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Sunday Edition #26: My Column in Yellow

Dear Yellow:

There is a friend I’ve known for two years whom I perceive to be reliable and responsible. During a move I was helping him with, he asked to borrow some cash to cover an expense, promising to get it back to me later that week. A few months have gone by and still no repayment has occurred. I followed up with him a few times about it and he says he will pay me but never does. I see him all the time and feel resentment growing for him. I don’t know what to do.

Situations involving money are never easy. We live in a society that forces us to have it in order to live comfortably. Some people have more than others. Some worship it and some piss it away. It can be a point of jealousy and anger.

Money divides us.

The toxic nature of money makes it dangerous to the health of our relationships with friends and family when it is loaned out and borrowed. Even though they are the ones we love and trust the most, it doesn’t mean they are as reliable and good to their word as we think they should be. “They love me therefore they won’t fuck me over.” Sadly that isn’t really how it is in reality.

We all start out with good intentions. I believe in most of these money loaning situations the person does fully intend to stay true to their word of paying it all back in a timely manner. But, shit happens. Something can transpire causing them to end up in a worse financial place than they were when they initially requested the loan, now making it impossible to pay back.

Or, maybe they are just an asshole and are taking advantage of you and the friendship.

Continuing with my personal life theme of “Learning things the hard way,” I have been painfully screwed over at least 3-4 times. Each scenario still makes me angry to think about. But, I think (hopefully) I’ve finally learned the lesson to never loan money to people I care about. And if I do give money, I do it knowing and accepting that I might not get it back.

It is really hard and uncomfortable to say “No” when asked for a loan. You see someone you care about in a tough place you know you can solve, so as a friend, why wouldn’t you? Or it happens like it did for you. It is needed in that moment and they look at you asking to be helped out right then. The cash is in your pocket and saying “No” doesn’t feel like an option.

The discomfort gets worse when the money doesn’t return to you and now you need to ask for it.

I unfortunately don’t have an answer on how to get it back. For me, all the friendships ended with them running away to avoid being confronted with their obligation to me and what they did. One person made up a reason to be mad at me to justify why she didn’t need to pay me all of the money she owed me for a car I sold to her. Yup, that’s right. She pretty much stole my glorious yellow Mini Cooper (Michelle, If you ever read this, I’m still hurt and upset for what you did).

The best advice when it comes to money is, unless it is a donation or gift, don’t loan money to people. If saying “No” isn’t possible, you need to be prepared to never see the money again. I hope your friend does step up and right the situation but if it hasn’t happened by now, I wouldn’t hold my breath.


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My Life in Yellow is not a licensed psychologist or health care professional and the advice within this column does not replace the care of psychologists or other healthcare professionals. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult a health/medical professional. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.

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