Dear Michelle, Recently I ran in to some tough financial times and a friend has offered to give me money to help me get on my feet. He says he wants nothing in return and it’s a gift not a loan. Something is telling me not to take the money from him but it would really help me out. What do you think I should do? – Friend in Need
Many have been quoted as saying that it’s best not to borrow money from a neighbor or a friend, but sometimes it’s nice to know a friend or family member will be there for you when you are at a time of need. It’s tough to go against your intuition though and if there is something telling you not to take the money, then that’s probably the best move. Usually our inner voice is the right voice, assuming we are equipped with a brain with the capacity to think rationally and a conscience.
Perhaps it depends upon what the money would be used for and whether there are other avenues you can take rather than borrowing money from your friend. Additionally, consideration of your friend’s financial condition might be something to think about when evaluating the pros and cons. For example, if your friend has an excessive amount of money and is not wanting for anything, then it might be a gift to him or her to be in a position to help out. Maybe your friend truly wants to help and is the type of person who would be insulted if you refuse help.
Money is often a tough subject and it’s been known to cause a few breakups. Friendships are no different than marriages in that regard and it would be awful to lose a friendship because of money, but it might also be difficult to lose a house especially when someone is there offering to help you out so that you do not suffer such hardship. Only you know how deep your debt is and how deep your friendship runs.
If it were me, I would probably go to a bank before I would borrow money from a friend unless the friend was someone I have lent money to in the past, or someone I knew would never expect anything from me in return. I would also be mindful of the status of the money. By that I mean, would it be a gift or a loan, and be sure to tell my friend going in, if I thought I could not pay the money back anytime soon. Lastly, the amount might be something to consider. One man’s $1 is another man’s $1000. Depending upon your friend’s financial situation, his lending you or giving you a small amount of money might not be a bad thing only you want to be certain that you are clear going in what the expectations are as far as payback.
All that being said, if you can avoid borrowing the money and get by, that’s probably the best choice and what I would opt to do because I would rather risk insulting my friend by not taking the money, than lose a friendship over money.