The full title of this Rule should actually be: Never lend money to your friend or children, or your siblings, or even parents unless you are prepared to write off either the money or the relationship. There is a lovely story told, I think, about Oscar Wilde (correct me if I’ve got the wrong person) who borrowed a book from a friend and forgot to return it.
His friend turned up and demanded the book back, by which time young Oscar had lost. His friend asked Oscar if he wasn’t jeopardizing the friend-ship by not returning the book. Oscar Wilde merely replied, “Yes. But aren’t you also doing the same thing by demanding it back?”If you lend money or a book or anything else don’t do it unless you are prepared for it to be lost, forgotten, not returned, broken, ignored, whatever. If you are precious about it, then don’t lend it in the first place. If it means a lot to you, keep it safe.
If you do lend anything, including money, then don’t expect to get it back if you value the friendship or relationship. If you do get it back, then that’s a bonus. If you don’t, well you were prepared for that in the first place. Lots of parents make the mistake of lending money to their children and then getting all hurt and disappointed when they don’t get repaid. But they have spent the child’s entire lifegiving them money, and then as soon as they get a bit grownup and go away to college or whatever, the parents suddenly start saying it’s a loan and demanding repayment. Of course, the child isn’t going to repay it. She hasn’t been trained to. It is
unrealistic to expect her to do so. If she does do, count your blessings, and be grateful for the bonus. Same with friends. Don’t lend them anything if the nonreturn going to matter to you. It is your choice, after all. You don have to lend anything to anyone. If you choose to do so, be prepared to write it off or don’t do it. Obviously, if the money means more to you than the friendship, then of course demand it to be repaid—and add interest as well. And the same goes for siblings or parents. (Goodness, don’t ever lend money to them; they’ll never pay it back.) So who should you lend money to? Strangers, of course. And they won’t pay it back either.