Oh, so THIS is why they say not to mix money and friendship....
August 26, 2011 7:16 PM Subscribe
How should I deal with a friend who owes me money and is (apparently) avoiding contact?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I recently made a decent-sized loan to a friend who was in a fairly urgent financial bind. He needed X amount, which he said he could pay back in three months (which I still feel confident is true). I told him that I could lend him 80% of X for that time, and could spot him the remaining 20% as well, but I would need that bit back much sooner. He offered to repay it the following week, which I said was fine.
He then called me, on time, to set up the repayment of the smaller amount. I knew I'd be seeing him soon, and said that it was no problem if he just wanted to get it to me the following week. We did get together then, but there were other people around and there wasn't much of an opportunity to discuss it.
I now haven't had any contact from him, and two more weeks have passed. I've sent him one message that didn't specifically mention the money, but that I hoped would generate a response (and indicate that I'm not seething mad, if it helped). He has not responded. I know that he's been traveling during part of this time, and is now mired in hurricane prep, fwiw.
My suspicion is that he is having a more difficult time coming up with the money than he'd thought and is ashamed about it. I'm torn between (A) feeling disrespected as a friend, both that he'd fail to keep his promise, but also that he hasn't shown the courage to just TELL ME (and apologize!) that he can't make the payment yet... and (B) wanting to be generous with a friend in need, not just financially, but emotionally. Forgiving, and kind.
It turns out that I am okay without the short-term repayment, but of course there's no way that he would know that, and honestly, it kind of hurts. Also, I realize that this whole he-can't-and-is-ashamed explanation is just one possible scenario of what's happening here. I recognize that it's possible that he's a jerk and is coldly taking advantage of me. I doubt it, but I know some version of that could be at play.
Should I just sit tight until he initiates contact with me? Should I try to re-establish a friendly connection without any mention of the loan? Should I be gracious and simply volunteer an "oh, by the way, I know we haven't had a chance to follow up on this, but it's cool if you just want to pay me back the whole X in three months?" Or should I be aggressive even if it risks pushing him further away? I'm sure there are other approaches that I'm not thinking of, too.
I feel very comfortable having a heart-to-heart with him about this once we've gotten over this apparent impasse, and definitely getting the overall repayment terms in writing, it just feels like there needs to be a baby step first to get us back into a functional, communicating relationship.
I'd be happy to provide any additional context but tried to keep this to the nub of the issue. Thank you in advance.