The Things I Do for Money – Again


Apologies for the false start on this the other day – fingers crossed for better results this time!

Dear Dharma,

I hope you can help! I’m in a bit of a jam. We’ve all heard the saying before, “Never lend money to friends or family” and yet that is exactly what I’ve done. (Silly me!)

A few months ago my cousin lost his job and was going through a rough time financially. Our family is pretty close knit and when he asked me to lend him some money for groceries I didn’t even hesitate.  He promised he would pay me back when he could.

It’s been some time now and I’ve yet to see a dime.  I’ve brought it up a few times now and he plays it as if he is still super broke.  What totally irks me is that here he is posting on Facebook that he’s eating out at fancy restaurants, going bar hopping with the guys and how great his ski weekends are. I’m sorry, how are you doing all these amazing adventures while being “broke”?  Turns out I’m not the only one he’s borrowed from and I’m not the only one who’s ticked off about not being repaid. My sister won’t even talk to him at this point.

Enough’s enough!

This weekend I called him on it, and his response was that I was financially secure and he didn’t really feel like I needed the money.  What do I even say to that???  I mean, it wasn’t a LOT of money, but hey it’s still money right? Wouldn’t it be my call whether or not to ignore the debt?  Especially after specifically saying that he’d pay me back?!?  GAH!

Honestly at this point I’m just so done. I’ve definitely learned my lesson!  But how do I express my feelings to him?  Let him know that this is NOT OKAY!  Do I need to go straight up mob style and start busting kneecaps??


Works Hard for Her Money

Dear Money,

Wow.  Welcome to Generation Entitlement, right?  What a disrespectful way to be treated, especially by a family member!

How much money you have and what you need it for has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not your cousin is obligated to pay you back. Because he is.  100%.  And let’s remember, he’s the one who set the terms of this situation by asking you for a loan, not a gift.  A loan, by definition, requires repayment in order to fulfil its true destiny.

It was not his right to receive money from you.  He was not owed that favour from you. You could have chosen to say no, but instead you were kind enough to help.  You didn’t make him wait, you didn’t make him ask more than once – you provided him with what he needed when he needed it.  That should evoke some feeling of wanting to treat you in a reciprocal manner, but it’s actually done quite the opposite.  Instead, he’s slotted you very lowly on the totem pole of his life and has chosen dining, bar hopping and skiing over getting the books straight with you in spite of being reminded.  More eloquently put, these things he glibly brags about on Facebook have taken priority over honour.

Of which your cousin has none.

So yes, lesson learned.  And no, calling in the mob shouldn’t be the go to move, no matter how tempting.

My advice here is to take the high road and let it go.  But not without a parting shot.

When next given the opportunity to address him, I’d use the whole “I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed” routine.  It’s proven to work well on children, so you’ll be punching in the proper weight class for sure.  “So Bandito, I’ve thought about our last conversation where you basically told me that my financial status allows you a free ride here and I want you to know I’m really disappointed with how you’ve chosen to handle this.  I don’t know what makes you think it’s okay to make that assessment, yet I can see I’ve only got myself to blame.  Because I trusted you, I took for you for your word and completely misjudged your character.  I won’t make that mistake again.”

And leave it at that.

If he doesn’t feel like a schmuck after hearing those words, all was lost anyway.


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