There’s a saying that goes, “Lend only the amount of money you can afford to lose.” When you lend money to friends or family, you’re working under the assumption that they will pay you back promptly to preserve your relationship.
But that isn’t always the case, and as we all know, it can be awkward to repeatedly ask for your money back. You start talking to them more often, dropping subtle verbal hints, doing weird little gestures, and even gesticulating strongly with your wallet at times to indicate that "Hey, I need my money back". It just doesn't work, though.
If you've tried all those weird actions and still feel unsure about how to ask for your money back without affecting the relationship, why not try out the 5 methods below?
1. The polite reminder
Sometimes, people genuinely forget that they owe you something - not everyone is out to get your money. This is especially true if it's a small amount like a couple of ringgit. A simple reminder to the borrower can work for you in these situations.
Be courteous and always use polite language when reminding someone about the debt they owe you. (even thought you really just want the money back). Just ask if they remember their debt and when they can pay it back. A good example sounds like this, “Hey, do you remember that I lent you money last month? Was wondering when you could give it back.”
2. 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 lets you ask for the money in a very passive way and can prompt them to remember their debt, it might even open up the conversation about when they might be able to pay it back.
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3. 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 or all the amount paid back and it serves as a reminder that they owe you money. But of course, always be polite about it - it's not nice to be very aggressive even if they owe you money.
4. 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. If you're feeling slightly more generous than usual and don't find the money necessary, then you could even ask them for a non-monetary favour in lieu of the money as well!
5. 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, after all, money is rather sensitive matter. 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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