Quiz: friends and money
Let a friendship break up over money? Don't be too
quick to say never. What kind of a borrower or a lender are you?
A friend asks to borrow a large sum and repay it over time -- a good bit of time. You're not worried about his reliability but you are about the interest you'll lose. You:
Swallow the loss. Asking friends for interest is tacky.
Ask for a token amount of interest.
Ask for the full interest your bank pays -- you're already doing enough.
You give a neighbor a ride to work each morning. It's a good thing you haven't held your breath waiting for him to offer to share expenses -- because it hasn't happened yet. You:
Say nothing. What the heck -- your expenses would be the same whether or not he came along.
Fish around your wallet, muttering, ''Gee, I don't have change for the tolls today,'' hoping he'll get the hint.
Ask the obvious: ''You have a problem with kicking in toward the gas or tolls occasionally?''
Old Uncle Ernie kicks the bucket, leaving you a surprisingly generous sum. Nice-but-nosy Nina wants to know exactly how generous Ernie was. You:
Think it's none of her dang business, but tell her anyway to keep from seeming rude.
Shake your head in disbelief. Such flagrantly intrusive questions do not warrant a response.
Say, ''Enough to last me the rest of my life -- if I die by Tuesday!''
Ellen orders a surf-and-turf with white wine for lunch, while you get a green salad, hold the dressing, and an iced tea. When the tab comes, she suggests splitting it. You:
Agree, to avoid looking stingy.
Say with a rueful laugh, ''If I have to kick in more than my share, I'll be skipping lunches for the rest of the week.''
Would never find yourself in this situation. You always grab the check first, then plunk down your share.
You loaned a co-worker five bucks for cab fare two weeks ago, and he hasn't mentioned it since. You:
Figure he's forgotten. Since it's such a paltry sum, you decide to forget it, too.
Casually ask, ''Say, is this a good time for you to pay me back that fiver?''
Express annoyance that he didn't have the integrity to repay promptly, and has now put you in the awkward position of having to ask.
A friend gives you a check for $100 -- a prompt repayment of a loan -- and it bounces higher than the moon. You:
Redeposit it -- it may well go through the second time.
Tell your friend, and ask if you should redeposit it. (You also mention she can make up for your bank's bounced-check fee by simply buying you a drink next time you two go out.)
Give back the check, and ask for cash, with the bank fee tossed in, too.
When you're asked to contribute a set amount toward an office gift for someone you don't know well or don't particularly like, you:
Fork it over. They'd all be buzzing about it for days if you didn't.
Give what you feel comfortable with.
Ask to be counted out.
You need to deposit your paycheck, but are feeling too ill to go to the ATM. A co-worker you haven't been especially close with offers to do the deed for you -- which would be swell, except you don't want him to know what you make, so you:
Smile, blush -- and suddenly remember something else that requires your immediate attention.
Say thanks, but no thanks -- you'll make it over to the ATM somehow (or find some other patch).
Call him on it: ''Gee, you're being awfully helpful all of a sudden -- what's up with that?''
A friend has established -- with your cooperation, of course -- a pattern of hitting you up for a ''payday loan'' every Wednesday. She always promptly repays, but this little ritual is getting on your last nerve. You:
Curse yourself for getting involved. Once a pattern's been established, there's really no way of breaking it without coming off as a villain.
Offer to help her draw up a budget, so she can manage her own money better.
Show her an ad for a commercial payday-loan service. No sense being subtle or coy with someone this nervy.
A long-distance friend has an uncanny knack for phoning you as your favorite TV shows are about to begin. Her response when you tell her, ''Oops, you did it again'' is ''Call me back!'' You say:
''Fine.'' Although you'd like to say it, it's really low-rent to tell a friend, ''No, you call me back.''
''My goodness, if I didn't know better, I'd swear you were in cahoots with the phone company to drive up my bill each month. Please prove me wrong and call me back this time -- after ''The Sopranos.''
''Frankly, I can't afford 'friends' like you. Bye.''
-- Posted: April 18, 2001