Tips for Managing Friendship and Finances
Misunderstandings about money have caused the downfall of many friendships. Because we all have different backgrounds and experiences, we all approach money and financial issues in our own unique ways. Fortunately, there are some tried-and-true tips to help you manage the sometimes awkward intersection of friendship and finances. Let’s see what they are.
Be Prepared to Pay Your Share
Going out with friends is one of life’s great joys. That is, until the bill arrives. Many people find it easier to split it evenly by the number of people there. But inevitably, someone has ordered a side salad and water while someone else has had three cocktails, appetizers and dessert. Unless you’ve all had the exact same thing, spend the time to figure out what everyone owes individually (we all have calculators on our phones). Better yet, give your server a head’s up that you’d like separate checks — then be sure to tip a little extra for their effort.
“Neither a Borrower nor a Lender Be …
For loan oft loses both itself and friend.” Our old friend William Shakespeare was 100% right on this one. Borrowing and lending money among friends, while almost always well-intentioned, has a tendency not to end well. It creates a power imbalance in the friendship and can lead to uncomfortable situations if the money isn’t paid back quickly — or at all.
If a friend is struggling financially, offer to help them in other ways. Help them network for job leads, offer free childcare or have them over for a meal (and send home leftovers) a few times a week until they’re back on their feet. Also consider letting them know about our online credit counseling, which includes a personalized budget. If you do choose to lend a friend money, consider it a gift. That way, you can avoid feeling resentful if they’re unable to pay it back.
Be Willing to Compromise
When planning a trip or other activities, compromise is the name of the game when it comes to friendship and finances. You may not hesitate to spend extra for a luxury hotel, while they’re fine with a basic motel room. Or you may be content sitting in the nosebleed seats, while they love to be front and center to see your favorite band. Of course, all these preferences come with a big price difference, too. Talk it out and come to an agreement everyone can live with, both financially and in terms of the experience. Always remember it’s about making memories you’ll talk about for years, not how much you spent to make them.
Recognize & Respect Boundaries
Recognize that not everyone is comfortable talking openly about money and financial issues. If a friend asks a question you’re not comfortable answering, be honest and say it’s not something you feel like talking about. Conversely, if you ask something that a friend doesn’t want to discuss, let it drop and don’t push. It’s true that open, honest conversations about financial issues can help people, but for the sake of the friendship, you’ll want to respect others where they are in the moment.