I have a long held belief that money and friends do not mix. If I can help it, I follow a few simple rules:
- Do not lend money to friends.
- Do not borrow money from friends.
- 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.
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. 😉