Couple of days ago, an acquaintance from my home town asked me whether I could lend him around 20 grands for couple of weeks. After some considerations, I rejected the request.
Back to the time when I was a student, once a classmate asked me to lend him $300 since the utilities at his apartment would be disconnected hadn’t he paid the due, he also promised me to return the amount soon after he got his next paycheck. Without hesitation I immediately loaned him $300, even before I asked when he would get his next paycheck. Three – hundred – bucks seems negligible today, but while I was a student, the amount was all I got in a month by working part time. He didn’t pay me back after a month, then two months. I was then a very introvert person, and afraid to asking even for something which originally belonged to me.
One day to my surprise, I found the classmate driving a almost new minivan out of an fairly nice apartment complex. Comparing with a very junky vehicle I was driving and a cheap living place I was sharing with another girl, I felt like a fool and a loser. He was so skillful to get money from a poor student’s pocket, just simply by bringing out my sympathy on his situation!
After graduation I got my first job offer as a senior engineer from a computer hard drive company. I was envied or even admired by some students, meanwhile I became a target of those money borrowers. Just couple of months into my new job, some “friends” wrote me to borrow money either for car purchase or for house downpayment. Without hesitation I immediately rejected all requests to borrow money, and suggested them to go through formal loan application processes at a bank. My rejection costed our “friendship”, however I have never regretted.
Oriental tradition promotes that all family members should share everything. Often times one family member with higher income is responsible to support those members with lower income, in order to achieve even distribution of resources within the same family. Similar ideas can be applied among friends, except that supporting somebody in need is not a responsibility but a good deed, as brotherhood or sisterhood. Failure to follow such a good deed might cause the gossips and deteriorate the reputation.
However for so many times I heard others complain about unfairness coming from monetary interactions among family members or friends. On contrary I have been in a enjoyable relationship with some friends for many years even though we divided costs every time we were outing.
Generally a person with a higher income work harder than others, how he (or she) spend the hard earned money should depend on his (or her) expectations, not on others’ desires. In my opinion it is the only way to sustain the relationship among families or friends is to maintain fairness in money.
This is a lesson I learned by paying that $300 tuition.