Do your friends owe you money? Here’s how to ask for it back

Are you owed money by a friend? Feel awkward about asking for it back? Find out how what to do if you’ve lent money to a friend.

One in five people in the UK admit to lending money to a friend, 12.6 million people confess that they have fallen out with friends or family over money and one in three people say that they have waited over a year for money to be returned to them.

According to Google trend data, the search term, how to ask for money owed has received a 216.67% uplift in the past month alone.

In this article financial expert Georgia Galloway at Finbri reveals how to ask for the money that you leant to a friend back and what to consider before you lend.

What to do BEFORE you lend money to a friend

Like many things in life, prevention is better than cure when it comes to debt owed by friends. So here are three things to do and consider before you lend money to someone you know.

1) Agree a return date

A financial institution would never lend money without clear, agreed terms. And while your loan is personal, not commercial, it’s still important to have clear parameters. Agreeing a return date means the borrower know when the money is expected back, and it helps to prevent any awkwardness in chasing later on.

2) Find out what they are spending the money on

If a friend requests that you lend money from them, the chances are that they have also told you what they need the money for.

Of course, what your friends spend their money on is none of your business however, if you are lending them money, you must be comfortable with what they are spending it on. This will avoid any resentment building if there is a delay in them returning it.

3) Don’t lend more than you can afford to lose

If you haven’t got the money to lose, then you may not have it to lend. Ultimately, no matter how close your relationship with your friend is, there is always a risk that the money may never be returned. So never lend more than you can ultimately afford to lose.

How to ask for money back from a friend

So what should you do if you’ve lent money to a friend and they haven’t yet paid you back? Here are some suggestions to help you manage the situation.

Don’t feel bad about asking

The first piece advice is not to feel bad about asking for your money – even if it’s a small amount. Many people feel embarrassed to ask for their money to be returned, especially if it’s not much. But what is a small amount to one person may not be a small amount to another, you are always entitled to ask for what is owed.

And besides, if they were comfortable enough to ask you for a loan, you can feel comfortable to ask for it back.

Use ‘you’ rather than ‘our’

Whether it’s a small or large amount that is owed, the borrower is likely to feel a sense of embarrassment that they have not yet paid their debt.

Avoid accusatory language and send a short but sweet reminder, whether through text or in person. Swap statements such as, ‘you owe me money’ for the likes of, ‘I just wanted to check in about our debt’. Using ‘our’ over ‘you’, will ensure that they recipient doesn’t feel the need to be defensive or that they are about to engage in confrontation.

Agree flexi repayments 

If you are aware that your friend is in a sticky situation financially, instead of asking for the money back as a whole, suggest a payment plan.

Such a proposal opens a wider conversation and a safe space for your friend to talk about their worries and voice any concerns that they have with regards to paying you back.

Be direct

It’s important to be direct when asking for money to be returned. What may be obvious to you may not be obvious to the borrower. Ensure that you are direct and make it clear that you expect the cash to be returned and not a product that equates to the equivalent amount.

For instance, the borrower may believe that they have paid their debt in full after paying for social outings, taxis etc. Ensure that you are clear and concise about what you consider to be a debt paid in full.