Bianca Knows Best ... And Helps a Broke Wimp 

Dear Bianca,

A good friend of mine owes me $600, which I loaned him in a time of need five months ago. He originally promised to pay me back within a month. I let it slide for about three months without saying anything and he never so much as mentioned the debt.

I finally politely asked when he might be able to pay me back. He said he was short on cash, but he'd get it to me ASAP. Now, I really need the money, and I heard he was buying a new car and blowing lots of cash on booze lately.

I have a problem confronting people, but I'm really mad. I sent him a message on Facebook but got no reply. What should I do?

— Peaceful and Poor

Dear Peaceful,

Avoiding conflict is fine when possible, but you've already asked this guy for your money twice to no avail (although I must say that addressing this situation on Facebook is a pansy way of doing things).

You're going to have to go to your friend's house when you know he'll be home and have a face-to face "come-to-Jesus" talk with him -- preferably on his payday, if you can find out when that happens.

If he’s blowing money on drinks and a new car when he owes you a large sum, he's obviously irresponsible with money. Explain to him your trust in loaning him the money and how desperately you need it now.

If necessary, work out a payment plan. Though it'd be nice to get the whole $600 at once, your friend may never come through with that. Instead, charge him $50 or $100 per paycheck until the total amount is recovered. And show up at his house each payday to collect.

For future reference, don't loan friends money unless it's an absolute emergency. It's too easy for close friends to assume their debt will be overlooked. And don't use Facebook or e-mail as a way to hide from your conflicts. Face-to-face interaction is always the best bet.

Got a problem? E-mail Bianca at bphillips@memphisflyer.com.

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