I went out to dinner with a group of friends last week. After I got home, one of those friends called and said, “Kate stole the tip. I saw her.” There were a lot of us, and it was a really big tip at a nice restaurant. It makes me mad that not only did she steal from the waitress, she also really stole from her friends! If she needed the money, I would loan it to her, but I don’t think she does need it. I think she’s a klepto.
One other time I went out to lunch with Kate and the waitress chased us down the street to confront us about not leaving her a tip; I insisted that we had, and said maybe someone took it, because I had definitely left 20%. Now I’m thinking it was probably Kate! Do I do something about this, and if so, WHAT?
You’re lucky–it’s so nice and refreshing when a friend’s mental illness is right out there in the open. Sometimes I’m suspicious of those sneaky friends who don’t gossip, make muffins when you’re sick, water your ficus when you’re out of town, and take you out for martinis on your birthday. There’s just something weird about someone so normal.
Kate, on the other hand, is easy. She has a clearly defined mental illness that’s easy to address, at least on your part, because it’s so concrete and easily brought up. There’s no value judgment involved because there’s no dispute that stealing the tip is wrong. Don’t ambush her, Candid Camera-style, and try to catch her stealing a tip (although that might be fun), just bring it up some time when the two of you are together and relaxed. Suggest that she seek help, like therapy or a support group, and present it like you’re trying to help her, not like you’re angry or upset or think she’s a shitty person.
And don’t do it over lunch.