When Borrowing Money Breaks The Bond Of Friendship



Rihanna has just announced the dates for the US leg of her upcoming ‘Diamonds’ tour. One of your best friends is a major Rihanna fan and has supported the rise of Rihanna’s superstardom since the dawn of her music career. As tickets are scheduled to go on sale within hours, your friend asks if you will do them a favor by purchasing two seats and exclusive VIP passes to the local show. Your friend has never met Rihanna face to face. They also insist that the seats be as close to the stage as possible; as they refuse to watch Rihanna from the nose bleed section. Without hesitation, you agree to buy the tickets and passes; deciding to simply charge the fees to your credit card. You tell your friend that they will have to pay you back. Your friend excitedly responds, ‘Of course…thank you! We’re going to have sooo much fun. AHH! Rihanna!’

It has now been three weeks since the two of you danced the night away to Rihanna performing all of her number one singles, live. Sitting in the fourth row of the downtown arena, the two of you enjoyed all $383.00 worth of your concert ticket price and accompanying VIP passes. You have since paid off the $766.00 charge to your Citibank Visa. However, your friend still hasn’t made mention of the half they still owe you. Meanwhile, you remember that your friend purchased a new outfit and a pair of shoes to attend the concert. They have been eating out and doing happy hour events with co-workers over the past few weeks. Their household bills are obviously paid, as the gas, water and electric were still powered on during your recent visits. It simply appears that your friend has neglected to pay back the money you fronted for them to see their favorite pop star in concert. Now, you’re beginning to ‘feel some kind of way’.

As time continues to pass by, you find yourself growing increasingly annoyed. You don’t want to be a jerk by having to ask for the ticket money. However, your personal financial obligations are still pending. The optimistic side of your character is whispering, ‘maybe my friend forgot about the money and simply needs to be reminded.’ Meanwhile, your logical side is screaming, ‘the bitch doesn’t want to pay the money back now that the show has come and gone!’ You don’t want to be negative or focus on the reality of your present situation alongside your friend. However, you can’t help the fact that your feelings are now hurt.

A friend borrowed a large some of money, agreed to repay it, and is refusing to acknowledge their debt. If they are facing a financial hardship and can’t repay the money at this time, you’re wondering why they haven’t communicated their issue with you. You’ve assumed that the two of you are close enough to discuss problems of any sort. Still, more than two months later, he or she hasn’t said a thing. To make matters worse, it seems your friend is avoiding your calls, text messages and emails.

Loaning or advancing money to a friend can create major issues in the relationship. My father has always taught me to never expect to receive a pay back when loaning large amounts of money to friends or family. He said, in certain situations, if someone had the extra finances  to repay a loan, they wouldn’t need to borrow money in the first place. Often times, we allow our friends to borrow money, but we rarely give them a specific expiration date to repay the loan. Since we are usually lending friends money from the kindness of our hearts, the idea of receiving it back isn’t an initial issue or thought. Some friends will take advantage of this kindness; especially as they assume that ‘you got it’.

No one forgets when they owe someone else a large sum of money. What some friends will do is selfishly begin deducting from the amount owed; ‘Remember that time when we were in line at Rita’s, you didn’t have your card & I just paid for both of our ice cream cones?’  As they are fronting money when the two of you are hanging out, your friend is actually subtracting the little amounts from the large sum they haven’t repaid to you. If they have swiped their card for two tickets at the movie theater or paid the tab for drinks at the bar one night, somehow, they believe these purchases are helping to clear the debt.

To avoid these discrepancies, it becomes extremely important that we treat the process of lending money to our friends as a business transaction. It is not rude or offensive to create verbal or written terms regarding the dates and installments that money should be repaid. Always be detailed and clear with people about when you want to be repaid and if its okay that they pay half in two weeks and the other half a month later. Open the conversation in the very beginning, and tell your friend that if they run into a financial bind, contact you ahead of the day that you are expecting to receive your money. Request to be repaid in the same form that you landed the money as well. If you loaned a friend $350.00 in cash, tell them whether or not you are willing to accept a check in return.When one friend is charging everyone’s Rihanna tickets on their credit card, it should be discussed that the amount to be repaid must include the taxes and other associated fees. These terms should be agreed upon at the exact time the money is loaned and borrowed.

When arrangements are openly discussed, there leaves little room for a gray area of misunderstanding or confusion.

Also, lend money to your friend with caution and care. Don’t loan what you can’t afford to lose. If they are asking you for $1,000 and you know they don’t have the income to repay such a large amount, possibly offer them $500 instead. You may also consider loaning them the $1,000 and only requesting that they repay half. We must accept responsibility for the financial decisions we make for the sake of family and friends. It isn’t intelligent to ‘lend’ money to a friend who has proven over time that they do not pay their debts in total…if at all.

As uncomfortable as it may make you feel to approach a friend about money, you will feel a lot worse having to let go of their friendship altogether.

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