I thought it was a gift, but I guess it wasn’t if she wants $90.

My friend called me a few weeks ago and asked me if I wanted to go to a concert with her the next evening. She said she had an extra ticket, that one of the people she was going to go with backed out at the last minute, and that she tried to sell it on Craig’s List and couldn’t get any takers.

The concert was fine; it was for a band I don’t usually listen to, but I was happy to spend time with my friend and listen to some live music. We had a good time and I completely forgot about it until I got a message from her the other day telling me I owed her $90 for the ticket. That’s almost a hundred dollars! For a band I don’t even like! And I barely have a hundred dollars to spend on groceries, let alone a concert!

I feel very awkward and so far have avoided calling her back, because I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to pay her. I understood the ticket to be free and I feel like she only asked me to go because she didn’t want it to go to waste. But I also don’t want to be cheap or look like I’m trying to take advantage of her if I misunderstood her invitation. What should I do?

I wish you had told me what concert it was. Coldplay? Don’t pay. Phish? Pay double and send her flowers. Miley Cyrus? Leave a flaming bag of poop on her doorstep. Springsteen? Name your first-born child after her. Creed? Call her crying and ask why she hates you so much.

All logic points to you not having to pay, especially since it sounds like she gave you the ticket, got into some kind of financial jam, and decided a couple weeks later to pay her credit card bill with the proceeds from shaking you down. However: she’s generally icky, and I have a strict policy to never let icky people have a leg up on me in any fashion.

Send her a check, only hang out with her if it’s clear you’re not going to get a bill for it later, and the next time someone invites you to something like this, just say, “Hey, I’m going to go to the ATM before I meet you. How much will I owe you for the ticket?” If she says, “Nothing, it’s on me,” then you know and you can go and have fun. If she says, “Ninety dollars and I don’t take personal checks,” you can call her back later and tell her you forgot it was your grandmother’s half-birthday party and you won’t be able to make it, after all.

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