Ask Mary Jo: Friend's negativity & working together on finances

Hi Mary Jo,

I’ve had a friend for twelve years. We used to be super tight; however, the last few years she’s become super negative. Do I talk about the negativity or let the relationship slide?



Since you have invested twelve close years with this friend prior to her changing to a completely different person, I would advise you to talk to her. Try to schedule a meet up – maybe over coffee – and make it a point to listen to her. When people have an acute change in their personality, it may be due to a traumatic event that they are trying to work through or a physical illness. Many medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, and auto-immune diseases begin with symptoms of depression that can look like negativity if not explored deeper. Tell her you are concerned about her, and if you miss her, make sure she knows that. Being friends with positive people is uplifting and fun, but being a good friend means you’ll be there no matter what they’re going through.

Hi Mary Jo,

How do I get my husband to consult with me prior to making large purchases?



Finances are one of the top three reasons couples cite for getting a divorce; money secrets erode trust. Talk to your husband and set up an agreement about spending money as early in the marriage as possible. Here’s some tips to keep in mind during that talk.

  1. There’s no right way that works for everyone. Differences between the way couples spend money is not an issue if both partners agree to compromise and have a plan.
  2. Have a set point of when to talk to your partner about a purchase. You should have a budget and a specific amount of money you can spend from the account that requires both partner’s approval.
  3. Be transparent with expenditures. Many couples end up in credit card debt because they aren’t transparent with their partner about their expenditures. Be upfront and open about how much money is being earned and where it’s being spent.