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Guest Post: Don’t Let Money Ruin Your Friendships

Published: April 2, 2012 | Last Updated: June 5, 2022 By | 9 Replies Continue Reading
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By Gina Ryder for Go Girl Finance

Whether it’s a miser who hesitates to go dutch at dinner or the moocher who’s been asking you to spot her since high school, money and friendship can be a doosey. To find solutions and solace to some money and friendship woes, Go Girl Finance, an online community that helps woman have confidence when dealing with money hosted a Twitter chat organized by the hashtag #GreenGirlfriends. The chat’s featured expert was Dr. Irene Levine (The Friendship Doctor). Through a heated discussion, we learned five basic rules that will help maintain friendships that add richness to life and let go of the ones that subtract from financial well being.

1) Borrow and Lend Money With Caution

Over 50 chat participators agreed that money has caused problems in some of their friendships. Many shared stories of hearing friends say, “I’ll pay you back” but not following through. Users expressed the pain that comes with trusting a friend and ended up being put in a tight spot. Levine’s guideline to live by is, “Never lend money you can’t afford to lend.”

2) Don’t Become an Enabler For Bad Decisions Involving Money

The chat delved into money irresponsibility and whether or not it was kosher to step in when you see a friend skipping down a dangerous path. A slew of comments flew in about the discomfort that comes with watching friends blow money to fuel toxic or unhealthy habits.

All agreed that this sort of stuff is eggshell walking territory and watching buddies mishandle cash can be rough. Levine says these types of experiences can shift a friendship between two grown women into a mother-daughter like relationship, which is never ideal. One participator spoke of a friend fueling their shopping addiction but asking for money to cover their bills. Levine said that lending money could enable a friend to be reckless. She also pointed out that irresponsible behavior like compulsive shopping could rub off on friends and advised women to be guarded with those who act out with their wallet.

And how do you handle a friend who excessively vents her personal economic troubles? One participator suggested, “If the complaint is a request for help, I offer suggestions. If not, I tune it out.”

3) Discuss Finances Before Girlfriend Getaways and Outings

Girlfriend getaways with unresolved expenses and undivided restaurant bills can lead to buried hostility and tension. On the subject of dining out, the community suggested to always “go down the middle” for restaurant checks and  “get your gas money up front” for travel excursions. Levine’s position on vacations with friends was “It’s important to be honest about what you can afford.” Speaking about situations where friends influence personal spending habits, she said, “Don’t be embarrassed and don’t succumb to peer pressure.”

4) Never Forget the Value of Financial Give and Take

What about being treated? Is there any etiquette for letting a friend pay? The majority of chat contributors said that if a friend insisted, they’d accept but would try to cover them next time. Most seemed to operate by the “pay it forward” mentality.

One person brought up the potential for cultural sensitivity in accepting experiences on gratis. They said, “In some cultures, if a friend invites you to a meal, it’s implied that it’s their treat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t offer something in return.” One generous friend admitted she often likes to treat her friends. She said, “If I suggest a restaurant my friend can’t afford, I don’t mind paying. Sometimes I just want the company.”

5) Connect With Friends in healthy, positive and (almost) free ways

Taking fitness class together, grabbing a small coffee or talking a walk in the park are great examples of how to stay in friendship bliss without any financial risk. Levine spoke about how ultimately friendship exists to enhance life not reduce it. She said,  “Relationships need balance and money is only one element of friendship.”


Some prior blog posts on The Friendship Blog about friendship and money:


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Category: Friends and Money

Comments (9)

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  1. teabag says:

    I dont believe in friendships anymore. Its like this good friends are hard to come by in todays world. I’ve got a very low opinion on people. As I say
    Money is at the root of all evil. Its sad when one takes pity on someone who needs private money help one gives out a hand. Because sometimes its insincere they dont need the money. Its like this my advice on lifes lesson is this. Never give out money, have the confidence to say no. Because if you get for ex – one person getting around you, on, then their is a phrase others may mirror the same & follow suit. Secondly, in life the people that for ex use you financially are people who are at a point of need socially. For ex – different theory’s. Loneliness, widower, divorcee, childless person, unpopular person single, poorly paid Job, etc, a person who has a cognitive difference genuine gay. People like this, are fragile & dont find It easy to fit into the accepted society. Because they cant help being different. Sadly speaking they are members of society that are on the outskirts of society looking in. They sometimes dont fit steotypically into mainstream society. Its like this friends can be good but you have to be a little selective. The point is think about makes a good friend. Taking from a friend financially using them this way will not make a friendship. Its like this,in society we have to change our approach to making friends & how we define them. The way I see it is differently. We are creating a cold society where one cant show friendless without it seeming misconstrued. For ex – why is it wrong to be neighbourly. For ex – once in a blue moon, baking cakes for a neighbour. Personally, I dont think this is being to familiar, Its called being nice. The society in which we are creating is most downhill in my view. You cant just form acquaintances, have friends or be nice without society thinking their is form of agenda. Society is creating this view. Most friendships come together at a point of need.rarely is It one likessomeone just for being them, their is always some form of catch. Even though you may not latch on to this at the time of knowing the person. Its like this

    • teabag says:

      If you are taking money from someone at this present time or giving it out to someone think what its like for the other person involved as its privately unfair. Because often the person does not always have much themselves, in comparison to what ya may think. Its often the people that appear to have it all, but don’t. Its like this, often people who’s values are unmaterliastic. Who lead simple lives. Can be people who are targeted financially or used. Its like this to explain what I mean is – what do people like most in life. Its having a nice set of friends. That take you as they see you. That includes not only face 2 face pals, but also not forgetting pen pals written correspondence. As I say the nice kind may take time to cultivate. Their is a phrase which is freely give their your heart be also. Albeit dont be a pushover. As

      • teabag says:

        I say its my birthday today. I’ve got some lovely presents – grateful for. I’ve recently lost my grandfather to lung cancer. My birthday does not feel the same without my pa.

  2. Colleen says:

    I My crazy friend who inherited millions & I’m retired on a budget. She started canceling our outing’s for dinner, massages, winery’s.. She become paranoid thinking everyone is taking advantage of her even me. I have never asked her for anything and I wouldn’t, I’ve even PAID for her dinner a few times after she got the $. She’s weird anyway but now worse. Now I’m hurt that she has accused me of this by telling my husband that this is how she feels about me. And we always go dutch, Once last month my husband and I meant her for a drink, I was hungry so I picked up the appetizer menu, and ordered and I shared it and I payed for it. She later told my husband a month later that she felt very uncomfortable when I reached for the appetizer menu. Now that’s weird… Its like I want to tell her off as she has been very hurtful. She said to my husband that everyone has there hand out for money and they don’t

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  3. Anonymous says:

    As a person who used to be a drug addict, borrowing money from friends, I would say Don’t lend your friends money. I lost a good friend over my repeatedly borrowing money from him and he dumped me as a friend because of this issue. It is best to keep money separate in friendship.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Lending is a slippery slope, one I’ve gone down all too often. My rule of thumb: I never loan more than I can afford to lose.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I had a problem with a friend who had a lot more disposable income than I had. She kept telling me to get a better job when I was happy where I was. Needless to say we are no longer friends.

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