in life

Friends don’t loan friends money — they give it

An unfortunate circumstance of life is when your friends get into money trouble. As a friend, you feel an obligation to support. But money is a crazy sensitive subject, and getting involved risks that friendship.

I don’t remember the context in which it came up, but I do remember that, as a child, I talked to my parents about loaning money to someone (maybe they had a friend who I knew needed money? maybe I had a friend who asked me for a loan?). And something they said stuck with me my whole life: friends don’t loan money to friends — they give it. If you get it back, great, and if not, that’s okay, too.

I hadn’t thought much about it until recently. And I wouldn’t be writing about it except I’ve seen a huge rift, a chasm cleave through a community of friends (where sides have been chosen and all kinds of other drama), and that chasm was caused by a friend loaning another friend money (it’s more complicated than that, but this will suffice). I don’t want others to be hurt the way that I have (and that’s as a by-stander to this situation).

True friendship cannot be conditional. If conditions are set up in order to maintain the relationship, it’s no longer a friendship. It’s an arrangement.

One friend might think they’re doing another a favor by loaning them money. “Isn’t it big of me to help my friend when they are struggling by spotting them some money?”


Because, if that struggling friend takes you up on that offer, you’ve now created a condition, specifically a shift in the power dynamic between the two friends. And that, by it’s very nature, is no longer a friendship.

If you cannot simply give someone the money they need, you shouldn’t give it at all — you’re under no obligation to financially support your friends. (And if you’re that struggling friend, no matter how hard it is, do not accept a loan from a friend. It will not be worth it.) If you can give someone the money, great, but only do so if you can do it and then immediately forget about it.