5 Reasons Your Friends Won’t Pay Back That Money You Lent Them


We’ve talked about this before.
The husband and I have actually had more than one of our (many, usual) heated, pseudo-intellectual discussions on this matter (which is I why I suppose he felt compelled to find this piece by the Huffington Post and tag me in it on Facebook!).

Yes, I’ve lent money to people who haven’t paid me back. Some are large sums and not just their part of a bill from drinks or a meal.

Yes, call me a pushover, but I generally feel very awkward asking for money back; it seems so crass and almost…rude to. I only really do it for large sums of money I’ve loaned out, or when I am asking on behalf of someone else.

For most small amounts, I let go.
For my inner circle, we never count the cost. In fact, I am happy to pay for them. (I do know which friends take advantage of this though. And while I strive to be a good person, I am very flawed and very human – I am just not as open with my wallet with these people as I am with my closest ones. True friends don’t try to take advantage of one another.)

Yes, even #4 on the Huffington Post list has happened to me (for the record, I still haven’t recovered all the money; I’ve written it off; we are still friends, but we didn’t talk for months after said friend claimed the money was all returned – and proceeded to have the audacity say I was stingy for asking for the outstanding sum back!).

With all that said, I’m no angel on this matter myself – and it’s really not because of any of the reasons on the Huffington Post list list. It’s for the simple matter that I forget.

And yes, admittedly, it is also because I don’t place it as a priority on top of the many things I need to get done. Now, these are not big sums; they are mostly split bills after a night out or a meal at a restaurant. But it is still not acceptable and it shall be one of my resolutions for 2017: to pay people back in a timely manner.

My granny used to tell me to never borrow money as it ruins relationships.
She did not elaborate beyond that, and it didn’t make sense to me then. I now understand why she said that.

Have you ever lent money to someone who said they are really tight and cannot afford to pay it back, only to see them buying new things, enjoying life at expensive restaurants and worse, going on holidays abroad? Think about how that would make you feel, especially if you are a person careful with your own spending.

I found myself in a conversation once with someone who had tried to borrow a sum of money from a mutual friend. The would-be borrower was actually annoyed that her request had been rejected, on grounds that the other person “is so rich and has so much money”. I couldn’t believe the sort of sense of entitlement I was hearing.

Is this not intrinsically wrong? Everyone gets by and earns money in some way; some end up richer and some have less. Perhaps the richer one got so by working extra hard; two jobs, maybe, while the one who has less decided time and enjoying life is more valuable and chose to work less and play more. Is it fair then to expect the richer person to always willingly give lend hard-earned money?

I am by no means rich, but I have seen too many cases of my granny’s words come true that I have stopped lending large sums of money out to people, no matter what my relationship with the person is.

Unless someone is dying, everyone should work hard, earn their own money, and most importantly, live within one’s means.

My family is your typical, HDB-dwelling, middle class Singaporean one. Both my parents worked to support us – and both are still working. We led simple lives as we were not rich, but neither were we in the poorhouse – although sometimes compared to my friends while growing up, it almost felt like we were. We were taught that most things in life were luxuries, not everyday items and definitely not necessities.

Soft drinks were luxuries. (I tasted my first Coca Cola in Secondary school.) New books were luxuries. (We were taken to the public library weekly.) Toys and candy were definitely luxuries.

So it’s been drilled into my head from a young age that a person doesn’t need a lot to be happy – and that living beyond what one can afford is unacceptable.

I’ve been brought up with the mindset that borrowing money in general is taboo – and that borrowing simply to upkeep a certain lifestyle is terrible. I have never done that before, but it also doesn’t excuse my tardiness in returning small sums of money owed to friends for meals and drinks!

So in 2017, perhaps we could all strive together to not only live within our means and not put relationships in jeopardy (or loved ones in a spot) by asking to borrow money, but to also make the effort to prioritise returning any money owed – no matter how insignificant the amount.

I’ve said it here to commit myself to making it happen as well – no more procrastinating on making that transfer!

On Feeling Trapped in an Abusive Relationship

Came across this video and it struck such a chord in me. I too have been in such a relationship.

Many friends were/are surprised that I suffered emotional abuse in a past relationship. They think I’m “strong” and “would never have allowed” that to happen. The truth is, when you’re in love you sometimes don’t think straight; you let a lot of things go and you try to accommodate. I opened up on what happened in a Dayre post two years ago:

Abusive relationship
Abusive relationship

The full post below, or you can read more here:


On Feeling Trapped in an Abusive Relationship

Was at my usual hair salon & just read this feature in a local women’s magazine on abusive relationships. It really struck a chord, and was a not-so-pleasant reminder of my last relationship; although unlike the stories in the feature (one was flung from a 7-storey flat while pregnant!), I was lucky to have gotten out before really getting hurt.

It seems such a cliché pattern, but it always starts out good, great, even. A lot of friends are amazed someone who they deem as “strong” and “tough” as myself would stand for even a little of that kind of nonsense. I guess it’s true what Connie Francis sang in the 60s, “Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool”?

Of course things started off great. He pursued me with great determination, even though I’d just come out of a relationship with someone I still care for (just not in the same passionate-romantic way) and said I wasn’t ready to be in another relationship. He was persistent and patient. He said all the right things and did all the sweet things – really went the extra mile, and then some.

Against my (and my gfs!) better judgement, I eventually agreed to go out with him. Always listen to your gut (and do consider your well-meaning friends’ gut instincts), ladies!!

I think there were small signs, I just chose not to think the worst (a terrible weakness of mine!). In one instance, we had a hen’s night party for one of my gfs at a club and he just “happened to be there” with a guy friend. He was really apologetic about it though, asking if I was okay that he’d be around as his friend wanted to go to the same club; although he wouldn’t hang out with me there as I was with the girls. I thought nothing of it – Singapore’s pretty small and I don’t own the club.

In the end, he kept sending drinks over to us before eventually hanging out at our table practically the rest of the night. I wasn’t too bothered as he wasn’t like clingy and he entertained himself trying to ingratiate himself with my friends most of the night.

But that was an indication of things to come, a sign I chose not to see. He had terrible trust issues. He hated when I went out on my girls’ nights out. He even hated when I hung out at the beach at night with my gfs just chatting. He would get very upset if I didn’t msg him every 30 mins – I was honestly just catching up! He hated that I had male running buddies – one of whom was years younger and the other married and my father’s age (plus I am friends with his wife!).

He would throw big fits whenever any of these things happened. Perhaps he’s used to more submissive girls who would listen and give in to his demands, but I didn’t feel I was doing anything wrong; I wasn’t hanging out one on one with other men; most times I was just chatting with the girls, and even when it was a night out partying, it was always responsibly and with no funny business. I think he realised I was going to carry on with my lifestyle, so he found creative ways to control me.

He would insist on picking me up whenever I went out. Although that sounds sweet (and in general, picking up your other half is a sweet gesture) it wasn’t quite as it wasn’t that he would come when I was ready; he would pressure me to leave early and make me feel bad about wanting to stay longer.

He would also guilt-trip me and get upset when I didn’t reply to his barrage of msgs while I was out with my gfs; usually msgs that were inconsequential and/or highly unnecessary.

While I didn’t completely give in and submit to his demands, I am slightly ashamed to say that I didn’t 100% stand my ground either.

To prevent big, dramatic fights (I absolutely HATE extra drama) I would make a conscious effort to indulge him and reply promptly to his 10000 msgs that inevitably came each time I went out with my gfs.

I would also try to leave earlier so that he wouldn’t get upset when he “offered to pick me up”, and I stopped meeting a few close guy pals completely as he would really go ballistic. (I actually explained the issue to them then, and also apologised after, and good friends as they are, they forgave me/understood and still remain my good friends today.)

I think the thing that hit me that I wasn’t happy was when he went on a work trip. Instead of feeling sad or even really missing him, I felt so free. I hung out at the beach till late, I hung out at my folks’ place just chatting; I went skating at night alone again…it was like being released from chains.

But still, I didn’t leave him.


When a relationship becomes a part of your life (you see this person a lot; maybe you even stay together), you sometimes do what you can to keep the peace. I’m generally confrontational but when it happens on the daily, you get tired of fighting and you just want stability and peace – at all costs.

If you’re currently suffering like this, please know that it doesn’t make you weak that you let it go on as long as you have – but it is definitely time to get out.

On that…once you have made up your mind, steel yourself. Getting out is not going to easy. I think the video sums it up really well. The abuser will look for you, will apologise, will be extra loving, will say it is just because he/she is “afraid to lose you”.

Be strong. Tell the ones who love you the full story (because likely as in my case, they had/have no idea this is going on). They will help keep you away and keep you from softening. You will cry. It will hurt. You will be tempted to go back because you miss this person. But stay strong and think about your long-term happiness. Not being able to hang out with your friends in peace or living in constant fear is no way to live.

Good luck, and please reach out if you need support.