Why is asking people to repay you so socially awkward? Here’s how to do it better.

Tim @ Vibe
September 6, 2019

Nobody enjoys having to ask to be paid back, especially if the person who you lent money to is taking their sweet time to repay you. Here’s why, and also how to take the hassle out getting money back for that holiday, present, dinner – or whatever it is – you need to be repaid for:

#1 You don’t want to be seen as ‘cheap’

Deep down, most people are afraid of being seen as stingy. Lots of us think that asking a friend to pay you back implies that you’re not generous enough to simply gift your friend whatever you lent them instead — that’s simply not true; you’ve already done them a favour by lending them money in the first place.

#2 You don’t want it to seem like you ‘need’ that money

Most Brits don’t like it to look like we need money. It’s part of our culture to talk behind closed doors about the likes of salaries, loans and rent. Asking for money back can make you feel like you’re implicitly telling that person you need that money — but it’s not at all.

#3 You think that ‘it’s been too long’ to ask for it back

Linked to all this is the idea that somehow debts reduce in importance if they’re not spoken about; if I don’t ask you to pay me immediately, it’s less reasonable to ask someone to pay you back later. Paradoxically, the reason people don’t ask swiftly, is because they felt awkward to begin with!

#4 You feel like you ‘shouldn’t have to ask’

They know you lent them money, you know you lent them money. Why should you have to ask for them to pay you back? It’s their responsibility, not yours! And because it’s something you know they should already be doing, you might feel awkward reminding them to do what they already should be doing — but you shouldn’t.

There are a few key rules to follow when to get your money back from someone you’ve been kind enough to lend money to:

#1 Make it crystal clear

When you lend money that you expect to be returned make it super clear that you need them to pay you back — don’t let there be ambiguity over whether this is a gift or loan; “I’ll get this and you can send me the money.”

#2 Make it easy for them to pay you back

Make it easy for them to pay you back online — use an app like VibePay to send a payment link which lets them pay you back instantly via bank transfer, or provide them with all the relevant details. Don’t agree to accept cash; it’s slow and means you have to meet up.

#3 Remind them to pay you back within 24 hours

Don’t wait around for them to send you your money, send them a friendly reminder specifically about shooting over the amount within 24 hours — an app like VibePay lets you do that automatically. But if you’ve waited longer, don’t worry; address the issue politely but directly; “Hi, can you send me the £10 for Amy’s birthday present?”

#4 Give a date

Give a date that you need the money paid back by — this puts time pressure on the recipient to get money sent over to you, and could be as simple as “pay me back tomorrow”.

#5 Don’t give them reasons why they need to pay up

It can be tempting to add little comments to motivate someone to pay you back like “I really need the money before the weekend” or “I’m so broke right now”, but this isn’t necessary. You lent them money, they owe you money; it’s as simple as that. If they come back with a reason why they can’t pay you back immediately, lock down a date when they can pay you back and hold them to it.

Group payments and lending money shouldn’t be complicated, and you shouldn’t ever have to feel awkward about getting back what’s owed to you. Everyone forgets things sometimes! Send polite reminders and make it easy for whoever owes you money to pay you back yourself, or use an app like VibePay to do it all for you.

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