I have one friend that always borrows money. He has been one of my closest friends for most of my life, and normally he's pretty trustworthy when it comes to paying me back. However, as of late, he has been letting his debt to me rack up. I understand his financial circumstances and I am not in any rush for him to pay me back, so I let it slide for several months.

Recently, his behavior has changed, as if he prioritizes paying others back over me. The tipping point was last weekend, where he asked another friend to buy some limited edition merchandise for him. He didn't hesitate to offer to pay the other friend back as soon as he got his paycheck, leaving me in the dirt.

Have I been too nice? How do I let him know of his actions and that I expect him to pay me back soon, now that I know he has the financial means to do so?

  • 1
    Have you already asked him about this? Is it possible that he just forgot it?
    – NVZ
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 18:32
  • @NVZ I've asked over dinner last week and he told me he'd pay me back once he's saved up some amount of money. I didn't really question him at the time.
    – david3de
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 19:38
  • Is the amount of money that he owes you large compared to past debts and other friends? Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 20:26
  • 1
    Maybe he consider you will wait more because you're a nearer friend. However people having debt with many people is usually not a good thing, and it's more about addiction to something (games for the classic sample) than having trouble to eat and pay the loan. However I have how to deal with that.
    – Walfrat
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 20:40
  • Did he pay you back from some of his debt before?
    – Vylix
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 20:58

7 Answers 7


First, bring him for a serious talk. Remind him that he has borrowed money from you in total x dollars.

  • Consider making a list of when he borrowed money, and how much, in case he might forget (or "forget") and dispute the amount.

State that you are unhappy with his lack of commitment to repaying the borrowed money from you and expect it to be repaid soon.

  • Important! Give a deadline. Depending if you're feeling nice or not (I feel you're already being too nice), allow him to negotiate the date. Failing to do this will likely result in another delay.

Most likely, he will ask you to pay in installments. It is in your best interest to agree to a reasonable amount each month. If you think he can pay it in one go without putting a burden on him, don't be afraid to ask so.

Remember that money is often the reason why a friendship ends. Generally, I and my friends avoid borrowing money from each other because of this.

Tip on lending money: Always ask the borrower to repay the previous loan before approving another loan.

If you lend money because your friend needs help, it is better if you don't expect any repayment, and consider it helping your friend instead. After all, that's what friends do, helping each other, right?


Sometimes I've treated people close to me (including family) worse than others. I've done this knowingly because I know that I've built up a good relationship with them, and that relationship is strong enough to survive an incident with no lasting negative consequence, while interactions with another person might not be able to so successfully weather such a storm.

Let him know, not in a confrontational way, but note

I would appreciate some repayment soon. Please.

If the person is really such a good friend, hopefully no more than that will be needed to start prioritizing you a bit higher.


It depends entirely upon what you value most in your life. In any relationship, there is always someone giving more than receiving at some point.

Sometimes this changes over time (eg. you were in a bind for a time, but years later the reverse became true). Other times it remains one-sided.

Even a one-sided relationship can remain functional if the giver gets some non-material value from it (be it comeraderie, entertainment, insight, or seeing your friend improve with your help). If you find that this friend is really more of a "friend" that is knowingly taking advantage of you and mooching off of you, then you may need to consider if this person is still worth your friendship.

I leave you with this: material possessions are replaceable, but good friends are rare. If you value this person, then the material cost would be negligeable compared to the benefit. If you find that this person has gone from being a friend to simply a parasite, then you may need to have a serious talk and at worst consider finding a new friend.


It really depends on how much money you own that person. If it is less than one-hundred dollars, I would let it pass, but I would not consider them as a friend and I would act 'neutral' when talking to him/her. I think everybody agrees that one of the foremost qualities of a friend is trustworthiness.

It must be very hard for you to have one of your closest friends betray you. In your place, I would not continue my former relationships with them. I would leave it at that and walk my way but if it is really a large sum of money you care about I would suggest approaching him directly reminding him of his promise and that it has been several months since.

Again, I would hope they would realize their guilt, but you could also add that you have seen that he already has the financial resources to pay you back in case he ignores/extends your request. I am not, of course, some psychologist or advisor -- I have a lot of learning to do myself -- this is only my opinion.


Actually it depends upon the money they owe you. If it s not significant or you have a sufficient income stream so the amount owed will not affect you then just forget about the debt especiall f the person is a good friend.

After that, when the person asks for a loan just explain to the person that you do not have sufficient funds. The alternative is to have him wrote a promissory note, the date the person wile repay you and make sure the person signs it.


I read this elsewhere:

Earlier I had money, and I had friend. One day my friend was in need of money, he asked for some help and I gave him money. Now I dont have money, I dont have friend.

I was trapped in a similar situation once. I WhatsApped my friend the fee deposit reminder notice sent to us by my children's school, for not having deposited the fee yet.

Since he otherwise was a very smart and empathetic guy, he understood my situation and next day I got an SMS for the amount being credited back into my account from him.


I think as always, the best thing to do is talk. You could keep reminding him of his debt by simply asking

"So when are you going to pay me back those [amount][currency]?"

At least in a personal conversation he should not be able to ignore you and he should give you an answer, which will also engage him into your problem, what makes it more likely for him to pay back soon.

If you need to keep reminding him about his debt you can put a little more pressure on him by asking him why he does not pay, which may be a somewhat unpleasant thing to talk about for him, but if he keeps delaying his payback, you have got the right to know why.

Of course you can moderate the pressure as you see appropriate, but if this really is a problem for you, you should not feel guilty for putting pressure on him.

  • Could the downvoter please tell me what my answer was missing?
    – simulate
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 10:44
  • I'm not the downvoter, but your answer seems a bit unpopular here, and it's called nagging. It won't go very well if the OP still wants to be friend with him.
    – Vylix
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 20:31
  • I don't see how my answer puts their friendship in any danger. I think it is quite normal to expect a friend to pay his depts back, and OPs question implies that OP has interest in getting his money back sooner than he sees it coming right now.
    – simulate
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 20:40
  • Nagging is never been perceived well, by anyone, hence the negative connotation. Your chance on getting your money back is directly proportional to your relation to this friend.
    – Vylix
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 20:45

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