Offended black girlfriends sitting back to back on couch, ignoring each other after quarrel at home

Money & Friendships: Handling Debt

Money plays a pretty big role in friendship dynamics and if not managed properly, it could cost you your friends or bring in some tension.

Most times, people make friends with fellow individuals who share similar lifestyles. As time goes on, lifestyles start to change and people start to drift apart. People get different jobs, lead different lifestyles and make money differently.

These differences could easily affect friendships if not managed well, so in this series, we’ll discuss different money scenarios and how to deal with them.

Dealing With Debt

It’s been nine months since Lanre lent James the sum of 120,000 naira. The last time he asked for his money back, James told him he had been struggling with his finances and he needed some more time. Lanre chose to believe him until he saw a video of James living it up at the Desert Safari on Snapchat. Ouch.

Debt can easily ruin friendships, even the strongest and longest ones. It leads to disappointment and a complete lack of trust in the other party. If you lend some money to a friend, there are some things you can do.

The Lender:

Send Friendly Reminders
Sometimes, a friendly reminder is all it takes. Your friend might be under a lot of pressure or saddled with so many responsibilities, hence the reason for the delay in repayment. By sending gentle reminders, you will communicate your desire for the debt to be paid, without coming off as rude or passive-aggressive.

Help Them Manage Their Funds
If you know your friend has poor money management habits that could deter them from paying back a loan, you could offer to step in and help them figure out their finances. You could also share money tips and even help them draw up a budget. This way, they’ll fix up and pay back the loan.

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Be Upfront About It
Sometimes, people take your silence for granted. If you are in dire need of your cash and you want to get paid ASAP, you should be direct about it. Tell them you need the money urgently to cover a need if that’s the case. Be polite and make the request short and sweet.

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The Borrower:

Be Honest and Clear
If you’re the borrowing party, you should be honest and straight-forward. Avoid dodging calls and going radio silent. Also, don’t wait until your friend asks before you bring up the loan. If you can’t pay back for certain reasons, let them know and keep them updated. This way, you’ll ensure your friend doesn’t lose your trust and the relationship isn’t severed.

Find Other Ways To Pay
Depending on the amount of money owed, you can offer to pay the money you owe through other means. For example, if you often hang out together, you can pay their bill for each outing until the debt is paid. This will only work if the lender agrees and doesn’t mind being paid at intervals.

Trade An Item (Or More)
If you’re the borrowing party, you can offer to repay the loan by giving your friend an item or service that costs the same amount (or relatively close to it). It could be a laptop, car part or anything, as long as it’s valuable and worth the amount owed.

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Both Parties:

Negotiate A Repayment Plan
If you can’t afford to pay back a loan in full and at once, you can communicate this to your friend by suggesting a plan. You can offer to pay a certain portion of the money monthly until the debt is fully paid. This helps to ensure that you are held accountable. For the lending party, you can suggest the repayment plan if you realize your friend might not be able to pay at once. This gives a framework to the repayment.

What are your experiences with managing debt in a friendship? Share them with us!

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