I lent my mate some money and now I need it back

By Bola Sol is the editor of Refined Currency.

Talking about money with mates can be awkward enough, without adding the extra pressure. Bola Sol from Refined Currency gives us some handy pointers for getting through.

Face to face is best

Ever been misunderstood in a whatsapp conversation? Yup it happens. So while it’s easy to hide because a call or a text, don’t be tempted. When having this conversation, it’s important you make yourself perfectly understood- and I’m afraid, this means face to face.

Keep the mood chilled and relaxed by choosing a bar or café. An open space provides an environment where there is a mixture of intimacy and some helpful noise to assist with any awkward silences.

The conversation

Start light– let them know that you’re here to talk to them about the money situation, but also, that you care about them.

Then be direct – ‘I need to ask you for that money back as it’s been some time now and I need it back.’

Don’t expect them to cough up the cash up straight away, they may need some help and time getting it together.

Do set a set a date, this will help them to make the necessary plans to get the money back to you.

You could suggest splitting it into a payment plan covering a couple of weeks or months. Reiterate that you know how life can be hard but you have your own set of financial commitments that you need to stay on top of. If possible, let them know what you need the money for as this helps them to understand your own situation.

Make sure you hear them out too as it’s likely there’s a good reason for not paying you back. Check out these articles for avoiding fights and getting out of debt.

Round it up

Once you’ve gone over the details, round up the conversation so you know you’re both on the same page with a statement such as ‘Glad that’s all sorted, so we’ve decided on £X amount on the 1st of every month’. Creating a summary is key to allowing both parties to show agreement and responsibility. If a summary isn’t given then it’s very easy for time to pass before someone says, ‘Huh? That’s not what I remember agreeing to’.

Now you’ve done the hard part, start talking about the shows you’re watching at the moment as a way to break the ice and show that you didn’t just meet up with them to talk about money!

Moving Forward

Now you’ve experienced lending money to a friend, it may make sense to not borrow in the future. Even if you are in a good position financially to lend someone money, it’s not always worth the impact it can have on the relationship with the person you’re lending money to. ‘I’m sorry, my money’s tied up at the moment. Is there any other way I can help?’ shows them that even though they can’t borrow from you, you still want to help in some way. Make sure they know that you’re always there to listen and you’re supporting them the best way you can.

If you’re worried about your friend or think they need further support, there are plenty of organisations who can help with debt, here are a few:

Citizens Advice – provides free, independent, confidence and impartial advice

National Debtline – A free, confidential debt advice service

Turn2us – helps those in financial difficulties access benefits


You can view Bola’s other article for Money for Life here