I’ve teamed up with Scottish Friendly today who have kindly funded this post about friends and finances!
Today’s post is a little story I’d like to share about a time where my friendships and finances overlapped and let’s just say, the two didn’t go together like strawberries and champagne, that’s for sure.
A couple of years ago, around the time when I almost got into debt for my friend’s wedding, I was asked to organise the hen party for the bride-to-be. What a lavish affair it was! The bride-to-be wanted a great big get together with all of her friends (most of whom were also my friends) for a whole weekend of fun away from home in a lovely country cottage.
On the first night, we had lots of in-house entertainment like pampering treatments and party games and on the second day, we had a day out exploring the beautiful historical city of Cambridge in England, along with tours, lunch, shopping and then that evening was spent enjoying a three course meal followed by cocktails and drinks aplenty.
This hen party of course didn’t come cheap. In fact the whole shebang cost around £350 per person, with deposits needing to be taken straightaway upon booking the activities. As I was the organiser, the task was down to me to get the deposits and balance payments from 14 girls / ladies, all of whom worked various hours under the sun and some of whom were impossibly difficult to get hold of.
Sometimes money gets in the way of friendships
Getting each person’s money from them for this hen party was in many ways like getting blood out of a stone. Yes, some of our friends paid up quickly but in the end, I had to use some of my own money to reserve the activities in the hope that I would then receive the money due to me in return. I was basically lending some of our friends the money to pay for their place in advance – based on the promise that they’d pay up.
Quite rightly, the bride-to-be didn’t want to be bothered about the finer details so I had to do the chasing for payment and in the end, despite letting them know that money was tight for me, three of our friends left it right up until the last minute to pay me – when we were on the hen party weekend itself. Out of those three, one of them left it until the Sunday to pay me her share and even then still left me £15 short! After all the hassle getting the money together, I just left it and didn’t bother trying to get the £15 shortfall from her.
The thing that really annoyed me about this whole situation was that these particular friends knew that money was tight for me and that I’d had to use my own money to reserve their place, yet they delayed payment right until the last minute, causing me no end of stress and worry. At that time, I was up to my neck in debt – not that they all knew my financial situation to that extent.
This is where lending to friends can turn into a right sticky mess. In my case, I put myself in this position for my best friend – I was trying to make sure the hen weekend ran smoothly for her. I wasn’t expecting some of our mutual friends to delay payment and even avoid my phone calls when I needed to get their money from them!
When all was said and done, I was left luckily only £15 out of pocket and I wouldn’t say it tarnished my relationship with my best friend but I did feel a bit resentful towards some of the others for a while about how things panned out. I was surprised and a bit disappointed at how little consideration some of these friends had for me and my financial situation.
One good thing that came out of this though is that I learned a valuable lesson here thanks to the whole experience and I won’t put myself in that position again as it could have turned out very differently with me ending up in serious bother with money.
Be cautious about lending to friends
I’ve never been asked outright before to lend a friend money, but if it was a friend I trusted, I know I would lend money to them in a heartbeat. Nowadays though, I’d make sure I could definitely afford it myself first. I wouldn’t lend money to someone who I wasn’t sure about. The problem is that money is a sensitive topic at the best of times, so if something was to go wrong, it would no doubt leave me out of pocket – and who knows what would happen to my friendship as a result?!
I’d like to hear your views on this. Have you lent money to friends before or ended up in a situation like mine where you felt you had no choice but to pay on behalf of your friends? If so, what happened and would you lend money to friends again?
*Photo sourced from Free Digital Photos and modified by Disease Called Debt