Published on 13th July, 2015.
Updated on 24th November, 2016.
There’s a saying that goes, “Lend only the amount of money you can afford to lose.” When you loan money to friends or family, you’re working under the assumption that they will pay you back promptly to preserve your relationship. But this isn’t always the case, it can be awkward to repeatedly ask when you can expect to get your money.
If you feel unsure about how to ask for money back without affecting the relationship, here are five ideas that you could try.
Sometimes, people just genuinely forget that they owe you something. This is especially true if it’s not a large amount. A simple reminder to the borrower can work for you in these situations. Always use polite language when reminding someone about a debt they owe you. Just ask if they remember their debt and ask when they can pay it back. A good example sounds like this, “Hey, do you remember that I lent you money last month? When is a good time for you to pay it back?”
Ask for an Update on What They Used the Money For
People borrow money for a specific purpose, and they usually let you know what this is when they make the request. If, for example, money was borrowed to pay for tuition, ask them how the school is going. This can prompt them to remember their debt, or opens up the conversation about when they might be able to pay it back.
Let Them Pay For the Next Round
If it’s a small debt, you can ask your friend to pay for your meal at the next gathering, and that this can be deducted from their debt to you. This works because you get some amount paid back and it serves as a reminder that they owe you money. Use a polite question, though.
Ask Them to Help You Out
You were able to help them out when they needed it, now’s their chance to return the favor. If you have needed the money back for something, ask them to help you out by paying you back the debt they owe.
Give Them Flexible Terms
Offer to have the debt paid back in installment. This works because you’re giving the borrower flexible payment terms and you’re creating a timeline for when the debt will be completely paid off.
An unpaid debt between friends can strain relationships. Getting angry at someone who owes you money is a quick way to lose a friend and a lot of times, your relationship is worth more than the money owed.
Being left unpaid is a real possibility when you lend to friends or family, so only lend out an amount that you are comfortable never seeing again. But when it’s time to ask for your money back, asking for it politely helps you save the relationship.
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