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Money-Friend Ettiquette

Nothing can ruin a friendship quite like a money issue; except for an accidental bathroom intrusion.

Here Real Simple addresses some frequent money-friend etiquette issues.  Here are the highlights and their answers, minus the fluff:

Splitting the Bill

  • Discuss the payment options upfront. 
  • Take the initiative and ask for a separate check. 

Lending Money to Friends

  • Here RS sites Dave Ramsey (wise decision): treat a loan as a gift; don’t expect it back.   

Backing out of a Financial Commitment (i.e. a trip you can’t afford)

  • Explain what you can afford when making plans. 
  • If you are already committed, offer to help pay for any fees involved with cancellation, etc.
  • Don’t take a loan if they offer to help you pay. 

Friends Who Complain About Money

  • Call them out.  Ask them if they do in fact need help; that’ll make them more aware of what they are saying. 


1.  Certain money-friend incidences are unavoidable, or at least downright convenient: one check when going out to dinner, sharing hotels, or carpooling.  I’m never a fan of the “I’ll get the next one” or “I’ll pay you later” methods.  What if the next one is more expensive?  Are you really going to pay me later, or will I have to harass you for it?  I prefer the “my treat” or “let’s split it (right now)” techniques.  There are no future promises to fulfill and no one is put in an awkward situation.  When everyone brings cash, everyone wins.

2.  Whoever said, “neither a borrower nor a lender be,” had no friends.  It is absolutely ok, and sometimes necessary, to say no when a friend asks to borrow money.  Some friendships simply won’t handle the stress of scheduled payments.  If you do decide to say yes, don’t be afraid to bring paperwork into the relationship.  Keeping an accurate account of what is owed and when can help keep everyone honest and civil.  

3.  If you can’t afford it, you can’t afford it.  It can be hard to tell friends that you don’t have the cash to go on a pricey night out.  Try suggesting a rotating potluck party where everyone get’s the opportunity to host (have a little fun and bring costumes into the mix…); you can still have a good, perhaps even better, time together.  Here’s what I love about a night in:

  • LOT’S of different food!  Everyone splits the cost, and gets a chance to impress.  
  • No assigned seating.  Restaurants are loud and everybody doesn’t get the chance to talk to everybody.
  • Games.  I once got to see a state Congressmen Charade Michael Jackson; no further explanation necessary.

If you do have friends with bad money manners, it costs nothing to send them a link to this article.  Subtle, very subtle.

Article publié pour la première fois le 15/07/2010