By Bobbi Rebell, Reuters correspondent and author of “How to Be a Financial Grownup: Proven Advice from High Achievers on How to Live Your Dreams and Have Financial Freedom“
Striking that balance between being a supportive friend and feeling taken advantage of is a tricky one, but definitely part of becoming a financial grownup. Here are four situations that friends often have to deal with and advice on how to maintain your friendships—and your money.
The money ask
The key thing here is compassion and a willingness to help. Asking for money is tough. So hear your friend out. But also be honest with yourself about your own financial situation. If you can afford to help, consider a gift. If your friend insists on a loan, tread carefully. It will create a tension between the two of you, and you will always feel bad asking for the money back. Your friend may start to avoid you if he or she can’t pay it back.
If you need the cash
Try to avoid asking friends for money. Not only does it put them in an uncomfortable situation, but it can also force them to help you at the expense of their own finances. Instead, set up a platform where they can give what they want, when they want. For a medical situation, for example, GoFundMe could be a great resource. If the money is needed for a business, check out Kickstarter. Then you can just let your friends know that you’d appreciate whatever help they can give.
The forgetful friend
We all know the people who don’t bring their wallets or credit cards and say, “I’ll get it next time.” And then they don’t. Take charge and help them download some apps that can store their payment information like Venmo and Apple Pay. They probably won’t forget their phone.
Ordering up a storm at dinner
Dinner out with friends can turn into a financial disaster with just one uncontrolled guest. He or she orders up a storm, including expensive bottles of wine. Sometimes the discourteous diner even “gets a call” towards the end of the meal and makes a quick exit, promising to pay you back later. We know how that will go. The best tactic is to be subtle. Mention you aren’t drinking and ask who else isn’t, and suggest those who are drinking order by the glass so they can try different wines or that you share a bunch of entrées to save room for the amazing desserts.
Get more tips on avoiding awkward money moments in “How to Be a Financial Grownup: Proven Advice from High Achievers on How to Live Your Dreams and Have Financial Freedom” by Bobbi Rebell.