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Friend asking for money: How to deal with friends who want to borrow money without being rude

Updated on December 7, 2013

How to say no to a friend asking for money without sounding rude? What to do when your best friend wants to borrow money from you? How can you refuse giving money to a friend without risking and ending your friendship? From cheesy excuses that revolve around losing cash cards to complicated ones that include helping someone out without actually lending money – this post discusses ways in which you can keep money out of your friendship.

Pretending that you are broke is the easiest way to avoid lending money to friends.
Pretending that you are broke is the easiest way to avoid lending money to friends. | Source

1) Tell your friend you're broke

The easiest way to say no to friends who ask for money is to tell them that you are broke. If you don't want to use the word 'broke', say that you only have the money to barely last you until your next paycheck.

This excuse may become redundant if your lifestyle contradicts what you say. For example, if you pretend to be broke but buy yourself some new clothes at the same time, your friend will catch your lie.

2) Look for ways in which you can help your friend's situation without giving money

Depending on the situation, there are many ways in which you can help your friends out without having to lend money. Here are some ideas:

  • You can get your friend a job
  • Give your friend a couch to sleep for a few days while he or she can gather the money to pay rent elsewhere
  • Help your friend get on track by organizing his or her debt
  • Lend stuff instead of money, for example lend your old cell phone until your friend has the money to buy a new one

You can be a true friend by doing stuff like this. There will be a lot of involvement required from your side but at least you won't have to involve money in your friendship.

3) Say that you lost your online banking password

This is a great excuse if one of your friends calls you and asks you for money via a bank transfer. Conveniently say that you have lost your online banking password, you got blocked out of the system and it will take a couple of days for a new one to be dispatched to you.

Make sure you have another excuse lined up just in case that friend is willing to come over to your place so that you can draw some money with your cash card.

4) Say that it is your life's principle to never involve money in friendship

Deep down in your heart if you seriously believe that money can ruin a friendship, make it a rule to never lend money to any friend. Keep a poker face and tell your friend about your principle of keeping money out of friendships.

There is no need to give any excuses. Everyone has a set of ethics and principles which they live by. Not involving money in friendship can be yours.

Tell your friend you just spent your money on a new smartphone or any other purchase.
Tell your friend you just spent your money on a new smartphone or any other purchase.

5) Say that you just spent your money on a purchase

A nice way to convince someone that you don't have money is to say that you spent everything on a recent purchase. It can be for an expensive suit, booking tickets for a holiday, new TV or something else.

Don't worry about being confronted a month or two later regarding your new purchase – just say that you changed your mind and got a refund.

6) Tell your friend that you are trying to repay your debts

Lending money can be avoided by coming up with a fake story about your debt. Tell your friend that you are burdened with a massive credit card debt or a loan that you have been unable to repay.

Add to the drama by saying that the penalty interest on these debts is making it nearly impossible for you to survive from pay check to pay check. Hearing about your sympathetic situation will stop your friend from being needy and persuasive about borrowing some money from you.

7) Think of ways in which your friend can get money elsewhere

Suggest a few alternatives if you don't want to lend your friend money. Here are some ideas:

  • Ask your friend to borrow from his or her parents
  • Tell your friend to get a new credit card
  • See if your friend has some stuff that can be pawned at your local pawn shop
  • Tell your friend to sell some of the unused stuff lying forgotten in the closet or the garage – for example, an old snowboard

Lend money as a one-time thing and build a platform for your refusal the next time.
Lend money as a one-time thing and build a platform for your refusal the next time.

8) Lend money as a one-time thing so you can say no the next time

Sometimes you may feel like helping a friend out who is genuinely in need. You could feel obliged to support your best friend who is facing problems. If you are facing something, lend money as a one-time thing.

Be very specific as you lend your friend the money. Don't mince your words and don't feel shy in saying that this is a one-off.

If the same friend comes to you asking to borrow some money again, you can say no without feeling guilty because you have already built a platform for your refusal.

9) Say that your money is locked up in savings and investments

Tell your friend that you have locked up all your money in term deposits and investments which you can't access until a certain time. This way you don't need to pretend to be broke.

This excuse might work for you only if you are in your thirties and forties because people really don't expect teenagers to put all their money in long term savings and investments.

10) Ask your friend when he or she will return the money: Use the answer as an excuse

When your friend asks you for money, ask your friend when he or she will be able to return it. When you hear the answer, make a sorry face and say that need it back in a shorter period of time. Here is how such a conversation should ideally turn out:

  • Friend: Hey can I borrow five hundred dollars off you?
  • You: Yeah, but when can you give it back to me?
  • Friend: In two to three weeks
  • You: No, that's not possible, because I need to pay a couple of bills on Friday

This way, you can show a willingness to lend but follow it up with a circumstantial excuse to avoid giving money.

Put your foot down and say no if you think your friend is trying to use your friendship for money.
Put your foot down and say no if you think your friend is trying to use your friendship for money.

11) Just say no: Risking your friendship if you suspect foul play

Every person and every friendship has tolerance levels. If you can sense that your friend is using you for money, you will have to step up and make a bold decision.

This is one of those times when you will have to acknowledge the fact that your friend is disrespecting your friendship. You will have to put your foot down if you don't want to be used.

Have a heart to heart conversation with your friend and tell him or her how you feel that money is coming in the way of your friendship. Your honest and candid chat should be all it takes to push money out of the equation. If your friend tries to be manipulative despite your efforts, maybe you need to walk away.

12) Use the excuse of losing your cash card

Avoid giving money to a friend without sounding rude by saying that you lost your cash card. Pretend that you too, are finding it difficult to manage until a replacement card is dispatched to you by the bank.

Just make sure that you put your cash card somewhere other than your wallet. A best friend may take the liberty to flip through your wallet or purse.

13) Tell your friend that you just loaned money to someone else

Some social situations are not transparent. There might be one where you don't want to say that you are broke, you don't want to use clumsy excuses and you don't want to say no at the same time.

This is a situation where you want to make your excuse 100% fool-proof and make it sound as legit as possible. If you are in such a tricky spot, just say that you just lent some money to another friend and now you don't have any spare cash. Make sure to let your 'other friend' in on the lie so he or she can back you up.


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