So, you’ve loaned your friends some of your hard-earned cash. They promised they’d pay you back. But, they haven’t. And, now you’re stressing over what do to.
Do you send a request over Venmo? Will using some emoji make it more or less effective? Do you try slyly bringing it up the next time you’re face-to-face? Or, do you bite your tongue and hope that one day they’ll magically remember to pay you back?
Don’t worry, we’ve all been there at some point—as the loaner and as the tardy friend. Life happens! Even to the very best of us, paying back our friends and family can quickly slip into the bucket of “not urgent,” or “Wait, didn’t I do that already?” Unfortunately, when who pays for what continually shifts in a friendship, we tend to develop our own, differing viewpoints as to what constitutes “paying back a debt.”
For instance, if you covered lunch for you and your friend recently, you might think it’s only fair for your friend to repay you later. But, it’s also not out of the question for your friend to interpret this as apt repayment for always picking you up and driving places. Suddenly, you have a situation where getting a friend to pay you back is a lot more complicated.
A lot of this can be solved by clear communication. But if you’re at a loss, here’s how to get your friends to pay you back when they’ve long since forgotten to do so.
Use technology to your advantage to remind them
Using a cashless money app is the easiest way, perhaps, to get a friend to repay you. A simple request for the total amount via Venmo, the Square app or even Facebook messenger is enough to kindly jolt someone’s memory. There’s a few things you can do, though, to make sure it’s not lost in their inbox or that it doesn’t rub them the wrong way.
Send along a quick text message before hitting “send” on the money app. Write something along the lines of, “Hey, just wanted to let you know I’m sending you a request with deets about last week’s dinner. Would love it if you could pay me back by .”
Suggest they cover the next tab when you’re out as repayment
If you’ve sent a request for payment and you’re still having a hard time getting your friend to pay you back, there are other options. Cutting off your friendship is not at the top of the list. While not ideal, you can negotiate on the hang-out spot the next time you’re out together.
If we’re continuing with the pay-for-dinner example from above, ask your friend if they’re okay with paying for your share. You can try something like, “Hey, do you think you can cover this for me tonight in lieu of me paying for last week’s dinner?”
Keep your ask simple and direct. If your friend backs out, you can then suggest they cover you the following date. It’s awkward—sure—but you’ll get your point across.
To avoid this scenario, the next time you’re out, organize payment ahead of time. Ask what’s within you and your friend’s budget. Make it clear you’re trying to spend no more than X. Or, when the bill comes, ask the server if it can be split. You’ll help establish those positive boundaries we all need. And, if your friend keeps bailing on the tab, well, then you know what kind of friend you’re dealing with.