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Money Moral Dilemma: How can I get my friend to pay me back?

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Money Moral Dilemma: How can I get my friend to pay me back?

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MSE_SarahMSE_Sarah MSE Staff
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This week's MoneySaver who wants advice asks...
A very close friend borrowed £100 (a large amount to me), promising to pay it back shortly. It’s now been six months and they haven’t, despite several reminders. I don’t want to lose the friendship but need the money.

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  • Marvel1Marvel1 Forumite
    5.5K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    Make a money claim online

    Read it all though.
  • In those circumstances I think I'd work out what I was planning to spend the £100 on (the more obviously "necessary" the better!) and tell her, for instance:

    "I've got to visit an osteopath/chiropodist/etc for so-and-so health problem - and I've booked an appointment for Tuesday next week and it will cost £x I haven't got at the moment and I'll probably have to have, say, 2 follow-up appointments. In total it will cost me about £100 and I HAVE to have that money by Tuesday - or I'm going to have to cancel - but I NEED to have those appointments/am feeling really ill without them"

    Or maybe:

    "You know those shoes I wear so much - they've just got a hole in them and I'm going to be going shopping for their replacement next week/can't manage without them any longer. They will cost about £100 and I haven't got the money at the moment. I NEED it back in time for next week's shopping trip - as I can't manage much longer without replacing them".

    Whatever you say - put it as something VERY necessary and that you ARE going to spend on any minute now - whether you've got the money or no, because it's so necessary. Give a deadline by which you MUST have that money to make that very necessary expenditure by.

    Hopefully that will do the trick and they will hand the money back in time for the deadline of the day before you will be spending it on that necessity.

    If it doesn't do the trick - then I'm afraid they aren't a friend after all (never mind a very close one) and time to "forget them and move on". A friend wouldn't do that to someone they were "very close friends with".
  • The old saying “Never a borrower or lender be” came to mind when I read this... the full quote from Hamlet (I believe) does indeed talk about losing a friend as well as the money if you lend to someone!

    I guess the moral is - never lend what you cannot afford to get back..... similar to never bet what you can’t afford to lose etc...
  • Janey3Janey3 Forumite
    416 posts
    Being a close friend, I would ask her to pay me back weekly an agreed sum and if she didn't keep the arrangement that would be the end of the friendship
  • REJPREJP Forumite
    176 posts
    Third Anniversary 100 Posts Name Dropper
    Did you put in writing, signed by both of you, that it was a loan to be repaid by a set date? If so, take your "friend" to the small claims Court.
    If no contract, you cannot prove your friend owes the money. Ask your friend straight out when you are going to get the debt repaid. If no reasonable reply, this is a one way friendship and you have learned a sharp lesson.
    As recommended by a previous poster, if you can't afford to lend money, then don't. This friendship is going nowhere, so move on and learn the lesson that lending money is a bad idea. In fact lending anything you cannot afford to lose be it a book, garden tool, money is a bad idea.
  • Yes you can use formal claims procedures but these will not enhance your friendship. Two questions you need to ask yourself, if you have managed without the money for 6 months are you really desperate for it? Is your friendship really worth it, does he/she really need the money or are they simply taking advantage of you? You need to ask if you are being honest with yourself and is your friend trustworthy? Probably worth remembering that banks exist to provide loans and you don't have their resources.
  • John_GrayJohn_Gray Forumite
    5.7K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    "When will they ever learn?"
    The "Where have all the flowers gone?" song verse springs to mind, to remind the lender that, almost always, cash flows only in one direction - away from you.
    "It's over, let it go..."
  • Only play/lend that which you are prepared to lose, my advise would be when making a 'loan' to a friend or family is do not expect it back, instead at least from your end gift it to them instead
  • nczmnczm Forumite
    53 posts
    10 Posts
    I’d probably ask if they could lend me however much money it is that I need (explaining the purpose it was needed for) and see what response that gets.
    If they aren’t interested they probably aren’t a good friend, but you might get insight into why they’ve not paid you back (maybe they have money issues).
    As others have said, it sounds like you may have to chalk this up to a lesson learned when it comes to loaning money to friends... or if you no longer fancy having them as a friend then other options can be pursued
  • Red-Squirrel_2Red-Squirrel_2
    4.3K posts
    I’d have a bit of a heart to heart. Tell them that the fact they are avoiding paying you back is not only causing you a financial problem but is making you doubt the friendship.

    Tell them that if it’s down to genuine financial hardship you would rather they be honest and upfront so you can help and come up with a repayment plan rather than leave you thinking they are just dodging it and deliberately depriving you of your money.

    The response will tell you if this is a real friend or someone who has stolen £100 from you.
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