him right back to your husband.

Anything else is the wrong answer for you, sorry.

Also, I concur, this guy sounds like an asshole.
posted by stockpuppet at 7:46 AM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

He very intentionally did not show up with the money so he could string you along. He's playing a dangerous and cruel game with you. Get the money via interoffice mail so there's no possibility of having to interact with him again, block him on FB and get him out of your life.
posted by snowymorninblues at 7:53 AM on October 4, 2016

FYI OP didn't say they posted the previous question. Just that it (=the answers) helped her. I'd go with the paypal suggestion.
posted by The Toad at 8:41 AM on October 4, 2016 [5 favorites]

It's pretty easy for me to avoid interacting with this person. But now...

How long have you been avoiding interactions with this person? If it's been more than say, six months or so, I think that you might want to consider using the freshness of his gross seeming behavior here to look him in the eye and extinguish this crush from your heart.

It's possible that, by avoiding him, you're keeping him in your mind. There's something to be said for that in the first month or two after you realize that your feelings are inappropriate, but maybe you've lived with them for long enough now that they've started to scar over? So going to visit him at his desk to ask for the money that he owes you might be a good chance for you to remind yourself that he's not all that.

But, if you're not there yet (like, if you really think that seeing him again will stoke some kind of fire in your heart) then asking for payment via Paypal/Square/interoffice mail after waiting a week or so to see if he takes the initiative is reasonable.

Saying "don't worry about it" is kind of weird in this situation. You didn't spot him $5 for coffee or something that you'd have reason to expect him to reciprocate. He isn't a good friend who is down on his luck and needed $20 for gas or groceries. He's a co-worker who entered into a transaction with your husband to exchange a chunk of money for a good. He has the good, he needs to make good.
posted by sparklemotion at 9:22 AM on October 4, 2016

I wouldn't do the interoffice mail thing for the simple fact that if he stiffs you you're always going to wonder whether he did in fact send the payment and it got lost. Therefore PayPal, preferably to your husband's email address. That way, either you'll get the money (good) or he won't pay which has got to be a crush-killer (even better!). Also it's very odd to show up to do a transaction and not bring any money.
posted by hazyjane at 9:35 AM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Tell your husband that the guy gives you the creeps and insist that he deal with this awkward money dealing cleanly, crisply, and promptly.
posted by at at 9:55 AM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

In my book, this is what Venmo is for. Money stops being a personal thing through two individuals where there's a forced interpersonal interaction. You just open an app on your phone, tell it to send $50 to Anonymous, and move on with your life.

Tell this person to Venmo you.
posted by Sara C. at 10:01 AM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

I presume he picked up the item at your house. So have him drop the check off (or even cash) in an envelope in your mailbox. I've done that lots of times. Zero hassle.
posted by Dragonness at 10:05 AM on October 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

Notify him by email of your preferred method of getting the money or give him a couple of the options above. You are more likely to get the money if you give them an option that works for them. Not everyone has paypal. I would list two options in the email in order to reduce the odds that he writes back and says "I do not have paypal... blah blah blah."

So, I would say something like "My husband told me you were going to pay me the $50 you owe us. If you have paypal, you can send the money to If that doesn't work for you, it would be fine to drop a check in an envelope in our mailbox at your convenience. Thanks."

As noted above, do not go with interoffice mail if it is flakey because you want to know with a high degree of certainty that it is his fault if you do not get the check. You also do not want to intentionally or inadvertently leave yet more openings for conversations with the man.

I would not make any assumptions at this point, but if he welshes, I would absolutely use that as a thing to focus on to help kill the crush. Furthermore, since you are married, if he plays any games here that seem suspiciously designed to drag this out and give him excuses to talk with you, I would also mentally rake him over the coals for that as well. The only way this makes the crush worse is if he promptly pays you and is a perfect gentleman about the whole thing (hint: humans tend to not be that stellar).

Part of the reason you want to make no assumptions at this point is because you want to give him every opportunity to be good without bias setting him up to fail from your end. Then, if he proves to be an asshole, you have clear data, not muddied by your issues. Learning something ugly about someone "beyond a shadow of a doubt" is a good way to start cooling your jets on an inconvenient crush.
posted by Michele in California at 11:04 AM on October 4, 2016 [2 favorites]

"Hey Bob, my paypal is _______. Send me the money for the thing when you get a chance."
posted by MsMolly at 2:21 PM on October 4, 2016

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