10 ways to avoid falling out with friends over money

18th May 18 | Lifestyle

From bickering over bills, to resentment over people not paying their way, money can be a common source of friendship fall-outs.

Friends at the pub

You can’t put a price on a good friend – but it seems many of us find ourselves falling-out over money.

For instance, nearly two-thirds (63%) of drivers feel awkward about asking passengers for petrol money in return for a lift, according to a new survey by Admiral, which also found that over a quarter (27%) say they’ve fallen out with somebody who did not pay their way.

It’s not just petrol money that can lead to bickering over bills. Previous research from mobile payments service Paym found that a third (33%) of stag and hen-do organisers were not paid on time by party participants, with the average amount owed coming in at almost £250. Paym also found smaller everyday expenses, such as bin bags and washing up liquid in a shared house, can often spark flat-share fall-outs.

Here, Annie Logan from Paym gives her top tips to prevent finance fall-outs from ruining friendships…

1. Be clear

If, for example, you are buying some concert tickets for you and a mate, make it clear when you expect to be paid back – or even better, get them to send you the money before you make the purchase. Potential issue avoided.

2. Put a reminder in your phone

In some ways, it can be more awkward to be the person forgetting to pay someone back, than to be the person waiting for money. More people send Paym payments on the last Friday of the month than any other day – suggesting payday must be a popular day for reminders.

3. No cash, no problem
There are all sorts of ways to pay these days that don’t need to be cash. For example, Paym lets you pay straight to a bank account using just a mobile number – so no faffing with sort codes and account numbers. More than four million people have now registered with their bank or building society.

4. Keep it breezy

If you do have to ask someone for money they owe you, try and keep it as calm and breezy as possible. Perhaps try to mention it in a light-hearted way, like: “So when are you having me round for a takeaway part two? I’ll bring dessert!”

5. Flatter your friends

Turn the focus onto the fact that by paying you back they are helping you out, which will help keep the spotlight off the awkwardness of the outstanding debt. You could say something like: “Things are a little tight before my holiday.”

6. Don’t sweat the small stuff
If you end up out of pocket for two or three quid, try to ask yourself if it really is worth bothering mentioning it and creating possible tension, or whether you would be happier just to let it go. After all, what is a few pounds between friends?

7. Seize the opportunity
Many of us have had a night out where we have ended up paying for a round, and then the bar has shut before someone has the chance to do the same in return. But instead of feeling resentment, be a social butterfly, and see more of your friend with the IOUs, not less. They will most likely be thankful for the reminder and a chance to do their bit.

8. Listen if there is a problem
There’s a reason why you’re friends, right? Be nice if there is a solvable problem. Maybe they are a bit skint but will be able to sort you out next month, or give you half now and half later. Even having the discussion can dissolve any tension and you can get back to being friends.

9. Once bitten, twice shy
If your friend still owes you money and it’s a problem, perhaps try to avoid putting your hand in your pocket for them again until things have squared up. It may be that they’ve just forgotten the first occasion, but doubling any outstanding amount is likely to just build resentment.

10. Finally, remember what the friendship is worth
We can all overreact to situations sometimes, so when it comes to money, it is always good to take a step back and ask: Is this money worth losing a friend over? It will depend on how much the debt is and how good a friend they are, but as long as you take the time to think about the bigger picture, you are bound to make the right decision.

© Press Association 2018