Would you give a friend money? If you haven’t seen them in 5 years?

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Image by MediaPhoto.Org via Wiki Commons

My friend Brittany asked my opinion about an out-of-the-blue email she received from a former colleague and friend, Chris, who she hadn’t seen in more than 5 years. Chris was asking Brittany to give her $100. Would you give this friend money?

Chris’s story: She’s staying in a hotel, and about to go on a job interview. She’s one step away from being homeless if she doesn’t get this gig. That’s why she’s calling “old friends” for help.

Brittany, strapped for money herself, offered Chris a place to stay for a few nights. “No thanks,” Chris responded, she wanted to stay in her hotel room – over $100 a night.

During this back and forth another mutual friend, Paula, got involved. Paula sent Chris $100; the monthly offering she gives to her church, but decided to give it to Chris instead. After receiving the “tithed” $100… Chris asked Paula for another $100 the next day.

Remember, neither Brittany or Paula have seen or heard from Chris in at least 5 years. Because Paula didn’t send Chis another $100, Chis (wrongly) accused Brittany of talking Paula out of giving her that second $100.

Whatever the reason Chris had contacting her old colleagues, this brings up a bigger discussion about what are your protocols about gifting or loaning a friend money.

The Friend Money Tree

Brittany asked my opinion as the Friend Whisperer (or loud speaker at times), because it drives me crazy that people don’t prep for this possibility.

My answer: There is no right or wrong answers to this question only pre-planning about how much you’re willing to gift or loan a friend money. You may decide to give money to any friend in need, while others may prefer to only gift close friends.

However, set up a clear protocol ahead of time. If you don’t, often your money decisions will be emotional rather than rational and you may regret gifting or loaning your friend money a month or two later.

Pre-plan your commitments about money and avoid loaning or gifting more than you can afford.

What are you willing to gift to an old friend? Remember Brittany was going to give her place to stay for a couple of nights = $200 plus.
How much friend money would you gift to a close buddy?

A gift is not an investment – you mustn’t expect something in return, whereas a loan is an investment, you expect that money back.

For the following, think about writing up a document:
How much can you afford to lose?
How much would you loan an old friend?
How much would you loan a close friend?

The more you plan ahead of time, the better prepared you will be. So many times you are taken off guard, feel that you should loan or gift a friend and feel cornered. By planning, avoid a knee-jerk reaction to their request.

Write out responses: “Unfortunately I am unable to help you right, I’m on a budget myself, so won’t be able to help you at this time. Take care and good luck with your job interview.”
“This is the donation that I usually give to my _____ but your request moved me so here’s the amount for the next month. So happy to send you this one-time gift.”

Focus on compassion for both you and your friend – that means you offer or loan what’s comfortable for you at the time of the request.

Remember, a compassionate friend starts with you!

If you liked this post check out “I Have Jealous Friends What can I Do?” and “Facing Fears & Friends,” and send us your feedback!

Image courtesy: By MediaPhoto.Org (mediaphoto.org Own work) [CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

© Glenda Shaw_Superfriendgroups.com / GshawMedia 2014

Please note: I hide specific and identifiable details in my friend stories as these stories are examples of behavior and not meant to hurt anyone. These stories are based on my opinion and perspective, except when the people written about are in the public domain. Any advice in this blog is from my insights, research and opinion only, and must not be considered as legal or medical advice.

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