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After loaning money to friend, use these tips to get it back

MARSHALL LOEB • Mar 30, 2007 at 8:21 AM

Lending friends money, whether it's $50 or $500, usually does not work. In fact, Shakespeare penned the problems of such loans in "The Merchant of Venice."

Yet, as with Shakespeare's plays, the practice of borrowing and lending money among friends hasn't gone away. Yet the Bard's oft-quoted "neither a borrower nor a lender be" is the same advice countless experts offer when it comes to the subject.

But what if it's too late - you already spotted your pal the cash to cover lunch or a small loan for car repairs? Getting it back isn't always easy, especially if time passes and your friend hasn't said a word. Money magazine offers these suggestions for making sure you get paid:

• Don't wait to ask for it back. Obviously you're not going to request repayment after a few hours, but don't wait longer than a few days. You want to do it when it's still fresh in both your minds. You'll actually avoid awkwardness that way.

• Don't apologize or make it a big deal. Ask for your money in a straightforward manner, and don't act as though you're sorry to be asking. You are dealing with a friend, after all. You can even try humor to lighten the tone.

• Send an e-mail. Asking in person or over the phone can make both parties a little uneasy, so send a short e-mail as a reminder. That way, if you don't get the money back quickly or if there's confusion over when you asked for it, you have a written back-up, as well.

• Give your friend some options to pay you back. Tell her you can pick up the money, or you can even set up a PayPal account if you're inclined. But if you've reminded your friend a number of times and still haven't been paid, it may be a sign that your buddy just doesn't have the money. Consider asking for small payments on a monthly basis, or ask him or her to pick up the check when you eat out together next.

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