Dear Ilana and Jess: I have a pretty specific problem. My friend and I recently went out for lunch, and at the end of the meal, she realized she didn’t have her wallet. I offered to foot the bill, with the understanding that she’d Venmo me back later. (Yes, we discussed and agreed to this.) That was over a week ago, and she hasn’t responded to any of my texts since. What do I do now? - Audrey
Dear Audrey: When money changes hands (or bank accounts via electronic transmission), things can get a little awkward. Apps like Venmo spare us the impracticalities of splitting a bill with multiple credit cards, but they don’t cut any social costs. For future, we suggest asking that your friend Venmo you then and there, before you give your card to pay the bill. When the check comes, look at it together, decide how to split it, and ask her to Venmo you before you part ways.
For now, there’s a few things you can do. First, stay on top of this, and address it as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the more awkward it gets, and the more strain it can place on your friendship. When you text your friend, are you reminding her to reimburse you? If not, then you should.
Be kind, but direct and assertive. Make sure when you’re asking for reimbursement, you’re specific about the amount owed. That way, no one can claim confusion. Venmo allows you to send a virtual request for money. If you haven’t done so already, you might want to send your friend a nudge through the app.
While we’re sure you’re feeling frustrated, don’t jump to conclusions. Your friend might have forgotten, or she may be tight on money. Keep in mind that everyone’s financial circumstances are different, and that some people don’t feel comfortable discussing money, even with close friends. Encourage your friend to be honest with you, and see if you can both agree on a date that she can pay you back by, if she can’t do so right away. If you prefer, make things “even” by letting your friend treat you the next time you grab a meal. Find an opportunity for her to cover a cost of equal value in the near future and let her know she can get you next time.
Whether you prefer direct reimbursement or trading off on treating each other, it’s important that you both feel equal and respected in your relationship. While it can be awkward to address money, it’s worse for the friendship if you let this issue go unaddressed. Make sure that you clear the air and come up with a solution you’re both comfortable with.
Say This: “Hey! I haven’t heard from you since I asked you to Venmo me. I hope you’re not feeling uncomfortable. If you can’t pay me back right away, I understand, we’ll just set a date for you to pay me back/you can get me next time.”
Not That: “Are you avoiding me? Don’t worry about paying me back.”
Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: https://cognitionbuilders.com. To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/books/detail?sku=9781449488055.
DISTRIBUTED BY ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION