I have a really good friend of mine, who has fallen on hard times. He got screwed over by his old boss, which made him lose his job, house and girlfriend (within a 4 week period). He's an immigrant to the UK and he has no immediate family he can contact, his parents are deceased and as far as I can gather he has no contact with his siblings.

So I've taken him in and he's been living with me for around 2 months. He suffers from Bipolar disorder, quite severely. Which in turn has made it harder for him to find the motivation to get a job (although recently after around 5 weeks of spending most of his time in his room, he is starting to look for work which is a nice change and he wants to better himself, it's just come a little too late) and do other day to day stuff. I want to emphasise he's not lazy, but he's in a very enclosed mindset right now.

I really don't mind looking after him financially, it's in my nature to leave no man behind, but I also have three kittens to feed and the expenses of feeding me, him and the kittens (my other housemates also help out with the kittens) are racking up quite an expensive bill, weekly. I can normally afford it fine but I'm moving literally next week and with the cost of moving, finding a new place and the rest of my wage from the job I've just left, I don't know how much longer the rest of my money will last me. This is the tricky part, my other housemates have agreed to keep him here rent free when I go as long as I can help out financially (to them, it's not their problem which I understand) and under the condition that he does keep looking for work and to better himself.

What I've tried already

  • Checking any eligibility for government benefits, but as he's an immigrant and with his boss taking away his taxes and not declaring him as an employee, he technically hasn't worked long enough to be eligible on paper (you need a minimum of 6 months work in the UK), but in reality has.
  • Speaking to him and explaining that the cost of living is expensive, but he just takes it to the extreme because he thinks he's a burden and literally ate beans for three days to avoid me spending more money. Which is not what I wanted, as it's no good for his health.
  • Being direct and up front, by telling him that he really needs to find a job (this was before he started looking) otherwise he won't be able to live with me much longer. But now he's looking for work, he still isn't getting hired and I can't go back on my word.

I'm quite mentally drained from the whole situation. I've learned my lesson for next time I want to do this with someone, but I don't have a clue what I can do now. From my viewpoint I've exhausted all options (that I can see), I'm hoping someone who has been in the same situation or something similar can shed some light.

How can I approach this so we both have an understanding of the situation and attempt to find a common solution?

Note: I have no problem putting any more effort in whilst I'm here or gone as long as he is in a good position in the future, it's just financially. I'm nearly done.

  • 1
    Your first bulletpoint confuses me. Is his ex-boss screwing him over by not doing the paperwork?
    – JAD
    Sep 8, 2017 at 14:37
  • 1
    @JarkoDubbeldam yeah literally lied to him for months, he's already going through the legal process to try and get some retribution for it, but no results as of yet. Sep 8, 2017 at 14:40
  • Any chances of getting him into therapy for his mental health issues? Does he have coverage for that? Sep 8, 2017 at 16:12
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    @BradleyWilson I apologise, I didn't mean it was on you to arrange this. Actually, none of it should be on you. I have no clever ideas on how to solve this painlessly so best of luck for you both. Sep 8, 2017 at 17:29
  • 1
    For people falling through all the governmental holes possibly the church may help?
    – Bookeater
    Sep 8, 2017 at 21:02

3 Answers 3



I let a friend and their girl friend move in with my husband and myself temporally because they would have been homeless otherwise. What started off as a short term fix ended up being them living at our house for about 5 months while myself and my husband tried to help them navigate what would be the best solution for them. Both of these people had no marketable skills, and only one was employed part time. They were both living a large distance away from their friends and family and were under the impression for quite some time that they would be able to buy a house and move to a place where they had no connections, had never been to, had no jobs waiting, and had no money saved(also 'the place' changed frequently). They also both suffered from various forms of psychological disorders, so I feel your pain. (long story short we worked out that the best solution for them was to move back to the town where their family was, and where they could both get jobs and afford rent).


One thing I would suggest is to break up his problems into smaller pieces. When people who have a hard time dealing with emotional stability feel overwhelmed it can exacerbate things and trigger them more frequently. If you start by breaking up each of his problems into small pieces and try to find a solution to each of them, you can then organize them into what should be tackled first and this might help him make progress. I have no idea what kind of a job he is looking for but when I lived in the UK I got a job as a cleaner as a holdover during tough times. If you break his problems out and have him using something like future authoring it might help him put things in perspective and set some long term goals to look forward to. I think once you have him break his problems out into small pieces, and then come up with possible solutions for each, and work out a goal for him to work towards he will probably start to feel better and will have a greater chance of getting a job. Another thing he could do is look for temporary online jobs, or try to get a job with a temp agency just in the short term. It might also help to ask him for help, in the sense that if you are just about financially maxed out it might make him feel like he has accomplished something if you sit down together and he tries to help you with your budget to see if there are any places that he can help save you some money(ie, could you do something like cut your food budget by having him cook/budget all meals until he has a job using something like budget bites) .

Good luck, I'm sure if you work together you can both work this out.

  • Welcome! really good answer. what a great suggestion on getting him involved in the budgeting, I never actually thought of that! I will certainly try it out and we can sit down and map out what steps we'll take further and come up with solutions to the smaller problems. Sep 8, 2017 at 20:43

Leave no man behind is a good policy as long as you are not left behind along with your friend. Dragging someone around is a beautiful thing for a human to do. Takes a lot of courage to be able to just take someone in like that and feed him and take care of him for that long.

The reason I appreciate that so much was, I came to the US from India and failed in too many classes while doing my Master's program. I was already married to a US citizen, but I was on visa and getting kicked out of college left me illegal. The lawyer fee was $2500 and the paperwork fee was $1600 to even APPLY for my green card.

I had a lot of friends. Everyone helped me out as much as they can. I still owe 2 of my closest friends money. I owe one somewhere around $3000 and the other $500.

After nearly two years of being illegal, I caved and went to my mom. She gave me money and I applied for my green card and got myself a job. But you know, there is a limit to how much you can borrow from friends.

I had jobs. I ALWAYS had jobs. I was living in an apartment with 7 other Indians and my wife! That was our first house together as a married couple. But to get my green card, we had to have a shared lease and so we had to move to our own place. The rent was $700 a month! I was making $350-$400 a week! Paying all the bills was impossible, but my friends always came through.

What I am trying to say is, "no man left behind" does not mean "all men get carried to the top". It means "no man left behind without at least a stick to climb with". You offer a helping hand, not your hand itself.

I understand getting a job is hard, but there is ALWAYS something you can do to make money. I worked as a dishwasher, landscaper, cabinetry, rideshare driver (had my license before it expired and I could not renew it because I was illegal, but was good money and they don't check for legality), Gas station clerk, Indian grocery store clerk, I even cleaned up people's houses for money at one point. Made a $100 bucks for every house cleaned.

The bipolar disorder plays a big role in all this, and I understand that. But if he were to open his mind up to literally anything that pays, he'd be able to get to the top faster and easier. Or at least, he'd be able to get to the top without you having to wait there in the bottom with him.

What can you do to facilitate this:

Sit down and look at jobs with him. ANY jobs. Convince him that making any amount of money in an ugly job is better than not making money at all. Both of you sit down with each of your computers and send out your resumes/phone numbers to literally every job there is. Menial labor included. Expand his horizons for him. Find a job that is not something he wants to do but pays good money and try to get him excited about it! Look up about the job on Google and see what the job entails. Talk about it like it sounds fun.

My wife did that to me when I had to get off my ass and get myself a job, when I had to quit the job I had for a worse job, when I had to wake up in the morning and clean up clogged overflowing toilets. There needs to be someone to motivate your friend in this situation.

See if you can get him excited about different opportunities.

What if he doesn't want to take anything that comes his way:

Time to give up on your belief "no man left behind". It's going to be hard, but I lost 5 or 6 friends because of me trying to cling on to their feet and take the free ride up. I don't blame them for kicking me off their feet. After a point, every man stands for himself and only himself.

I hope this helps.

P.S.: The irony of this is, in my case, my wife has the bipolar disorder! :)


You are in a difficult situation. On one hand you care about your friend and want to help him on the other hand this has had both a financial and an emotional cost for you. You might feel you are responsible for him because he has nobody else. I can understand that. He does, too.

Telling your friend you won't be able to financially support him isn't going to make your friend change his mind about you and you shouldn't feel guilty (if you do) that you aren't able to help and there is no need to apologize or explain why you can't. You actually both feel bad because of this.

Your friend knows you care about him and he feels bad for not being able to help himself. But he honestly might not be able to, if he's depressed. I don't know if he sees a therapist but he probably needs to until he feels strong enough to support himself whether he will find a job or not. So, you can sit down and look for jobs together like Crazy Cucumber suggested, which I find an excellent idea but perhaps you could also mention that he might need psychological support at the same time.

Your housemates have agreed to let your friend stay with them if you help pay for him. Are you able to do that at all? If yes, then give him a deadline. Do emphasize that you care about him and you will be supportive but that you can't help past so and so month or week (date). This might help motivate him. He knows that he needs to be more persistent about looking for/getting a job. If you can only help for another two weeks, then this is the deadline.

I appreciate you care about your friend, but you shouldn't have to go through this alone. I know there are social workers out there (social services should be part of the UK's NHS) that could offer some help. Your friend feels he is a burden because he understands you feel drained like you said. I wouldn't tell him how this has felt for you because he knows and it will make him feel even worse. He just probably feels helpless and that's why I strongly encourage you to look into both social services and services for immigrants.

Again, if your friend is doing better (psychologically) and if you feel that all he needs help with is finding a job, then focus on helping him with that the next week or so.

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