Handling 7 of the Most Awkward Money Situations Between Friends
It is often said that money and friends do not mix well, and this certainly seems to be the case. No matter how close you are, a friendship can be tested when a loan goes unpaid or when an activity does not match everyone’s budgets. It seems as though you and your friends can talk about almost anything, so why does it get awkward when the topic of money is brought up? Here are seven awkward money situations that are common with friends and how to fix them.
1. Friend Discounts That Go Awry
Mixing friends and business can sometimes work out excellently for both parties involved. However, it also comes with its own challenges. For one, there is the question of whether or not the service should be discounted and what sort of leniency there should be on the result of the product. If your friend is providing you with a service at a discounted price, then it is recommended that you treat it like a business relationship, with between 10 and 15 percent room for your personal relationship. If you are the friend providing the service then only give a discount if your business can afford it. If you are the customer then only hire your friend if you think he or she can do a good job.
2. The Friend That Forgot to Pay You Back
Your friend forgot to bring his or her credit card with them when you went out shopping together, and so you did the nice thing and loaned her $40. Now she hasn’t paid you back. This situation has likely happened to all of us at one time or another. This type of loan is extremely awkward because it is too small to make a fuss over, but big enough that it can affect your budget. If you are quick to lend your friends $20 here and $30 there then your bank account can quickly take a hit. The first step is to stop lending friends small amounts of money. As for the friend that still owes you money, a couple of casual reminders that they need to pay you back will likely suffice for getting your money back.
3. Splitting the Check
The awkward moment of splitting the check can make a fun friend date turn sour. Dinner dates are a fantastic way to get the whole gang together. However, splitting the bill afterward can get messy. This is especially the case if one friend orders a cheap entree and another an expensive one, as splitting the check evenly down the middle is not exactly fair. It is recommended that you and your friends take a proactive approach. It is wise to head to an ATM beforehand to withdraw enough cash for your meal. Once the dinner starts, casually ask everyone how they would like to split the check before they get their food. This aids in circumventing any confusion once the bill comes.
4. Income Gaps Between Friends
In a group of friends, there is always going to be a range of budgets that you must all work with, which is a factor that needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a group activity. Don’t ask a friend with a lower budget if they would like to partake in an activity you know they will decline. Also, avoid leaving out a friend just because of his or her lack of funds. Instead, use websites like Groupon to locate discounted activities that your whole friend group can enjoy.
5. Lending Money to Friends
What makes lending money to a friend tricky is that neither of you will lean towards a formal exchange. On the other hand, if your friend borrows money from the bank they are liable to repay it. However, it is much more natural to have a casual attitude towards lending money to your friend, which can lead to a less prompt repayment. Additionally, if you feel uncomfortable with confronting your friend, then it may feel awkward reminding them that they owe you money. It is highly urged that you think long and hard before you say yes before lending money, as it may just save your relationship. If you do want to loan money to your friend, then ensure that you are honest and open with what you want out of the repayment terms.
6. Having a Nosy Friend
Although most people have the sense not to talk about money, there is at least one person in every friend group that wants to know the cost of everything from how much you spent on your outfit to your mortgage payments. The best thing to do in this type of situation is to deflect these kinds of money questions casually with such a statement as “too much!” If your friend still pushes you to disclose the price of something, then a quick “I do not feel comfortable answering that” should suffice.
7. Dealing With Your Friend’s Money Problems
If your friend’s credit card has gotten declined a few times while you are out then you may be wondering if he or she is going through some money problems. It may be awkward to see this happen; however the best thing to do is to not bring it up, especially if he or she hasn’t either. They likely feel embarrassed about the problem and so talking about it may cause tension within the relationship. Instead, suggest activities that don’t cost any money, such as picnicking or a casual friend date in.