September 22, 2022

Dealing With Friends Who Owe You Money


Friendship and finances. How do you deal with it? Is there a boundary?

If you have been in the Kenyan Twitter streets the first unsaid rule of loaning money to friends is often: don’t do it. Unless you’re willing to part with that money if a said friend can’t refund you.

But the reality of things is that when a friend asks for money, it can be hard to say no. Whether it’s covering the bill for lunch or helping out with a down payment for a new home, it’s gratifying when we’re able to help.

Most of the time there is usually an unspoken understanding that your loan will be repaid ASAP, the danger in that is that it can lead to expectations mismatch between the lender and the lendee, and when dealing with a lot of cash this can lead to serious tension that may alter how you view the friendship.

Here are some tips on how you can deal with the situation:

1. Establish clear boundaries or expectations

Don’t leave any gray areas. Discuss payment deadlines and what would be comfortable with both of you.

Use this opportunity to get on the same page and agree to a repayment schedule. Maybe you’ll get your repayment right then and there.

Let him/her know that you are sympathetic to his/her situation, but you still expect to get your money back, because let’s be honest, we know you’re not a charity. Right?

2. A gentle reminder isn’t so bad

There is so much going on with our adulting lives that one may simply forget a loan. This is where you come in as the lender. Shoot them a text or even better if you haven’t heard from your friend who owes you money in a while, call them to see how they're doing. Then, once you catch up, ask for loan repayment directly. Keep it short and sweet while matching their tone.

3. Consider a payment plan

When you talk to your friend about repaying what they owe you, they’re likely to claim “sijalipwa bado” at the time. If this happens more than once, maybe it’s time to give them an option of a payment plan.

This would mean that you would both determine how much he/she can pay you each month or even break it down to weekly payments so it’s simpler.

You know how life works, right? Even after all these, your friend may never pay you back, maybe because they simply won’t recover from their financial situation or other reasons. In such cases, we would advise you to call it quits and move on. But if it was an unforgivable amount of money, don’t ghost your friend, let them know that the financial situation is causing a strain on your friendship and you’re unhappy that they broke your trust. At least they’ll know why you left and you’ll be the bigger person.