Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…
Dear GWBW — Money’s tight so I borrowed some from an old buddy. I HATE to have to ask anyone for anything. I told him I’d pay him by the end of this month but now that’s just not going to happen. What’s the best way to tell him? — Skinny Wallet
Dear Skinny Wallet,
The opposite of how you asked him for the money in the first place, “with love.” Gather your thoughts, tell the guy straight up and immediately if you value your friendship. Manage his expectations and keep the mutual respect by working out with him and committing to your realistic new payment schedule. If he isn’t hurting too badly for money himself, he sounds like a good friend you could (and did ) rely on. If he can afford your loan but you still feel bad about the late payback, add interest if you haven’t already. Getting things in writing will keep things clearest and cleanest of all. If handled right, this sort of shared experience could possibly bring you closer.
On the other side of the same coin is the old adage, neither a lender or borrower be, and loans between friends have a lot of friendship demolition potential. Make sure you both handle your business (individually and together) professionally and responsibly as possible.
Payback doesn’t have to be a b*tch,
Dear Skinny Wallet,
Here’s another, I been there moment. Remember, the truth will set you free. But before you start crying about your money problems, take a moment, sit down and make an honest to God, true budget. Know how much money you are really working with after the money comes in, then ebbs out in the I-have-to-pay-this-or-they’re-going-to-cut-me-off bills.
Now, figure out how much you can pay your friend. Don’t expect a big check to come in, just expect that much like the credit card company and the electric bill, you’re going to have to pay monthly installments for a while. The truth is, your friend will be glad to see a consistent effort to pay what your owe, rather than the grand gesture of the big check all at once.
Now, once you know what you can pay and when, this friend pay-back bill must be treated like a they’re-going-to-cut-me-off-if-I-don’t-pay bill, because the truth is, your friend just might. So, figure out your installment plan. List the schedule of payments on your refrigerator, bulletin board—whatever—just make those payments on time.
Now call your friend. No need for a whole lotta sob story. Their feeling sorry for you makes you weak in their eyes (on some level). Be strong. Clearly state, “I overextended myself and thought I’d be able to pay you back at the end of this month, but I’m seeing that I’m just getting caught up from being behind. I have worked out a budget and payment schedule that I think will work.”
From there you two can have a real conversation about your friend’s needs on getting repaid and you ability to repay within a certain timeframe. You’ll feel better about approaching the situation head on and not needing to send you or your friend into some downward spiral of guilt and depression to get the job done.
I know the skinny wallet syndrome. Hold tight. Manage your budget and be sure to budget in a little $$ for savings. Even $10 or $20 a week will make a huge difference in your feelings of self-esteem. Once you have a cushion behind you and you know how to work with what you’ve really got (budget), you can start to make headway to a place where you don’t find yourself up against the wall and borrowing from friends.
A better day is coming. For real.
Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.
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