Dear friends: No, I won’t loan you money

One of the easiest ways to destroy a friendship is to loan money to a friend. Almost every person alive who has a friend or been a friend has experienced a request for a loan. Sometimes the loan is repaid as agreed and other times it is not. When a loan to a friend is not repaid as agreed, it is looked upon as a betrayal of the friendship. The consequences are much harsher and more personally painful than when a mere acquaintance asks for a loan and does not repay it.

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Daytime television is full of judges mediating disputes between friends who made the mistake of loaning each other money. The stories are all the same: Friend A went to Friend B to request a loan. Friend A promised to repay the money by a certain date. Assurances were given about ability to repay. Promises were made, and repayment terms were given and agreed upon. Then something went wrong and the debt was never repaid. The friends began to argue, to dislike one another, and the two former friends ended up in court. The friendship is destroyed. Had the friends on these court shows understood how important it is not to lend money to friends, all the heartache could have been avoided.

Years ago, one of my sisters asked to borrow money. It was not a large sum, and I agreed to the loan. My husband told me not to loan her the money, that it was a bad idea. He said that if she didn’t pay back the money, it would make things difficult at family gatherings because I would wonder when she was going to pay me back the money. She would wonder how often I was going to ask her to pay back money she did not have to return to me. Instead, he told me to give her the money. Just give it to her and be done with it.

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By making the money a gift, I never had to ask her about the money. When she got new shoes or went on a vacation with her family, she never had to worry about me making snide remarks about her not repaying the loan. Our relationship remained friendly, happy and stress-free. It was well worth giving her the money rather than making it a loan. The next time a friend asks you to borrow money, tell her you cannot loan her the money. Tell her you will instead give her the money she needs and be done with it.

If you cannot afford to give the money away to your friend, you cannot afford to lend it. So, if you cannot afford to give the money away, you can honestly say to your friend that you do not have the money to give. Any money you give your friend is worth far less than your friendship. Money comes and goes, and one dollar bill is no more valuable than another. Friends, on the other hand, are precious. Some friends are more valuable, more beloved and more special than others. That’s why I never lend money to a friend because, unlike money, friendship is a treasure far beyond measure.

Have you ever loaned money to a friend? How did it turn out? Did it go well?

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