Why I don't lend money to family and friends

8/18/2016


NO feels like a confrontational word. I remember the first time when I said no to someone who asked me for money, I felt awkward and out of balance. And his response to me cemented my crappy feelings. He said, "and you call yourself a friend?" That cut me deep. So, I ended up giving him the money.

After a few months, he came back again to ask for more and this time he claimed it was an emergency. I didn't want to be a bad friend that lives dropped friends in a time of need.

Despite his emergency which was the reason why I gave him the money in the first place, I later realised that he was fairly extravagant in his lifestyle.  Normally what someone does in their own time is none of my business, but in this case he wasn't paying me anything and his reasons was that he didn’t have enough money. I had to follow up myself but get a delayed response.

After several months, just when I have given up, he finally returned the money to me. I was pleasantly surprised and  relieved but this tainted my impression of him. After that, I just became more evaluative about lending money to people in general.

When I owe someone money (which rarely happens)  I consider this an act of goodwill, and I refuse to betray their trust.

After I got the money, I spoke to a friend about the situation. She helped me realise that first I needed to take responsibility for my actions. She told me that I enabled this person to take advantage of me and that is why he kept coming back to me to ask for more.

That was so true! I was scared of turning him away. But I also realised that as much as people believe that they have a right to ask me for money, I also have a right to say no and I shouldn’t feel bad about it.

A few months later, he called to ask for a loan. I didn’t give it to him.  He stopped calling and the relationship was not the same.

This situation was a huge lesson for me. I have learned to separate money from relationships. And it didn't just happen over night, I burned myself a few times.

But now, after a few practices, I'm OK with saying no. And since then my life has become a lot less complicated and I don't feel pressured to help people when I know that I can't or don't want to for various reasons.

I have learned that if the relationship is open and honest, you do not have to always try and please them to keep the friendship solid. And yeah there is a time of helping people but it shouldn't feel like a death sentence. Otherwise you will will resent those people who ask you for favours all the time.

It's also important to be consistent. Some people might try to manipulate you, in the hope that you will change your mind after a while. Sometimes those people will use accusations or even an emotional outburst such as crying to attempts to manipulate you. Say no and be firm. If you don't, you teach them to ignore your needs.

After having been burned a few times by family and friends needing my money, I would tell any would be borrowers that I don't lend money to anyone because it destroys relationships faster than just about anything.

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