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Etiquette expert Maryanne Parker shares polite ways to avoid lending money to people

Posted at 7:51 AM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 12:03:07-04

Polite ways to avoid lending money to people.

Listen first. People often feel embarrassed, even humiliated, when asking for help. If you react judgmentally or launch into a lecture about financial responsibility, it can be perceived as an attack on their character. You don't have to promise or commit to anything to demonstrate that you understand this person's situation and want to preserve his dignity. Instead say, "I know how hard it is for you to ask to borrow money, and I'm honored that you trust me with this."

Turn down the request politely and concisely. Keep the tone of your voice even and moderate. Say, "I'd like to help, but I'm not in the position to loan you any money." Don't be wishy-washy-if you tell him that you'll think about it or that you need to check with your spouse, it just creates confusion about your intentions. Most people can handle rejection but feel disrespected if they are strung along. Helpful: If you suspect you are going to be asked for money, practice saying "no" in the mirror or with a friend. Planning and rehearsing your response will help you project the message you want.

Offer a simple explanation if the person asks why you are turning him down. Don't embellish or lie. Just say, "I don't have the money available to help you. I hope you can understand." Even better: Set up a rule for yourself. Say, "It's my policy not to lend money to family members and friends because it creates awkward feelings. I know this is a tough time for you, and I am so sorry I'm not able to help." These responses are effective because they are definitive and don't single out the person as untrustworthy.

Offer to help in other ways. Perhaps you could provide simple services such cooking meals or babysitting. If the person is out of work, you could offer to help with his résumé or introduce him to professional contacts.

Shut down the conversation if the person becomes manipulative or angry. Say, "This is making me uncomfortable. I value our friendship/family relations too much to keep discussing this."

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