Ask Amy: Friend’s loan has gone unpaid for years



Dear Amy: My husband “George” lent our friend “Steve” $60,000.

George died several months after the loan was made.

Steve then ran into some hard times.

He has repaid $30,000, with a commitment to repay the remaining amount.

It’s been two years now, with no mention of making a payment.

Steve is back on his feet and has been able to take several nice vacations. Any suggestions on how to nicely bring up the debt owed?

We have many mutual friends, so I haven’t/can’t discuss this with anyone.

I am on a fixed income and would appreciate the payment and would also like to keep the friendship.

– Lender

Dear Lender: Keeping the friendship is very much up to the person who owes you money. As it is, your friendship is compromised because you are both avoiding discussing the money he owes your husband’s estate.

Given the large amount owed, I assume you have an agreement on paper.

The way to bring this up is to be straightforward and honest, conveying your positive assumption that this loan will be repaid.

Make sure you have access to bank records, noting the original transaction and the half-repayment.

You should send an email, in order to have a record of your written communication.

I suggest using wording along these lines: “Dear ‘Steve:’ I hope you are well. I’m contacting you regarding the outstanding amount you owe on the loan ‘George’ made to you before he died. According to my records, you have repaid $30,000 of the total $60,000 owed. After granting you extra time to repay this loan, I am now eager to receive the remaining amount within a reasonable time frame.

I value our friendship, just as George did; he was happy to help you when you were in need. Let’s revive this conversation in order to get this matter settled.”

If you don’t receive a reply, or if the reply is not reasonable or acceptable to you, then you should contact your lawyer to pursue it on your behalf.

Dear Amy: I met “Stacy” a good 10 years ago, and we’ve been off-and-on friends ever since.

But recently she’s found out what medications I take and all the doctor’s appointments I have, and she won’t stop bugging me about coming off of the birth control pill I’m currently taking. I’m 37 and I have a very serious and painful reproductive condition and am following my physician’s recommendation for the best way to treat it.

I’ve had therapy twice and I’m on antidepressants.

But she’s been on me to stop taking the pill, she’s currently annoyed at me for the choices I’ve made. She is extremely anti-medication. I have blocked her on Whatsapp before because of this.

She’s currently on vacation and we’re not talking. Should I just forget her?

– Lost Friend

Dear Lost: I assume that “Stacy” gleaned all of the medical information about you because you disclosed it to her. And I assume you regret having done so.

Quite simply – your medical issues and the treatment you’re receiving is none of her business. Furthermore, her uninformed recommendations regarding your health might make things worse for you, if you followed them.

Stacy seems like a classic boundary-leaper. Yes, it seems like the right time to move away from this friendship.

Dear Amy: Reading “Baffled in Boston,” who felt the need to confront his older brother for abuse 60 years ago, I agree with you about these two brothers addressing their past in a positive way.

My two younger brothers and I were raised by a single mother.

She delegated many responsibilities to me, which resulted in me having to “mother” them.

My brothers thought I was her favorite and were resentful about it.

Comparing notes as adults was healing for all of us and has improved our relationship.

We are in our 70′s and still discover how differently the same situation was seen by each sibling.

– Older Sister

Dear Older Sister: I think of this as the “Rashomon effect,” in honor of the groundbreaking Japanese movie that showed the very same event from many different and conflicting perspectives.

I urge family members to keep this in mind as they carefully wade into childhood events, understanding when they do that many factors, including birth order, temperament, and gender, will render the same events as almost unrecognizable to other siblings.

It is important (going in) to be open to all versions of events. This is what leads to insight and understanding.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)





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