A friend asks if he could borrow money from you. He promises to pay by next month. You, being a good friend, loaned him some cash to help ease his financial burdens.
That was a month ago and now, your friend is avoiding you. Whenever you get a chance to talk to him regarding his loan, he would give you an excuse about not having enough money yet and promises to pay you back as soon as possible.
This cycle could go on for several months. As a result, the friendship slowly turns sour and feelings get hurt. What used to be a great relationship becomes an emotional burden. Each month that the loan remains unpaid, you lose more hope on getting your money back. Consequently, feelings of anger and resentment towards your friend begins to consume you.
Is this situation familiar to you? If you were this person, how would you make your friend pay back what he owes? In your life, have you ever experienced ending a friendship because of money? How did you handle it?
Many times in our life, we would be asked by a family member or a friend if they could borrow some money. Reasons may differ but almost always, it’s our intention to be a good friend that moves us to extend a helping hand.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
This is a famous line from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Although I don’t totally subscribe to this advise, it does make a good point, doesn’t it? I remember a few months back, I wrote an article here on what to do when friends are trying to borrow money from you. Do you remember that post?
Anyway, in that article, I said that you should only lend out money which you can afford to lose. So if you find yourself having a difficult time getting paid back, then you can just let go. Yes, just forget about the loan.
Assess your financial situation and determine if you really need the money. If not, then it might be wiser to just let go. Forget about the money and take the lesson instead. Let go of the anger, don’t blame yourself for being so trusting and move on.
Of course you shouldn’t give up and let go without trying to resolve the situation. Here are some of the things you can do to make friends pay back the money they owe you.
Remind them about the loan a few days before his promised date of payment. Don’t feel awkward in doing this. A friendly email or a simple text message telling him that you need the money he promised for a personal obligation will not appear rude at all.
Set a specific date for the payment
When your friend fails to pay on the agreed day. Ask for a specific date when he can finally pay. Don’t take vague responses such as “next week” or “as soon as I get this money I’m expecting.” Also, the new date should be at most, two or three weeks away. Anything longer might encourage your friend to procrastinate in coming up with the money. And again, remind him about the loan a few days before the payment date.
Set a serious talk
In my opinion, when your friend is trying to delay the payment for the third time, the best thing to do is to sit down and have a serious and honest talk about the situation. Be straightforward and calm. Sincerely ask him the reason why he’s having a hard time meeting the payment deadline. Don’t be emotional during this talk. Instead, maintain a straight face and objectively offer him options such as:
- Giving partial or staggered payments in shorter intervals (this amount every week, etc.)
- Paying you in kind such as giving you things he owns with the same value (suggest what you want in exchange, but be reasonable)
- Doing some errands such as buying your weekly groceries (at least you get to save some of your personal time instead)
- Other options such as working part time in your business is also possible (just be creative and try to arrive at a compromise)
Should you pursue legal action?
If the money involved is a large sum and your friend is really being uncooperative. You can consider taking legal action. But before you do, I advise that you rethink everything and determine if it’s really worth it.
Your friend is innocent until proven guilty, which means you would have to substantiate evidence that he has indeed borrowed money from you and promised to pay it back. Fortunately, verbal agreements can be binding in the absence of a written contract although this evidence tends to be weak in court. Also, do consider that the law is complicated and anything could happen in the end.
What happens to the friendship?
It’s totally up to you to decide if you’ll still remain as friends after everything that has happened. Despite the fact that I’ve already seen so many friendships end because of money, I’ve also witnessed a handful who were able to survive this unpleasant experience and continue with the friendship as if it never happened.
How about you? What are your thoughts regarding this matter? What else would you advise someone who’s having difficulties with unpaid loans from friends? Please give them below as a comment and let’s share ideas.
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Photo courtesy of go-bunny
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