Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

Friends And Money: An Uneasy Mix

Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.

Polonius, Hamlet Act 1, scene 3, 75-77

Good advice from one of Shakespeare’s flightier characters.
This weekend a good friend and I were road-tripping in upstate New York, and she shared a story with me about another friend with whom she was having an issue. Over the summer, she said, this friend had made a promise to her that, if she visited her, she’d help pay her airfare for the trip. Well, my friend made the trip, and, suffice it to say, afterward the “help” was not forthcoming.
For a variety of reasons, my friend wasn’t comfortable directly confronting her friend with a request that she honor her promise. But she wouldn’t have made that trip had it not been under that understanding that it’d be partly subsidized – she’s on a very tight budget, as so many of us are. And, in the past, she’d helped her friend out in similar ways, so it would have been tit for tat, not a handout. Now she’s left feeling sore at her friend, and short on cash. Not a great place to be.
Such incidents are hardly unique. And they don’t just happen among friends. Family feuds over money are the stuff of cliche and sit-com for a reason. But I think when money comes between friends it’s a particular ethical dilemma. I know when it’s me, I have to strike a balance between my own interests and the desire to keep my friend happy; the need to please and the need to feel I’ve been treated fairly.
In my own experience, resentments like these can fester; the only solution that works for me is to be very clear up front. If accepting a favor of any kind, have a plan for paying it back, if not in kind then in some other fashion that seems equitable. If lending something out, I try to make it something I won’t mind losing if it never comes back to me. And if I am giving something to a friend in exchange for a service like a car tune-up or a paint-job on my house, (never a great idea if I can avoid it), I remind myself up front that however they end up delivering that service, I’ve paid for it like any other. The money is just money, and it’s better to let go of that than someone dear to me.
Have you ever lost a friendship because of money? Tell us your experience in the comments field below.

Subscribe to receive updates from Everyday Ethics or follow us on Twitter! 
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Post a Comment

By submitting these comments, I agree to the terms of service, rules of conduct and privacy policy (the "agreements"). I understand and agree that any content I post is licensed to and may be used by in accordance with the agreements.

Previous Posts

More Blogs To Enjoy!
Thank you for visiting Everyday Ethics. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Idol Chatter Most Recent Inspiration blog post Happy Reading! ...

posted 3:53:05pm Sep. 07, 2012 | read full post »

Coding Ethics...
Internet activist and New York Times bestselling author of The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You, Eli Pariser is concerned that information gatekeepers of the past (i.e. editors/reporters) have been replaced by algorithms that ...

posted 2:49:15pm Jan. 22, 2012 | read full post »

Can Ethical Companies Do Business With Unethical Leaders?
Coca-cola has been accused of "propping up a notorious Swaziland dictator" whose human rights abuses and bilking of the national wealth has long been criticized by human rights activists. According to Guardian UK reporter David Smith**, ...

posted 3:49:39pm Jan. 02, 2012 | read full post »

New Years Resolutions: Are We Lying to Ourselves?
I know it's become popular, but I've become suspect of using traditional goal-setting strategies and business process techniques to change personal habits and pursue a meaningful life. While I can admit that there's something invigorating--even ...

posted 10:51:42pm Jan. 01, 2012 | read full post »

Is Craigslist Who We Really Are?
Raise your hand if you're familiar with  Chances are, there's one that serves your community.  And it's extremely handy for job listings, housing, dating, selling your old crap or buying new old crap.Really, it's ...

posted 9:15:55am Dec. 18, 2009 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.