• Keeping Friends

Money, trust and friendship

Published: September 1, 2012 | Last Updated: October 28, 2012 By | 6 Replies Continue Reading
Should I try to contact her and pretend like nothing happened?


Hi Irene,

I am so grateful I found your blog. I met my best friend Karin four years ago when we both entered the university. We became so close that most people were jealous of our friendship. My family loved her and her family loved me. We always had arguments but found ways to remain friends.

This year, in January, I told her I was buying an expensive item I had always wanted. Since I had saved for this item, it wasn’t going to be a problem for me. She then said she needed one, too, and that she would pay me back. I used my money to buy the item for both of us and when it was delivered, I told her to pick it up and let me have the money but she never did.

Anytime I called her, I asked her to come for the item and pay me. She always said she would but never did.

I never wanted money to destroy our friendship but she stopped picking up my calls. When I used a different number, she picked up. I sent her lots of text messages asking if I had done anything wrong, if so I was sorry, and that I never wanted our friendship to break up over money. She never responded.

Months ago, she finally picked up my call when I used a different number again. All she could say was that my calls annoyed her and that the money wasn’t the problem. She said she told someone to bring me the money long ago. I was so hurt when she said that my calls annoyed her that I told her I wouldn’t be bothering her anymore with my calls.

After hearing what she said to me, I decided to give the item to my mum as a Mother’s Day gift but I was very hurt that I had to sacrifice about three months of my salary for the payment of the item (which I hadn’t budgeted). About two days after this incident, she sent someone to my office to bring the money but I declined in taking it because I had already given the item to my mum. She called back complaining that after disturbing her about the money, I now wouldn’t take it.

This was the last time we spoke to each other, about three months ago. I decided not to stay in touch and keep my distance. She hasn’t contacted me as well. Irene, I really love and care for my Bestie like the sister I never had. It has taken me a long time to get over this issue. I don’t bear a grudge against her. Irene, do you think I should contact her and go back to how were used to be? Please advise me.

Signed, Still Upset


Dear Still Upset,

Even in very close friendships, it’s normal to have misunderstandings. Often, these relationships are made stronger when people work through the difficulties together. In the past, it seems like you and your friend found ways to do that, for the most part.

In this situation, your trust was breached—and that is harder to overcome. You laid out a significant amount of money because you believed your friend would reimburse you. You took her at her word.

On top of that disappointment, she didn’t respond to multiple calls and texts from you trying to find out what was going on. She may have been impulsive about asking you to buy it for her or she may have been short on cash. Either one of these possibilities doesn’t excuse her refusing to respond or give you an explanation and apology.

These insults, coupled with her telling you that your calls were annoying, suggest that this is not the kind of friendship you want to pursue any further. This incident goes beyond money, per se, and would make it hard to trust this person again. You can’t count on her.

This has to be a tremendous disappointment but you cannot allow yourself to pretend it didn’t happen. Since this friendship is so important to you, you might try once more to see if she is able to give you a reasonable explanation. Perhaps, she was trying to accumulate the money, which she didn’t have when she impulsively asked you to make the purchase, and was embarrassed to admit that to you. You could try sending her one email to see if she wants to talk it through. if she doesn’t respond, you should back off and not get involved with her again.

Sure hope this is helpful.

My best, Irene

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

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Category: Friends and Money

Comments (6)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Love this post! when you have a doub you can questions to friends…

  2. Anonymous says:

    Never mix business with friendship. Yes, it may seem perfectly natural to go into business with your friend, or to employ (or be employed by) him or her. But, those of you who have actually “been there” know that the business relationship, the friendship—or both—are doomed. Neither will ever be the same. You might exchange money, property or services with a friend on a one-time basis, but even that has the potential to complicate a friendship. 

  3. Anonymous says:

    thank you Irene and all those who commented on my issue.
    i have taken ur advise and will stick to it.am truly grateful.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It would be different if you’d gotten angry at her for borrowing the money and she found a way to repay or make amends. I could see continuing the friendship in that scenario. In your case, there are two separate things that would make me stay away. First, the friend asks for a BIG favor: Could you please order an expensive item for her, with your money? (If I read your post correctly, she didn’t even pick up the item? So it’s like she wouldn’t even acknowledge that you bought it for her.) That alone would make me wary. Second, she’s avoiding you and telling you that your phone calls are annoying. How sad you have to use other phone numbers to trick her into answering.

    I had an experience loaning money to a very good friend decades ago. She told me that she needed money “to live on till the end of the month” for food and gas money, and then I watched her and her husband spend it on beer and a movie date. I was P*SSED. Eventually I told her what was bothering me, she apologized and repaid the money, and we moved on. She didn’t avoid me. She did something to make amends. To this day, though we live far away from each other, we’re still good friends. However, I no longer loan money to anyone unless its something small like paying for lunch on the spur of the moment.

    The friend that you miss is the one you thought you knew before the whole falling out over the expensive item. Even if you tried to contact her again (which I wouldn’t), she is not the friend you thought you knew. I don’t think you’d be getting back the Bestie that you miss.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I know it’s hard to look at it so black and white like I do with friendships, but it’s time to move on. Life is too short to waste effort on people who treat you like that. A real friend wouldn’t give you the runaround like that, especially after you laid out good money on her behalf. She said it wasn’t he money but that sounds like BS. I get the impression she was just plain jealous and couldn’t handle it. I know it’s hard but focus on getting out there and meeting new people and forming new friendships with people who treat you better. If you contact her again, she’s only going to tell you the same thing again. Why let her reject you again? Don’t be upset any longer. She did you a favor.

  6. Anonymous says:

    That’s a tough situation your friend put you in. It’s bad enough she asked you to spot her for the expensive item, then didn’t even pay you back, and left you stuck with it. Adding insult to injury, she ignored your calls and texts–THEN, told you the calls were annoying. Who the hell does she think she is? I agree with Irene’s advice to move on and get over her. If it were me, I wouldn’t even e-mail her one more time. She owes YOU a thank you and an apology and she should be pursuing you to talk, to give you an explanation. I appreciate how broken hearted you are. But she will do this again and again to you, so you are better off without her. Fun times with a BFF will also be accompanied with more insulting behavior by her if you let her back in your life. Plus, remember this: She runs away. She’s the type who just runs away, avoids calls, when she doesn’t want to face the music.

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