Yesterday I completed a notarization for two friends in the Larchmont Village area. One of the gentlemen found me online via Craigslist and very honestly explained that he was lending his friend $5,000 for a personal loan and wanted to have an agreement notarize should they have a falling out and not remain friends during the repayment period. It’s happened before. Probably a lot more than we realized.

But this was smart. Even among friends. Because sometimes our interactions with our friends will be transactions. In which case, a small part of the relationship will move from being personal to business. And if we’re not careful, we’ll blur the lines too much and make it hard either to be friends or ever do business with friends.

I’m not going to tell you whether or not you should ever lend friends money or ever taken a loan from a friend. You know them better than I. You know yourself better than I do. I will say be careful and be responsible. People can be funny about their money and I would hate to learn of another friendship that dissolved over money matters.

My golden rule for money and friends — even family — has always been: if I can’t afford to lose it, I can’t afford to lend it. I don’t do it often, but if I’ve lend someone money, I have to treat like a gift. Treat it like I gave them the money instead of loaned it to them. This way I’m not upset if they never pay me back. But I’m no fool either. If I lent someone money and they didn’t pay me back, I don’t lend them anymore money. I don’t want to turn myself into their ATM. I work hard for my money and I give it away to enough other people in the form of bills.

I also try not to borrow money from people. I will exhaust every option first before I ask for a loan from a friend or family member. If I gotta go pawn some sh*t first, so be it. I try to keep my friends and money separate from one another to maintain a healthy relationship with my friends and my money. I get it. Things come up all the time and we have to figure out how to deal. Yes, we know about having an emergency savings account,but not everyone has one. So they make do. I just ask you be careful if making do is mixing your friends and money together.

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