Money and Friends

November 18, 2007 5:57 PM

I have a long held belief that money and friends do not mix. If I can help it, I follow a few simple rules:

  1. Do not lend money to friends.
  2. Do not borrow money from friends.
  3. Repay money owed from social outings on the spot, or very quickly soon after.

I hate having to ask for my money back from a friend, and it will only happen once. That is, if you don’t take the initiative or feel the urgency to repay the money to me, that will be the last time that you can expect any monetary favours from me.

Once bitten and twice shy and all that – words spread quickly too if this is a consistent behaviour. You will find your social circle shrink as a result.

They say that you shouldn’t mix business with friends, and that is usually because of money. Two people may share similar interests and business ideas, but the way they think money and funds should be handle could be completely different. Only mix money and friends if you are prepared to lose that friend. This applies to lovers too.

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Do unto others …

I feel uneasy anytime I have to make a friend wait for their money back because I know how sucky it is to feel being owed money. And just like how you should handle any other kinds of debt (especially those with interests attached), if you come into any kind of windfall or if you have the spare cash in hand, you should always pay off the debts first. That is why I always repay at the first opportunity.

Don’t be a leech and don’t be a tight-arse

Going against the few simple rules stated above, sometimes it’s good to be generous and not be petty. In this sense, you are no longer “lending” or “borrowing” money. It’s a give and take situation. A simple example would be buying rounds of drinks at the pub. When it’s your turn to shout, don’t pretend you don’t know the rules or that it’s your turn.

Similarly, don’t order expensive items on the menu and then later on insist that everyone split the bill. You know your food cost more and you should pay for it. We are not here to subsidise your meals. If you can’t afford to eat expensive normally, don’t do it when you are out with us. Or hang out with us because you expect that we will be paying most of the time.

The above two examples are quick and easy ways to cut yourself out from future group outings. Don’t be surprised if no one bothers to call you to go out anymore.

Sometimes, it also shows a lot of class if you don’t remember whose round it was or if you don’t think like this: “they bought cheap drinks too, so I’m only going to buy cheap drinks when it’s my shout”. This bar analogy can be applied to many other social situations as well.

However, don’t feel the need to be generous if you really can’t afford it. For example, if you don’t think you got the money to buy the next round, a subtle way out is to decline your friend’s shout. If you don’t accept their drink, then you won’t feel obligated to shout them next.

If you do unto others as you would have done unto you, people will enjoy hanging out with you

As long as you are not a tight-arse, and you return money that you owe quickly without them having to ask for it, then people will like hanging out with you. Because after all, money can’t buy true friends so why let it ruin your social reputation?

Unless of course, you prefer money to true friends. In which case, I wouldn’t want to associate with you. 😉

13 thoughts on “Money and Friends

  1. girlstar7

    Couldn’t agree with you more on this one. I tend to avoid borrowing money off friends or lending money to friends at all costs, unless absolutely necessary. If I do borrow money/lend friends money I tend to only borrow/lend small amounts. One of the quickest ways to fall out with a friend is over large amounts of money. I really don’t like the feeling hanging over my head that I owe a friend a lot of money, nor do I like asking for money back that a friend owes me. Best to just avoid lending/borrowing money from good friends at all costs.

  2. Om

    I hate those people who do not know how to manage their $ and then borrow in times of “crisis”. And those who asked you to buy meals back or foot the bill first but somehow conveniently forget to pay you.

    I try to avoid paying first when I go out with people as such but I make sure everyone pay their share. The thing is I come across as being a miser for always not offering to pay or lend $. My point is we are both working. Y the fuck should I pay for your meals or cover your “crisis”? I have no probs treating friends to meals and stuff but I can’t tolerate people who takes advantage of friends in this manner. And the sad thing is I have friends as such…

  3. Papa

    My friends and I don’t borrow money from one another, but we do help one another when finances are low. For instance, my friend Jack needed a couple of bucks for a cup of coffee. I helped him by punching out a couple of his back teeth, that way he’ll get some sweet moolah from the Tooth Fairy, but unfortunately for him it really hurts when he drinks anything hot or cold. ;P

  4. mooiness Post author

    girlstar7: yup exactly. Sometimes it’s not even the amount but the principle of it.

    Om: well perhaps, you may have to be a bit more firm with these friends of yours. If they are thick-skinned about it, then maybe you should be thick-skinned too and feign ignorance when they expect you to pay etc.

    nadnut: as long as they return the money promptly without you having to ask for it, then I guess it’s ok. Maybe next time, you can practice saying “no” once in a while.

    Papa: hahah good one. That’s a way to teach someone to save up.

  5. Katie

    Money tends to ruin friendships, so I try not to lend to or borrow from my friends. The only ones I might lend to, are ones that I know will pay me back quickly, and have done in the past.

    I don’t mind lending the odd $2 or something, but if it’s something bigger, I’ll have to think first – even if the one wanting it is a good friend. Too often I lend and then am put in the difficult position of ASKING for it back. If I don’t want to lend, and don’t want to offend them, I usually say, “My pay day isn’t until next week – I was going to ask YOU!” and they’ll laugh and let it go.

    Your posts are great and really make me think (damn you!) 😀

  6. mooiness Post author

    Katie: that’s an excellent way out of lending money! And I agree about the amounts – if it’s small, then I won’t hesitate but bigger amounts will make me stop and think.

    And thanks for the make-you-think compliment! 🙂

  7. yurl

    so true. some friends of mine (lets call them couple x) used to go out for dinners with us as a group of mates. the thing that really pissed my off was couple x used to order loads of cocktails when no one else was drinking, or order expensive items from the wine list and not share it. then they’d expect everyone to go dutch. grrr.

  8. mooiness Post author

    yurl: heheh I would have dropped them as outing partners after the first and only time they did this to me. I don’t understand these ppl – they can’t seem to grasp that it isn’t a nice thing to do. And for that, they don’t deserve any friends.

  9. juji

    wow, just as well all my friends are as poor (read: students) as i am … the biggest “loan” i can think of (giving/receiving) was probably the cost of a meal and a drink (or two) – $30?

    life is simple when there’s no surplus cash to think about.

  10. lovie

    I totally agree with what you;ve said.
    Sometimes it’s really hard to ask people for the money they owed, I don’t want people to think that I don’t trust them or something like that. But the thing is some people just don’t understand, they never “remember”.
    I hate “flies”, you know, similar to your “leeches”. I call them flies because whenever there are free food or drink, they will show up, that sort of thing. I hate people like that.


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