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I've started dating (i.e. having meals and drinks) with a school friend who I haven't seen in a while.

In that time, my life has worked out quite well (home-owner, stable job, good health etc.) whereas hers has not (rented council house, no job, heavy smoker etc.) Just to be clear, I don't begrudge her for these things and she is looking to improve her life (find a job, quit smoking, exercise more etc.)

Because of her finances, she tends to ask to borrow money. This has happened twice (asked for £10 to buy cigarettes and £10 for a taxi to my house).

On the first occasion (to buy cigarettes), I said I didn't have £10 in my wallet to spare. On the second occasion, I said that it is a 5 minute walk between our houses.

I don't like the idea of lending people money unless they are family and it is really needed.

My question is, how can I let my date know to stop asking me to lend her money?

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    Are you "dating" dating or the real thing? Methinks if it's the real thing a part of why she's dating you could be because you're financially secure and in a position to help out. – Magisch Feb 16 '18 at 13:20
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    Hey... let's not make guesses or cast aspersions on someone we don't know. Remember to Be Nice. Also, remember that comments are for requesting clarification. Your commentary on this woman is not that. – Catija Feb 16 '18 at 16:38
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    Has she returned the money that she previously borrowed from you? – pacoverflow Feb 16 '18 at 17:40
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    @Bad_Bishop I am finding your use of the terms date and dating confusing. Do you mean dating in the romantic sense IE relationship, or more in the informal context, like meeting up with a friend? – Jon Feb 16 '18 at 23:53
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    @pacoverflow AFAIU , she has never succeeded in borrowing money from OP. – Evargalo Feb 20 '18 at 13:34

12 Answers 12

81

how can I let my date know to stop asking me to lend her money?

Next time she asks, explain it just like you did here:

I'm sorry, but no. I don't like the idea of lending people money unless they are family, so I'd prefer it if you didn't ask again.

Leave out the 'really needed' part though, she might start playing on that if she knows.

Don't invent excuses or reasons why you're not going to give her any money. You'll run out eventually, and she'll keep asking because you haven't told her you don't loan people money. I have no way of gauging this person's character, but I'd like to warn you anyway: If she keeps asking you for money, she might not be dating you because she likes you, but because she likes your money. That's a bad relationship, one that you might want to get out of as soon as possible.

If this is the case, however, the above sentence/approach has 1 risk: she might stop seeing you because you're not going to be useful. If you want to keep your friendship at any cost, your current approach might be better.

If you decide to follow through with telling her not to ask again, and she decides to just ignore that (and keeps asking), it is time for you to enforce your boundaries. Tell her again that her asking isn't appreciated, and that if she doesn't respect that boundary, you'll have to stop seeing her (depending on how hard you want to play this, but that's the only way to get it to stop sometimes).

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – John Feb 17 '18 at 2:10
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Borrow or give? If she wants to borrow money you could lend her a tenner sometime if you're feeling generous, as it's not that large an amount. Don't ask for it back, consider it a gift (but don't say that to her).

Then when she invariably asks you if she can borrow money again in the future, you can say, "Sorry, I lent you ten pounds last time, and you never gave that back"

It is quite a red flag though. It's wise to remember that people will often resent owing you anything, and many people are not that appreciative of generosity. unfortunately.

14

Just tell her you don't like loaning out money to people "umless they are family and it is really needed."

However, I do think it's kind of ungenerous of you to be nickling and diming a girl you are dating, especially considering both of your circumstances. When I am hanging out with my friends, if one of us is financially strapped, no one minds covering for them, and if we do something that person can't afford to do, and it's too much to pay for them entirely, we just exclude them from the activity, and everyone understands. I have been on both ends of the financial spectrum, and when I'm doing well, it is my pleasure to treat my friends who are not able to keep up, and when I've been on a tight budget, my friends have always made sure that money doesn't create any bad feelings or embarassments.

So, in relation to this, if I'm dating someone, and moreso sleeping with them, if I'm considerably well off than my lover, taking care of them is default. I've bern lucky enough to have not run into too many cheapskates or nickel/diming types in my life, but when I do, I just, have no interest in keeping their company. It cheapens the joy in spending time with them, and it makes me feel like they are always and only looking out for themselves, and what is the difference between them and some stranger off the street?

But this is just me.

I get that some people prefer not to share what they have with others, and I'm guessing that they are very much capable of being on their own when things get tough for them - or unable to find anyone willing to help them - and that's just the way they're wired. I'm not saying you should pay for the girl you're seeing, since you obviously do not care to, but you should let her know what kind of person you are so she can either (a) stop making you feel uncomfortable by asking you for money, or (b) she can leave you to be with someone who doesn't mind taking care of their lover/girlfriend/date.

Last comment- I guess I can't help but disagree with your attitude. She's clearly destitute. Maybe you should stick with someone who is financially independent. Give this girl a chance to know what kind of person you are before you start sleeping with her, or it is you whose motives are less than pure.

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    I think this answer might be based on the false premise that the money the girl is asking to loan will be spend on things related to the date? The OP mentions eating/drinking with the girl, in no way mentions sleeping with them... And the girl asks to buy money for cigarettes or taxi's, not to cover the cost of a meal/drink... Could you explain why you believe the OP is sleeping with her? Why you think not loaning money to someone for cigarettes (when that person is giving up smoking) is being a cheapskate? Why you think cigarettes are needed for a date that involves a meal and a drink? – Tinkeringbell Feb 16 '18 at 14:23
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    Not quite. It's about giving her help because she is short on momey in general, and the gentleman is well-off or substantially wealthier. It's pocket change to him. It's probably a big deal to her, seeing she has no income. I don't assume the guy is sleeping with her, although I assume he intends to - and I question the potential for his taking her seriously, as he has pointed out all his successes and only her failures. And no, I don't think cigarettes are nec. needed for the date (I could be wrong, lol), it's more of seeing to her needs and wants. – Funwithsurgery Feb 16 '18 at 14:28
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    Does this not raise a red flag though that she could be basically exploiting the OP for his money and has no romantic interest in him at all? – DoctorPenguin Feb 16 '18 at 14:43
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    There is only one relevant sentence in this answer. The rest is you describing your personal values. No one cares what you do if you date someone, or what you think of this persons attitude. It doesn't answer the question. – pipe Feb 16 '18 at 15:09
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    I see this answer differently: "if I'm [...] sleeping with them, [...] taking care of them is default". There are many reasons why I'd feel it's reasonable to financially help someone out. However, paying for sex is a different matter and not everyone wants that sort of relationship. – eff Feb 20 '18 at 12:30
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Oh boy, oh boy. I know the answer to this one. Here's the green check-mark lowdown...

You asked,

How can I let my date know to stop asking me to lend her money?

Don't. It's not nice to tell adults what to do, unless of course they ask for advice, preferably on the internet. Just don't lend her money and she'll eventually quit asking - probably.

You didn't ask,

How do I say no?

"No," works. But to be a little less blunt, the first time, say, "Janice, I have a rule I live by. I never lend money. I know you'll respect that." (This works best if the woman's name is Janice.) Give no explanation. Explanations invite discussion. Ditto for exceptions. It's your rule, and that's that.

After that when she asks for money, smile and say, "Janice, you know my rule." If she pleads her case, listen until she stops, then say, "I understand what you said, but I choose not to." You can say that as many times as necessary. "I understand what you said, but I choose not to." That is good for many kinds of requests. Memorize it. Once she figures out you are not good for loans, she will be asking for favors.

9

I think you're at risk of papering over a larger issue: Are you two really "dating" and what does that mean to each of you. I was actually once in a very similar situation to yours --I had been casually dating a woman for a few weeks. I liked her a lot, but wasn't sure she felt the same way. When she unexpectedly asked me to give her a considerable sum of money so she could travel (electively) it clarified two things for me: One, that she wasn't really interested in me romantically, and two, that she wasn't someone I was interested in pursuing any further.

If you are both fine with just staying friends, and that's clearly all this is for either of you, I'd either lend her the money, or not as you choose, and not worry too much more about it. But if you're thinking this could be romance, this is a big red flag for the relationship. On the one hand, either she's exploiting your interest in her, with no real intention to return your affections OR she has expectations that her romantic partner will help her out financially in ways that you seem entirely unwilling to do.

If this was a brand-new relationship I'd say it would be pretty bold of her to just start asking you for money out of the blue. But since you've been friends for a while, it seems like you both should have had some idea of what you were getting into by rekindling your acquaintance.

6

I hope I'm wrong, but this rings the same alarm bells for me as for other answerers - it sounds like there is a high risk this person is using your friendship.

Equally you might jump the wrong way, the other way as well. When my partner and I were dating, we were in the same situation as you and yours - I was in a situation of great poverty and my partner was advised not to date people who were in that situation, for the same reasons others have said it here. But unlike your situation, my partner was fairly easily able to answer indignantly that I'd never asked to borrow money, and not let it be anything other than fair as to who paid for meals out etc - and told me of the "advice" and misassumption because of the trust we had built up over such things. And I never have. Not everyone's situations are the same, but I would like to mention this for those who think its a bad idea - look at how a person acts, not what their bank account is like.

In case the other answers don't work for you, or you want to give her some kind of a chance, here is a different approach. "Can I have it back by Friday?" If she agrees, its Friday. If she says another day not too far away, that's fine, its that other day. Then watch what happens, and if it's not repaid you can simply say you're waiting for the last one to come back.

Watch out for emotional games - again there is a risk not a certainty. To reassure you, you aren't being "bad" if you don't lend. You are being sensible. Don't create the expectation in the first place, that it might happen, if you are not comfortable living with that expectation or if it wouldn't be sustainable emotionally.

Put simply, family or not, it may be worth a small amount of cash just for peace of mind and certainty what kind of person/borrower she is. And also this makes very clear what terms its on, so it can't be "forgotten about", and therefore what her word is worth.

4

You called her your "date" and you said dating = having meals and drinks with a friend.

Which is she, your date or your friend?

If she's your friend and you bought the dinner/drinks for her because you're better off, then it is okay to for her to ask you for cash for cigarette money, and it is okay for you to decline.
I'd decline on the grounds that it is bad for her - but that's me.

If she's your date she could still ask for money by saying, "Hey would you buy me some cigs? I'm trying to quit but I'm really craving right now... please?"

In my experience, a person on a date with you wouldn't ask for cash to buy something.
I grant that cultures are different.

Who keeps the change from the cig transaction? It is a small amount, but it represents a lot in this case.

You should actually discuss this with her ("Where do you see this going?")

My guess is that she doesn't think the two of you are dating, not in the sense that you think.

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    Oh yeah... if it turns out that you both agree that you are dating and the taxi thing comes up again - walk the five minutes to her house and walk her back to your house. – J. Chris Compton Feb 16 '18 at 22:50
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how can I let my date know to stop asking me to lend her money?

This is a bit of a strange question because evidently you already know the answer: you keep saying "no" until either she stops asking, or stops dating you, or you stop seeing her. If "no" is effective, then it's effective. If it's ineffective, well, do you want to be with someone who won't take "no" for an answer?

I would encourage you to not elaborate on the "no". The answer to "why not?" is "I'd rather not discuss it", repeat as necessary. Again, you can find out real fast who will and will not take no for an answer when you say "I'd rather not discuss it".

However there is a more fundamental problem with the question: your question is a specific version of the more general question "how can I change someone else's behaviour?"

Trying to change other people's behaviour creates drama. The only person whose behaviour you can control is your own, and it sounds like you are doing a fine job of it. Keep controlling your own behaviour to meet your own entirely reasonable standards.

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    "I choose not to," is a lot better than "I'd rather not discuss it." The choice is not whether to discuss it. That is a mutual choice. The choice is whether to lend the money. That is only one person's choice, and it is decided. Done. I do not remember where I learned to say "I heard what you said, but I choose not to," but I owe that woman a debt of gratitude. I would lend her ten pounds, no questions asked. – Jive Dadson Feb 17 '18 at 7:44
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    @JiveDadson: Sure, whatever. "I'd rather not", "I choose not to", "I simply cannot", the exact phrase doesn't matter. The point of it is to communicate you will take no for an answer because that's the answer you're going to keep getting on this subject, or on the meta-subject of why not. Say whatever you feel works. – Eric Lippert Feb 17 '18 at 15:19
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    @JiveDadson: In fact it's nice to have multiple go-to canned expressions so you can have this great conversation: "can you lend me ten bucks?" "Sorry, no." "Why not?" "I'd rather not discuss it." "Why don't you want to discuss it with me?" "I'm choosing not to." "Is there something I can do to change your mind?" "I'm sorry, I simply cannot." "Why can't you?" "Because I choose not to." "Why'd you make that choice?" "I'd rather not discuss it." ... boy, is that ever a fun conversation that I like having with people who care about me and respect my boundaries... not. – Eric Lippert Feb 17 '18 at 17:42
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You don't borrow money to anyone outside of your family, period.

You are only enabling her by borrowing her money. Over time she will be primed to almost "expect" money from you on the whim. Subsequent refusal would only lead to her potentially snapping.

So how to refuse her money?

Tell her sternly that you don't borrow anyone money for personal reasons. Ironically she will more than likely respect you for standing your ground.

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    Please note that using "borrow" here will confuse readers: lend/ lending is the term to use when you are giving someone a loan, and they are borrowing the money. – English Student Feb 19 '18 at 17:36
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Straight-forward, neutral approach

I feel that this question needs an answer that takes it at face value, skipping any guessing about what kind of dating the OP is doing, and whether anyone has a hidden agenda.

My stance on money is this: I do not lend, but I give gifts. It does not matter if it's family or not, or if it's important or not, if it's my children, wife, parents or any stranger.

This means: when I give money to somebody I not only never expect it back, but I always make completely sure that it is a gift.

A very important part is that if I give a gift, then I do it happily and freely, i.e. no "I don't want to give you money, but here you are anyway, keep it". No grumpy giving.

This works surprisingly well. People know exactly what's up. People who like me and have good intentions don't ask for money because they know that I would only ever gift it, not lend it. Or, if they are really in an essential crisis, they may ask me, but will not ask for lending, but for giving.

If someone would ask me and I were not willing to give, I still have all options open to me. I can just say "no" as usual. Or I can, strategically, say "fine, but I do not lend money: this is yours, it is a gift, I don't want it back". I might do that once or twice (and I probably won't, then, take it back, even if they try, at least not without making a scene of it ;) ). People who know that they will get a gift instead of lending will think twice before asking for more and more, because there is no pretense of giving it back somewhere in the far future. Obviously, at any point of time I can switch to saying "no".

Also, this makes it very easy for me to decide whether to say "yes" or "no". If I can afford to let go of that money, if it does not hurt me, if the priorities (between losing the money, and the feeling of helping the receiver) allow it, then I give. If the balance does not work out, then I do not. Guessing whether I will get it back never enters the decision.

Oh, and obviously I do not lend money from others, either.

(There is a small exception to this: sometimes, for example when going to lunch with colleagues, people cannot pay because they only have a credit card and the place we're at does not take the card - for things like this, obviously, I will not only cover their meal, but will then also take the money when they give it back to me later; I do not consider this "lending" in the strict sense, just fixing a short time difference so the other guy has a chance to visit a bank and draw some cash. But even in this case, if they happen to forget about it, I won't bother them, I won't keep a "balance"; I might remind them when we go out to eat next time, so they will pay my meal then.)

1

There is another option on the table. Next time she asks, your response should be:

When will you pay me back?

(regardless of the amount of the "loan").

This makes it clear, up front before she accepts the money that this is intended to be a literal borrowing of money, and not a borrowing like you borrow a piece of paper.

If she says, "Never mind," then your problems have been solved. If she accepts the loan then it's likely that she'll pay you back, or at least intends to. And if she doesn't pay you back, you learned an important lesson about her character and it only cost you a tenner.

1

She is not borrowing money off you, and you are not lending money. You are in the UK, where "lending" small amounts of money to friends or family is usually considered a gift. At least by one of the two people involved.

Here's what is really happening: She isn't borrowing money for cigarettes or a taxi, she is asking for a small gift, and she is checking whether you are willing to give that small gift or not. You are considerably more well off than she is, so she doesn't have a bad conscience about it (and doesn't need to have one).

You just have to decide if you are Ok with this. You know that if you went on a holiday together, you'd either go on a cheap holiday, or you'd pay most of the cost. Which seems fair enough to me. If you are not Ok with it, find a date who is financially more well off.

If this hasn't changed your mind about lending her money, you won't have to actually tell her not to ask you to lend her money. Your story about not having £10 in your wallet (when you're out on a date) and asking her to walk home shows quite clearly that you don't want to lend money. So this asking for money will stop. The dating may stop at the same time.

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