Friend Owe You Money?

You’ve been friends with James since high school–he’s stuck by you through some rough times and you’ve always trusted him. One day, he asks you for a small loan, a couple hundred bucks to see him through the month–he’s afraid his utilities are going to be turned off.

You give him the money, knowing that as soon as things look better for him, he’ll certainly pay you back.

Only, he doesn’t. Months go by and he doesn’t mention the loan. In fact, you haven’t seen him much since you gave him the money.

What to do now?

We’ve got a few tips.

First idea, bring it up. You might be pleasantly surprised. People get busy and it’s kind of easy and convenient to forget that you owe someone money. In a gentle, non-confrontational, casual way, you can say, “Hey, James, about that money I lent you . . . ” You can even use humor to lighten the mood, or you can tell him about your own financial goals so he knows exactly what you need it for.

What if James can’t pay you back right now. “Dude, so sorry, I still don’t have the cash.” Suggest to him that he could pay you back every payday, a little at a time. Twenty bucks every week, something like that.

Another thing you can do is ask him specifically what’s going on with his finances and if you can help. You might find out information that causes you to revise your feelings about the loan, or you might be able to help your friend budget his money more wisely.

If it just doesn’t seem like the cash is ever going to come back your way, you could try asking your friend to give you something else of roughly the same value in its place. Maybe you have some work that needs to be done around the house, or he could help you in your business or at your job.

Next time, we’ll address even more ways to work with a friend who owes you money.