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Money, Friends & Manners: Paying Back Money Borrowed From Friends

September 19, 2009

A friend of mine asked me a great question and I thought I would share this with you.

My friend, Angilee, asked what she should do about $5o she loaned to a friend, Paige, who promised to pay it back on their next payday.

Angilee loaned money to Paige because Paige had locked her keys in her car at work and didn’t have any way to pay the locksmith until she was paid from work at the end of the work week.

Well, that work week came and went and there is no sign of the $50.  As a matter of fact, the entire summer came and went and not even $1 was paid back to Angilee.

friendsbannerWhat should Angilee do?

Should she forget about the $50?  I mean, Angilee and Paige have both mentioned the money since it was “loaned” out.

Paige keeps making comments like, “I didn’t forget about what I owe you.”  But, now Angilee is getting frustrated because, although she wants the $50, Angilee doesn’t want to make waves.

So, what should you do if you find yourself in this predicament?

Here are some suggestions on what to do from each persons angle.

Angilee’s angle:

  • Angilee should casually confront Paige about the money.  She should see where Paige’s head s on the subject.
  • Angilee should take the information she gets from talking to Paige about the money to come up with a plan.
  • If Paige has honestly been forgetful and she doesn’t have all the funds right now, then she should let Paige know that she can just pay back $10 at a time, until the $50 is paid.
  • If she finds that Paige is being evasive about paying the money back, then Angilee will have to decide if she needs to put her foot down.  Pay up by this day or you get nothing from me, including my friendship.  (You don’t have to say this, but this is a marker for you.  A line drawn in the sand, if you will.)
  • If Angilee NEVER gets her $50, then it’s probably not a loss of a friend.  Just the loss of someone who doesn’t have the standard of paying back what she borrows.  People like this need you to be financially available for them.  Don’t be.

Paige’s angle:

  • If Paige really values the relationship with Angilee, she would apologize for the length of time it’s taken to pay Angilee and begin to pay the money back.
  • Paige could be the one to offer a payment plan, paying maybe $5 or $10 at a time.  It’s a gesture that shows, in good faith, you’re willing to pay the money back.
  •  This would at least show that she acknowledges the fact that Angilee was there to help her when she needed it and she is respectful enough to pay Angilee back.
  • Even if Angilee says, “Hey, don’t worry about paying me back.”, Paige should still show her gratitude for Angilee’s gesture by giving her a  a small token of her appreciation.  How about a “Thank You” card, with a $50 bill inside.  I know Angilee may have said not to pay it back, but it’s good etiquette to reciprocate the gesture of kindness that was given to you.  Go ahead, pay it back, anyway.

Finally, money and friendship are a really bad mix.  Somehow, some people feel they don’t have to pay back money they borrow from family and friends.  It’s a self-righteous viewpoint.  Unless someone is “giving” you money, you owe it back.  It is how it is, no matter who the person is.  It’s arrogant to believe that just because you have friends or family with money, and you “borrow” money from them, that you don’t have to pay the money back.

Actually, yes you do.  You owe the money back and whether or not you pay it back, will be a testament to your character.  What kind of friend are you?

One Comment leave one →
  1. only1tcb permalink
    September 19, 2009 10:43 pm

    Since it’s only $50 (and I know “only” in this case a relative term) she should just tell her “friend” not to worry about it. But she should never loan money to this person again.

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