Is a friend asking you for money? Read these stories before saying yes

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It’s a huge dilemma: whether to lend money to one of your best friends.

Your heart says to help, but you know mates and money don’t always mix.

After publishing a story on the dos and don’ts of loans and friendship, you shared your own.

From people skipping town without paying to blocking you on social media, no-one had anything positive to say about mixing money and mateship.

‘I wonder if I could have done more’: Adam*

The request: I was asked by a friend for several thousand dollars to deal with his mounting debts. He was a talented but troubled individual who had multiple business and interpersonal problems, as well as accelerating substance abuse.

How much did they want? Several thousand.When your friends hit you up for a loanCan I borrow some money? It’s a question many of us dread — particularly from friends. We ask the experts how to handle this delicate negotiation.Read more

What did you lend? I lent him $1,000 without any conditions, except for him to pay me back when he could. I never expected to see the money again.

Was it repaid? About a year later the $1,000 was quietly repaid. It was my turn to feel some shame at my lack of faith.

Impact on relationship: I don’t think it had any impact on a relationship that was already becoming more remote (because of his personal issues). 

Regrets? A few years later he died of substance abuse, still a relatively young man. I don’t feel guilty about not lending him the full amount, but whenever someone dies in the way he did, you wonder whether you could have done more.

‘It was out of sympathy’: Lin*

The request: I was studying child care last year and a colleague (who was a single mum) claimed she couldn’t pay her tuition and asked to borrow some money.

How much did they want? $1,000.

What did you lend? Out of sympathy and being another new migrant, I gave her $600. She promised to pay me back when she secured a job as a casual.Digging yourself out of debtOur youthful money habits can play havoc in later life, but all hope is not lost.Read more

Was it repaid? I approached her for the refund on a few occasions toward our graduation, because I believed we wouldn’t be seeing each other after class. She paid $200 after I kept messaging her, then she went quiet again.

Impact on relationship: After this incident she blocked me on social media.

Regrets? I no longer give my trust to anyone and it deters me from helping others who might genuinely be in need. I learnt a good lesson from this incident. 

‘I could use that money now’: Travis*

The request: My problem started about five years ago when a family friend’s mother died. She died without a will so money for her funeral was tied up until her estate was settled. So my friend asked me to borrow some money.

How much did they want? $1,500.

What did you lend? I thought his brothers could have afforded to help out, but I felt guilty for having those thoughts, so I lent him the $1,500 he asked for. 

Was it repaid? Following the funeral, I was invited to numerous family gatherings, but as the years passed I heard less from him and his wife. The money has never been repaid. 

Impact on relationship: I haven’t seen him for two years. 

Regrets? It’s not a great deal of money for some, but it formed part of my life savings. Sometimes I think that I should contact him about paying back the money. But really, if he had any integrity he would do it without prompting. As a single home owner, the money for me would be helpful at the moment to pay for much needed renovations to my house.

‘The friendship is over’: Raj*

A man in a beanie looks at an airport departure board for a story about lending money to friends.
IMAGERaj’s* friend asked him for money twice when he was having trouble with his visa.(Unsplash)

The request: About two years ago, I had a friend ask me for money while he was overseas.What to do if you’re dating someone with debtLearning about your new bae’s relationship with money can be a bombshell. Here’s how to handle it.Read more

How much did they want? $500.

What did you lend? I sent the $500 to him straight away, even though my wife said don’t do it.

Was it repaid? He came back to Australia after six months and never told me, but I found out he was living just around the corner. I contacted him after a few weeks and I asked him for the money. He said he would give it to me the next week. It took three months and he finally repaid it. 

Impact on relationship: He stopped talking to me and moved to a different town. After about eight months he rang and made excuses for why he hadn’t contacted me and asked for money again to renew his visa. I again lent him money and had a similar situation. Now the friendship is over. 

Regrets? The reason I lent him the money was that I’ve been in a similar situation and everybody refused to help me. Money doesn’t matter for me, but the friendship does and that’s why I feel hurt.

*Names have been changed.

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