How To Remind A Friend They Owe You Money Without Getting Awkward

Don't stew in your resentment forever.

Ah, money. The most cringe-worthy topic of them all. Conversations about money owed are enough to make you want to forget the concept of currency altogether, run away and live on a self-sustainable commune.

We get it. It’s awkward. It’s so excruciatingly uncomfortable to remind a friend that they owe you money. So much so that we bet you’re not exactly sure how to do it.

Here’s a situation we’ve all been in, but probably have no clue how to get out of: You’re at dinner with a bunch of friends and the waiter breaks the news that there’s no split bills. Everyone mumbles that they don’t have cash and averts their eyes until a hero offers to put the whole lot on their card. In this scenario, you are the hero and everyone promises they’ll transfer you money right away.

One friend does it immediately, another waits till the next day and two have completely forgotten. Part of you comes to terms with the fact you’ll never see that money again, but a smaller, more vicious part of you is just plain old pissed that they forgot in the first place.

Don’t let yourself stew on it. It’ll give you wrinkles. Try this instead.

#1 Suggest They Pay It Back In Other Ways

The next time you’re out with your mates, suggest to the friend who owes you money that they can pay for you. They probably forgot, so if you bring it up under the guise of paying for your dinner, they won’t feel threatened or put off.

It also gives them the opportunity to pretend they remembered so you can pretend you don’t care as much as you do, and you can both agree to never think about it again.

#2 Give Them A Reasonable Time Frame

If it’s been a week since the event and they still haven’t paid you back, pre-empt their forgetfulness and suggest a time frame that could work. Not in a “Hey, you gotta pay me back by this date or I’ll put a mob hit out on you” kind of way, but in a more forgiving “I’m chill, but pay me” kind of way.

For example, message them and suggest that you don’t mind if they pay you back after they get paid. Or, that you can wait another week or so if they need to get their finances in order. At least this way you’re giving them a little wiggle room.

#3 Send An Extremely Self-Aware Joke-Filled Reminder

This is entirely dependant on your relationship with the person. Here’s an example of what you can say to someone you’re quite close to:

“Hey bitch. U owe me $$. Pay me back or else. TY!” 

Or, what you can say to someone you’re not so close with:

“Hey pal! I’m on struggle street this month, any chance you can pay me back for that dinner? You’re the best!” 

Keep it light and make lots of slightly insulting jokes (in a friend way!). Thank god for memes.

#4 Pretend You “Forgot” To Send Them Your Bank Details

While you know damn well that they wrote down your deets on the night, you can use a bit of wilful naivety to “forget” and make it out like you “just realised” you “didn’t send them your bank details.”

This can be construed as slightly passive aggressive but as long as you’re nice about it, they’ll have no reason to believe you’re not telling the truth.

#5 Tag Them In This Article


(Lead image: The Office/NBC)

Josephine is the Editor of Uni Junkee. She never tweets at @josieannparsons.