Have you ever lost a friend over money?
We all know what it feels like to find ourselves in a tough spot financially. If you have never had to deal with financial problems then I feel absolutely happy for you, but I think that this won’t be the case for most people. The memories of financial strain can stay with us for a long time and when you see a friend going through a similar kind of trial it is more than natural that you might want to help them out by lending them a little money to tide them over until things improve. It’s not just friends either. The same is often true when family members are struggling financially too.
Sadly though, it appears that these goodwill gestures don’t always go to plan and they can even turn out to be detrimental to a friendship. For example, a recent UK survey highlighted that 7 million people say that they have cut off contact with a friend at some point in their life because of a financial dispute. The likelihood of whether you will fall out with a friend over money is also apparently affected by gender and age. The release suggested that of those who were surveyed, Men were much more likely to lose or cut out a friend because of a financial dispute with 17 percent of men saying that they had ended a friendship due to a financial falling out. The figure was lower for women at just 13 percent. With regards to age it also appears that this is a problem which has become more prevalent within recent generations, with roughly one in three people between the ages of 24 and 35 saying that they had lost a friend because of money, compared to a much lower figure of nine per cent of those who were aged 45 and over.
These figures really show just how careful you need to be when lending money to friends and family. What these figures don’t tell us is why these problems occur more often within these particular demographics and to be honest I really wouldn’t want to start generalizing or stereotyping here. When it comes to the generational gap in the statistics though, could it be that we have started to view friends in a more fickle manner since the introduction of social networking perhaps? Are we more willing to let our friends go over a dispute because we are connected with hundreds, sometimes thousands of others? This is just one theory and perhaps you have a theory of your own.
If we want to avoid losing friends over money then, I guess we have two options. We either don’t lend them the money in the first place, or otherwise we need to be very clear from the start about the terms under which it is being lent. It’s all too easy to say the old phrases “Oh, just pay me back when you have it” or “there’s no rush, really”. The big problem with these words are that they can mean very different things to different people and for some people there may well never be a particularly good time to pay you your money back. When I have lent money to friends in the past I like to at least set a date for when I would need or like the money to be repaid by. Even if there is a delay for some reason, at least they know that you actually do expect the money to be repaid.
Of course, lending money to a friend is just one kind of financial dispute that can occur and there are several other kinds of disputes that could be financial in nature. Disputes over business dealings or even an inheritance dispute could also cause big problems with friends or within the family circle.
Have you ever fallen out with a friend or family member because of some kind financial dispute?