Rhona Canoy .
SO… I got caught in unfriendly fire between two friends recently, which was a sad experience. The disagreement was born out of someone doing something which the other someone didn’t like or agree with, which rapidly escalated into all-out war. It served to remind me just how absolute we are as human beings, and also how self-centered. It was also (no surprise here) about money.
There are tons of sayings which tell us never to lend money to a friend. Which is counter-intuitive because if and when we find ourselves in any kind of trouble, a friend would be the first person we run to for help. So let me share my measly two centavos worth about this delicate and touchy subject.
Man’s self-centeredness cannot and should not be denied. It is integral to our survival. However, when and how it makes its appearance is something that we need to work on. People don’t like to talk about this and that’s probably why it causes so much trouble. Money is, after all, the nearest and dearest possession to many. People will willingly part with obscene amounts to make a purchase founded on vanity, but will hesitate to offer it in assistance to a friend in dire need.
There is also a question of defining the borrower’s and the lender’s accountability on the matter. I was admonished to tread lightly on this subject, if I chose to write about it at all. Which led to some confusion on my part? I’m not being a judger here. Merely sharing what I feel is the proper protocol for these transactions. Let’s get that straight from the get go.
The Lender. When one decides to extend financial assistance to a friend (or to anyone for that matter), it should be done so for all the right reasons. Because we have the capacity to share the amount. Because we have no need for it at that moment in time. Because we want to offer assistance to someone who we believe needs it. Because we trust that the reasons for this transaction is true. Because we are compassionate.
It takes a great amount of humility and embarrassment to approach a friend and ask for financial help. As a rule. And puts a lot of power in the hands of the lender. That’s why any and all conditions must be laid down with consideration and delicadeza to both parties. Whether the money is a donation or a loan. How and when the loan is to be repaid. And what the lender’s expectations are (although I have always believed that if you hand over money, it should be done with no expectations).
The Borrower. It takes a lot of conscious effort to maintain dignity when one borrows money. The chances that one may be denied, and shamed in the process are great. But in most cases, the need outweighs all else. The borrower must understand that a huge favor is being granted here, and that accountability and responsibility for the debt is paramount. Any and all considerations as to how the debt is to be repaid should be stated and presented by the borrower first and foremost. Just as upholding the trust given by the Lender is a no-brainer. The borrower shouldn’t have to wait for a collection notice from the lender. After all, it is part of the agreement.
Sadly, many friendships blow up and disintegrate because of money. Simply because the ground rules were not laid down properly and clearly. And also because many people become complacent when their immediate financial problem has been solved. It is puzzling how people don’t see that all they are doing is transferring and deferring a monetary dilemma. In the meantime, taking for granted a friendship that is the actual basis for the transaction.
What hurts the most is not that the borrower was irresponsible. What hurts most is that the friendship, trust, and love between friends has been dishonored and rendered valueless. That’s really what it boils down to. And those friends mistakenly believe that the other person will meet an unspecified expectation simply because of friendship. That is so wrong. Friends feel uncomfortable discussing terms of repayment. That is so wrong. Friends feel uncomfortable collecting or reminding the borrower that the due date is fast approaching. That is so wrong. Friends who borrow assume that the friendship will excuse their irresponsibility in meeting the terms of the debt. That is so wrong.
I can’t say whether it’s wrong to lend money to a friend. I can say with certainly that if you’re friends, then you know whether the person can be trusted with the transaction or not. You know whether your friendship can withstand this pressure. Just be clear about it, because all the friendships killed by money were due to assumptions. And like my psychology professor used to say, “Don’t assume because you make an ass out of u and me.”