A co-worker asks to borrow some cash – promising to pay it back as soon as possible. What do you do? At one time or another, many of us have been in this situation before. Most times, we've loaned the money – assuming we'll get repaid as promptly as expected. After all, these types of loan requests are typically made with sincere and good intentions. Yet, no matter the circumstances – in all the years I’ve been on this planet – rarely have I witnessed a happily-ever-after-conclusion to this scenario.
Tune into almost any episode of Judge Judy and see how loaning money to colleagues can easily turn into a negative situation. Oddly enough, I've learned quite a bit about financial relationships from Judge Judy. And, those who know me – know that I happen to think she's fabulous! That being said, a friend was recently telling me about a co-worker to whom he made a not-so-modest loan. Fast forward six months and my friend is still awaiting the return of his money. Needless to say, an awkward situation has been created – resentment and bad feelings have started to emerge. So, what would Judge Judy say? If you absolutely must loan a business acquaintance money, you'll be better off considering the money a ‘gift’ instead of a ‘loan.’ In other words, freely ‘donating’ the money with no expectations of repayment. Personally, my advice would be to follow the adage of a famous 16th and 17th Century writer: “Neither a borrower nor a lender be!” That Shakespeare was really on to something.
Over the years, I’ve bought my share of fundraising chocolate for various, well-deserving, Little League teams. I’ve purchased countless boxes of cookies to help Girl Scouts all over the country. I’ve sponsored numerous co-workers as they prepared to walk, bike, or run – raising money for breast cancer awareness, plus other great and worthy causes. In fact, in an effort to demonstrate support for fellow colleagues and their children, I have willingly given generous dollars and much encouragement. However, when it comes to loaning money to co-workers? Sorry. I’ve learned my lesson. Honestly, I've seen too many relationships turn ugly over it. In the end, exchange of money somehow changes everything – the dynamics of the relationship seem to always shift to an uncomfortable place. I am not willing to jeopardize a good working relationship. And quite frankly, there's nothing worth jeopardizing a good working relationship over. Period.
Note: I am always in the market for more chocolate, though.
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