It’s almost always embarrassing when a friend or family member request to borrow money. The last thing you want is to offend the other person, but in some cases you are absolutely not going to give them money. Unfortunately, you might feel uncomfortable because you not sure how to handle the situation.
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Tami Claytor, owner of New York-based Always Appropriate: Image & Etiquette Consulting, said there are exceptions, but most people who ask to borrow money are reluctant to do so.
“The unfortunate circumstance is that borrowing money is uncomfortable for both parties,” she said. “Most likely, the person asking is reluctant and embarrassed to do so, because money is tied to our self-esteem.”
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If you are not able to lend money but want to, Claytor said to empathize with the other person and recognize the predicament they are in.
“Then apologize that you wish you could help her, but unfortunately at the moment you can’t,” she said. “Then explain why you can’t help. Finally, wish the person good luck.
If you’re just not willing to lend the money, Claytor said it’s okay to be completely honest.
“Tell the person you have a policy of not lending money to your friends and family because you don’t want uncomfortable feelings between the two of you,” she said.
Or, if the person has borrowed money from you in the past and hasn’t returned it, Claytor said it was good to gently jog his memory, without being rude and obnoxious.
“You could say that you would hate that this person was even more in debt to you,” she said.
Regardless of your approach, Claytor said not to ask the person why they needed a loan.
“You don’t want to add to their embarrassment,” she said. “Most likely, he or she will voluntarily provide the information.”
Ultimately, Claytor said it was important to be kind to the other person.
“At the end of the day, good etiquette doesn’t make someone feel bad,” she said. “So whatever you say, remember to be kind and gentle to the person who is looking for money.”
She said that adhering to this philosophy would probably make your refusal to lend money better received.
Jodi RR Smith, president of Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting, based in Marblehead, Mass., Said to remember that this is your money that someone else is asking to borrow.
“You don’t have to provide an explanation as to why you don’t give it,” she said. “Keep it simple, I know this is a difficult time and I am so sorry that I cannot help you. “
This, of course, can be more complicated if the person asking is someone you really care about, but if you don’t have the extra funds or just prefer not to lend the money, Smith said that ‘it was good to politely decline.
“If you are able to tone down the ‘no’ answer, you can offer to work with them on their monthly budget to provide them with a way forward,” she said. “Or, if they are unemployed or underemployed, you can suggest job leads or networking.”
Ultimately, you have nothing to blame yourself for in this situation. You work hard for your money, so you should never feel pressured into giving loans to friends and family, especially if you’re not sure they’ll pay you back.
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If the other person blames you for not giving them a loan, it is character flaw on their part. No matter how close your relationship is, you are not their personal bank.
Hang on and be proud of yourself for making the decision that’s right for you. In the end, you just have to follow your instincts.
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Last updated: May 5, 2021
This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: How to say “no” to friends or family who want to borrow money